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St. Luke: Household watching out for household

It’s the little issues that imply rather a lot.

That’s hardly a torn-at-the-edges cliché in Toni Southern’s lexicon.

Which is why she will nonetheless do not forget that long-ago cellphone name, phrase for phrase, from Sister Lenore.

Lenore Thomas, a Roman Catholic nun with the Order of the Immaculate Coronary heart of Mary, was a pastoral affiliate at St. Luke the Evangelist, in Cheat Lake.

Southern, an energetic parishioner there, was nonetheless shaken by the sudden demise of her husband six months earlier than.

As she confronted the all-at-once circumstance of widowhood, Southern wasn’t as current within the church as she had been earlier than her tragedy.

She had a home to run, and extra importantly, younger youngsters to lift.

Southern simply knew she wanted to be there for her household.

And a sure nun knew Southern’s St. Luke household could be there for her in a nanosecond.

“Sister Lenore,” Southern stated, with a smile in her voice on the reminiscence.

“She calls up and says, ‘Toni, you’ve acquired to get again into it. You want this.’”

If you wish to know the sustaining dynamic of the church that’s celebrating its 40th anniversary on Sunday, it’s all proper there in that above sentence, Southern stated.

A catechism of caring, for a parish household.

Emphasis on, “household.”

St. Luke, the household, was there earlier than St. Luke, the worship house.

It’s a household going again to a minimum of the Seventies, because the Cheat Lake space started rising.

From his workplace within the Northern Panhandle, then-Bishop John H. Hodges of the Diocese of
Wheeling-Charleston, watched and acted.

The bishop began the method of building a church that will function a mission of the previous St. Theresa.

St. Theresa was positioned a brief stroll from WVU’s downtown campus – however a little bit of a drive from Cheat Lake, particularly through the area’s dicey winters.

That was in 1978.

When St. Luke was devoted two years later as that mission, it was for a church that structurally didn’t exist.

Not but.

Parishioners, although, did exist, they usually appreciated the grace of Cheat Lake United Methodist, which allowed for providers there through the eight months it took for St. Luke to be constructed on its perch at Jo Glen Drive.

In 1983, Bishop Francis Schulte, who adopted Hodges to Wheeling after Hodges’ retirement, formally designated St. Luke – individuals, roof and steeple, included – as an impartial parish.

“And we’re nonetheless at it,” Southern stated.

Sunday, the present chief of the diocese is scheduled to be there on the event of the church’s fourth decade of formally being.

Bishop Mark Brennan will assist have a good time the 4 p.m. Mass that day, with the assistance of the Rev. Biju T. Devassy, the church’s present pastor, together with former St. Luke monks. A reception will comply with.

St. Luke’s placing, low-slung structure has been added onto through the years, with a rectory, social corridor and schooling heart woven into the primary house to accommodate an ever-growing congregation.  

It’s a congregation that’s a minimum of holding regular, post-pandemic.

“COVID saved some away,” stated Devassy, “however they’re coming again. I’d say we’ve got round 350 households now.”

Devassy, echoing Southern, stated he’s consistently struck by that sense of household which prevails within the place the place he’s been giving homilies since 2018.

“It’s very hospitable, very welcoming,” he stated.

“Individuals wish to be taught and develop of their religion. They usually be careful for each other. That’s essential to the group.”

Amen, Southern stated.

“In the event you’re not in Mass, otherwise you haven’t been there for some time, individuals will discover,” she stated.

“I like that they discover. They’ll name you up and test on you, to be sure to’re OK.”

You understand: The little issues.