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St. Luke Church

708-435-8912 (ph)

708-771-8809 (fax)

528 Lathrop Ave

River Forest, IL 60305-1835



Our Patron, Saint Luke the Evangelist


Little is known with certainty about St. Luke, one of the four evangelists, or authors of the Gospels. He was a man of the first Christian century, probably a Gentile, from the city of Antioch in Syria. He was not an eyewitness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, but one who learned about Him from eyewitnesses, and thus came to believe in Jesus' saving power. 


Image of St. Luke in stained glass.We first hear of Luke in the Acts of the Apostles as a companion to St. Paul on his second missionary journey. Later Luke accompanies Paul to Jerusalem and ministers to him during Paul's imprisonment at Caesarea. He goes with Paul to Rome, again acting as a faithful companion. Luke seems to have had some medical background, and he may have been a physician by profession because Paul refers to him as his "beloved physician."  According to a legend of the 6th century, Luke was also a painter and is credited with creating a miraculous icon of the Madonna and Child that's now ensconced in Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Hence, he is the patron saint of physicians and artists


Luke's great contribution to Christianity was his authorship of the third Synoptic Gospel, and of the Acts of the Apostles. He is the only one of the four Evangelists who not only recorded the story of Jesus in his Gospel, but also told in the Acts of the Apostles the story of the early life of the Church. Luke's writings were in Greek, and probably were completed prior to 70 A.D. Little is known with certainty about the place of composition. Some of the ancient authors suggest Achaia (Greece); some of the manuscripts mention Alexandria or Macedonia; while modern writers also defend Caesarea, Ephesus, or Rome.


His literary style is of high quality. Based on this fact, scholars have regarded Luke as probably a cultured and educated person. Both of Luke's books are addressed to one Theophilus, "God's friend." It is uncertain whether this was a real historical person or a literary device that allowed Luke to reveal information that any sincere seeker would need to deepen his faith. Luke reveals himself to be both an historian and a theologian, and thus, uniquely capable of providing the appropriate information.


Luke's writings describe the early Church as a community filled with joy as it begins to take shape  a community whose center is neither political nor sectarian but open and welcoming to all people. Luke shows clearly the preeminence of Peter and Paul in the development of the church. The mission to the Gentiles takes a central place in that development. We celebrate Luke's feast day on October 18. Each year St. Luke Parish schedules a Mass of the Anointing of the Sick on or around Luke's feast day.   

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