||The bike path that today winds through East Providence and
Barrington is a tangible reminder of the very origin of St. Luke's
Parish. In the early 1900's St. Brendan's Parish in East Providence
also served the people of West Barrington and Bay Spring. Many parishioners
made the trek to Sunday Mass along the tracks of the Consolidated
Railroad, which wended through Barrington almost to St. Brendan's door,
|of today's popular bike path. Although it would
be years before it was needed, one acre of land on Washington Road was purchased on October of 1923 for a future church. Little more than a decade later; however the permanent population of West Barrington and Bay Spring had grown to the point that Bishop Keough granted a petition from residents for their own church. St. Luke's Mission was established with the blessing of the site by Rev. John Toohey, pastor of St. Brendan's on October 7, 1936. The year 1936 is visible on the cornerstone near the access ramp leading to the present front door.
Construction of the church began just four days later. The Architect, Joseph M. Mosher designed a Norman Gothic church 40 feet wide by 90 feet long with a seating capacity of about 300. The construction cost of the original building was approximately $25,000. The feast of the assumption on August 15, 1937 marked a milestone when Bishop Keough officiated at the dedication of St. Luke's Chapel, the first diocesan building placed under the patronage of St. Luke. Just five years after its mission beginnings, St. Luke's Mission became St. Luke's Church on September 27, 1942. The first pastor, Rev. John A. Kelly celebrated the first two Masses of the new parish. Father Kelly rented a residence from a parishioner at 337 Washington Road because there was no rectory. The permanent rectory was constructed in 1952.
|In 1996, under Fr. Jenkinson's leadership, expansion of the Church was being
actively discussed. In November of 1996, a conceptual program agreed
to by the Parish Building and Grounds Committee and the Parish Pastoral
Council was presented to the Diocese Building Commission. In
December of 1997, with Diocesan concerns resolved, the parish
received approval to proceed with detailed planning for expansion.
Environmental preparations included an asbestos abatement plan which was
accepted by the State in May of 1998. The church was closed in
the spring of 1998 when asbestos abatement work started. The Parish celebrated Mass
in St. Luke's School auditorium until the renovated building was available
Work also commenced in the fall of 1998 to preserve the original stained glass
Numerous unexpected issues with design, specifications, consultants and
cost caused the project to be halted for a time while issues were
resolved. In the summer of 1999, with the help of an expanded
project management team, a new financing model was identified and approved
by the Diocese. A contractor was selected and re-construction started
with the official ground breaking on September 25,
1999. Construction of the new building was completed in the fall of
2000 with a re-dedication celebrated in November by Bishop Mulvee.