Parish History

St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church had its actual beginnings forty-five years ago when the Diocese of St. Petersburg, under Bishop Charles McLaughlin, acquired eight and one-half acres of land on the corner of Alderman Road and Cinnamon Hill.

Some eleven years later on February 19, 1985 it was announced at St. Ignatius, our mother church in Tarpon Springs, that a new, mission in Palm Harbor was being established.

The first Mass was celebrated by Fr. Patrick Rahill, administrator of the new mission and founding Pastor, on Saturday, May 11, 1985 in the Presbyterian Church on Nebraska Avenue.

Less than a month later, on Sunday, June 9, 1985 more than 400 families registered.

By that September 260 students were attending the School of Faith Program conducted by the Sisters of St. Clare at the Methodist Church.

During the next eighteen months true ecumenicalism and cooperation among the area Churches was apparent for Fr. Rahill was able to hold six Masses on Sundays, not only at the Presbyterian Church but also the Lutheran Church of the Palms and the First United Methodist Church. Masses were also celebrated at Baywood Village Clubhouse and Palm Harbor Middle School.

By a decree dated October 18, 1985 the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, Bishop W. Thomas Larkin raised the mission to the status of a parish.

Construction began January 20, 1986 on a building to meet the worship, social, educational needs of the community and by December 7, 1986 Bishop Larkin blessed the new parish facility. Legend has it, the original  building plans for the church in place today, were drawn up as a US Postal facility; without pews!

Our Parish grew from a few hundred families to nearly three thousand in a span of fifteen years.

Over the years the parish has benefited from the dedicated work of priests, deacons and religious including the Sisters of St. Clare and the Sisters of St. Anne.

                                                         Pastors who have Served the Parish Community

Reverend Patrick Rahill                  Founding Pastor               5-12-1985                            12-31-1987

 Reverend John Murphy                  Pastor                               1-12-1988                             5-01-1989                                                              

Reverend Donald Leininger             Pastor                               5-01-1989                            7-01-2000     (RIP 1-25-08)

Reverend Ron Poirier                      Pastor                                7-01-2000                            5-25-2004

 Reverend John D’ Antonio              Pastor                                5-25-2004                            6-30-2010

 Reverend Paul Kochu                     Pastor                                 7-10-2010                          To  present