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Bishop Paul Reding established St. Luke's as a parish on September 1, 1975, with Father Alex J. Kramer as the founding pastor. Previous to his assignment to St. Luke's, Father Kramer had been principal of Cathedral Boys' High School.
Originally, the church property was part of the Harris farm. Several current parishioners who lived in the area in their youth remember the farm having livestock, fruit trees, grapes, and other fruits and vegetables. The farm stretched from Mt. Albion back to the Red Hill Valley. The farm house, which Father Kramer lived in until the church was built, was located where the parking lot, south of the rectory garages, is today.
The first Mass in the parish was September 21, 1975, in the gym of St. Luke's School. The school had been built a few years earlier. Each week volunteers would set up and take down the seating in the 'chapel'. The make-shift altar, lectern, and offering table were all stored in the equipment room. Baptisms, weddings, First Holy Communions and Confirmations where held there. Homemade felt banners hung over the altar on the north wall, between the basketball nets.
Initial work began on the church building with the turning of the sod on March 5, 1978. Bishop Reding presided. Father Kramer took Polaroid photos, almost daily, of the church's construction.
Laying of the Cornerstone occurred on August 13, 1978, then following a busy fall construction schedule, the Blessing and Opening of the Church followed four months later on December 17, 1978, with Bishop Reding officiating. In three three years and three months from the time the parish had been established, it had grown from three hundred families to over eight hundred. Today is stands at over 1200 families.
The idea for the addition of a Parish Centre and Narthex was proposed to the Parish Council on May 17, 2001. Since its construction in 1975, all bake sales, ticket sales and other fundraisers had been conducted at the back of the church. At times, before and after Masses, this small area was very crowded. With Council approval the project moved into what proved to be the most difficult phase of the project — getting the land to build on.
Finally, in September of 2004, after going through school board and various levels of government approvals, permission was granted to sever the land and sell it to the Diocese for our us. We could now go forward with our plan to build.
Construction began in mid-August the following year. The project was to include a parish centre, narthex, servery, washrooms, and a maintenance utility room. They connected to the church through the west exit.
By September the footings were in place; in October the pad was poured and the walls framed; and by November the brickwork had begun along with the roofing. Parishioners got their first glimpse of the almost-completed project when they were able to walk through the Narthex on their way to Christmas Masses.
Through January the next year final touches were applied. The heating and air conditioning were installed, floors tiled, and furniture finally put into place.
On Sunday, February 18, 2007, Bishop Gerard Bergie officiated at the Opening Mass and blessed the long-awaited additions. It had been almost six years from concept to opening.
Today, when you look at the building, unless you you look very carefully, you wouldn't know there was an addition. Working with the architect and builder, and even after 30 years from when the church was built, Fr. Dan was able to select bricks a roof tiles that look very much like the originals.
As we thank Father Alex Kramer, our founding pastor and builder, we also thank Monsignor Dan Hinsperger for his leadership and building additions.
On May 24, 2015, during the 40th Anniversary Mass for the parish, and celebrated by Bishop Douglas Crosby, he read the declaration from the parish renaming the Parish Centre to the Monsignor Dan 'Hinsperger Centre'. Father Dan, shortly after his retirement on June 24, passed away on July 16, 2015.
To be continued ...