On October 27, 1946, St. Luke’s began as a mission (summer) church of St. Brendan’s Parish in Riverside, RI. At the time, many towns on the East Bay (Riverside, Barrington, Warren and Bristol) were filled with second homes called ‘summer cottages’. Residents of Providence and surrounding towns would travel to the East Bay by train to vacation near the water. The train tracks they traveled on were torn up in the 90’s and that area is now the East Bay Bike path which runs from Providence to Bristol.
Just five years after its mission began, St. Luke’s Mission became St. Luke’s Church. By the 1950′s it was well established as a separate parish. The appointment of Father O’Gara as pastor in 1955 began a period of growth and his dream of a parochial school became a reality in 1956 with the purchase of land across the street from the church. Within two years, ground was broken for the new school. It opened in 1958 with 225 students in five grades. Within three years, all eight grades were filled.
St. Luke’s School was originally staffed by the Sisters of the Cross and Passion. For twenty-five years these dedicated sisters served the people of St. Luke’s and helped the school develop its excellent reputation. In 1993, and again in 2004, St. Luke’s School was recognized by the Department of Education as an exemplary school and received the prestigious Blue Ribbon School Award.
The preschool facility opened in 1994 and is housed in the original convent building. The National Catholic Educators Association honored our preschool by asking the preschool faculty to participate in the 2005 Conference of Selected Programs for Improving Catholic Education where we were recognized as one of the best early childhood programs in the country. The second floor of the Convent has been converted into an Art and Music studio, the Spanish classroom and a conference room. Students travel back and forth during the day for those classes.
As St. Luke’s Parish continued to grow and flourish; they began to outgrow the small ‘mission’ church. Masses had to be held in the school gymnasium in order to accommodate the increasing numbers. A beautiful new addition was completed and dedicated in the fall of 2000 and accommodates 600 worshippers.
Our current pastor, Fr. Timothy Reilly, continues the tradition of his predecessors, Fr. TJ Varghese, Fr. Bob Hawkins, Fr. William Jenkinson, Monsignor Ferland and Monsignor O’Gara to provide the vision, support and love which helped St. Luke’s School become a nationally recognized Catholic School of Excellence.