St. Luke's celebrates 160 years

By 
  • November 2, 2007
{mosimage}THORNHILL, Ont. - There hasn’t always been a St. Luke’s, but just about. The parish has been there in one form or another ever since Bishop Michael Power decided Upper Canada needed another Catholic church between Toronto and Newmarket in 1844. It cost $1,000 to buy land for the church, rectory and cemetery that began St. Luke’s long history in 1847.

On its 160th birthday the Thornhill parish gathered with Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Peter Hundt not just to mark the milestone but also to bless a renewed and renovated church. St. Luke’s has become the newest 160-year-old parish anywhere, starting with a reconfigured parking lot and continuing on through an expanded narthex (entrance hall), a renovated church hall, a new baptismal font, new ambo (lectern), expanded new tabernacle area which allows for eucharistic adoration, new stained glass window, new altar and a cross behind the altar even bigger than the popular World Youth Day Cross.

Hundt blessed the whole congregation before proceeding to formally bless each of the new elements of St. Luke’s.

The parish raised more than $1 million and inspired thousands of hours of volunteer time from more than 500 members over the last year and a half to complete the redesign by Larkin Architect Ltd.

The Oct. 20 blessing marked not just the 160th anniversary of the parish, but 35 years almost to the day since the parish moved into its current address on Green Lane in Thornhill.

“The church is what’s important,” said pastor Fr. William Burns. “A Catholic church is above all a place to gather around the altar.”

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