The parish of St. Luke Catholic Church in Temple will celebrate its 50 year history Saturday, Oct. 19, with an anniversary mass, parish dinner and the annual St. Lukefest event.
St. Lukefest will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the parish grounds, 2807 Oakdale Drive, and will offer food, fun and fellowship for the whole community. The festival will include games for adults and children, a petting zoo, bounce houses, auctions, music and more.
Dr. Louis Gamino, co-chair of the anniversary committee, said the parish hosts the annual fall festival in October around the feast day of St. Luke, the church’s patron saint.
“And then at 4:00 we’re having an anniversary Mass, which is the usual Sunday liturgy, except quite embellished for the occasion with extra music and extra protocol and stuff like that,” he said.
Gamino said the Mass will include a procession of the Knights of Columbus, and the Vicar General of the Diocese of Austin, James Misko, will represent Bishop Joe Vasquez as a dignitary.
The Mass will be followed by dinner and a dance on the parish grounds from 5-8 p.m.
The St. Luke parish was founded in response to growth in the Temple community. As the city grew, so did the Catholic community.
“In the mid to late 60s, the people of St. Mary’s (Catholic Church) could see that the town was really growing, especially to the southwest,” Gamino said. “And so they took it upon themselves to purchase the land there off the Loop and 57th Street where St. Luke parish is located as a way of ceding, if you will, the next expansion of the Catholic community in Temple.”
In addition to buying and gifting land to the new parish, some members of St. Mary’s parish migrated over and became founding members of St. Luke.
On Aug. 1, 1969 Bishop Louis Reicher established St. Luke Parish in Temple. The first Mass was celebrated Sept. 28, 1969 at the old Sara T. Thorton Elementary School.
“So they started out as a community of people without a building, and then, as these things usually go, they first built the parish hall and had worship services and stuff in there until they could get the church building built, which was the second building on the site,” Gamino said.
The first Mass in the newly constructed Parish Hall took place Aug. 16, 1970, and the ground breaking for the church building was held in the autumn of 1971.
The campus has undergone numerous changes during its history, including the addition of the education building and pastoral center, renovations to the church interior and rectory, and additions to the grounds and landscape.
Gamino, who has been a member of the parish since 1980, said one special thing is the whole notion of passing on and gifting the next generation with what they need to grow into the future.
He also said the name of St. Luke was chosen is because Temple is a strong medical community.
“Saint Luke is one of the four evangelists, but he was also a physician,” he said. “So that linkage was very intentional in naming the parish in the first place.”
The Rev. John Guzaldo has served the parish as pastor for just over a year. He said St. Luke has been a very welcoming parish.
“The moment I drove up there was 20-some-odd Knights of Columbus ready to unload my car and help me move in,” he said. “So they were very welcoming. Everybody was.”
Guzaldo said the entire parish is very generous and loyal.
“They take good care of the youth,” he said. “They’re very prayerful and devote people. This parish is very special because it has a lot of doctors and nurses, because we’re like 60 feet from the hospitals here… they’re very much a service based people. I guess the biggest thing is they’re welcoming and generous. Anybody that comes here looking for help, they get it.”
To celebrate the 50th anniversary, Guzaldo said the parish asked for and received an Apostolic blessing from Pope Francis. He said the combined festival and banquet with Mass in between will mean an all-day celebration that everyone in the community is invited to attend.