Saint Luke, Bentleyville

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Parish History

St. Luke was founded in 1903.  The origin of the parish can be traced to the influx of Slovaks, Poles and Lithuanians to the area to work in the local coal mines.  In 1903, a priest was sent by the bishop to organize a parish.  Initially, Mass was celebrated in rented store building.  In 1904, work began on a frame church.  Before the church could be completed, high winds blew the structure over.  The parish then began work on a second frame church.  A fire destroyed this church before it could be completed.  Undaunted, the congregation began work on a third building, this time a brick church.  The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1908 and the completed building was dedicated on February 15, 1909.

In 1913, the Slovaks left to form their own parish.  Until 1935, the gospel and sermon were delivered in Polish, Lithuanian and English.  Although the church was remodeled over the years, the same building remained the parish church.

As the rise of population at the beginning of the century led to the parish's creation, the loss of population as the century progressed led to its suppression.  In 1994, St. Luke was merged with St. Clement, Ellsworth and St. Joseph, Cokeburg to create the new Ave Maria parish.  The St. Luke Church remains open and serves the new parish.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

St. Luke church, 1933

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