The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Paris pastor known for art in metal

Published: July 23, 2011   
Father Eugene Luke, OSB

SUBIACO -- Father Eugene Luke, OSB, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Paris, celebrated his golden jubilee of ordination to the priesthood during the annual monastic retreat at Subiaco Abbey in early June.

He was born Oct. 6, 1936, in Muenster, Texas, and attended Sacred Heart School in his hometown followed by two years at Muenster High School. He came to Subiaco Academy for his final two years of high school, graduating with the class of 1954. He entered Subiaco Abbey, professing his vows as a Benedictine monk on Sept. 8, 1956, receiving the name Eugene. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Albert L. Fletcher at Subiaco Abbey on July 11, 1961.

He completed studies in 1965 for a master's degree in Latin at St. Louis University and received a master's degree degree in Spanish from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1968.

Father Luke served on the faculty of Subiaco Academy as a teacher of religion, Latin and Spanish. With the advent of the Second Vatican Council, he was an active participant in charismatic prayer groups among students and adults. He attended state and national workshops and was a highly respected director of healing/reconciliation retreats.

In Arkansas he assisted with retreat work at St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith and served as a weekend chaplain at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. At Subiaco he served as Coury House retreat master from 1976-77.

In addition to his spiritual ministries, he was an accomplished machinist and welder, and for decades he used his talent as a machinist and welder at the abbey, as well as parishes in Arkansas and Texas where he served as pastor.

On weekends he served as a commuting pastor in Arkansas, first at Assumption Church in Booneville from 1988-1989; then at St. Ignatius Church in Scranton and its mission in Prairie View from 1989-1990. He was appointed for the second time as commuting pastor of Assumption Church in Booneville, serving from 1990-1993.

Father Luke was then assigned as resident pastor of St. Peter Church in Lindsay, Texas, where he served for six years. In 2003 he was appointed resident pastor of St. Joseph Church in Paris.

It is impossible to enumerate all the artistic masterpieces created by Father Luke. Through the years he turned hours of manual labor into a hobby which flowered into a medium of art. In the 1980s he was commissioned to make a crozier for Bishop Andrew J. McDonald. Several parishes commissioned him to design liturgical church furnishings, such as candelabra and coronas.

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