Saint Luke’s Parish of Long Valley Celebrates 40 Years

By Steve Sears

Just off of West Mill Road in Long Valley, there is beautiful land on which sits a beautiful church building, home to a welcoming and faith-filled parish congregation. 

That very parish, Saint Luke’s Roman Catholic Church, on October 15, 2002 celebrated their 40th anniversary in a special way as a celebrated Mass took place at 4 p.m. with Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney of the Archdiocese of Paterson. “It was just a warm celebration of love. Lots of families who have been there from the beginning, families who are new to the parish, as well everybody in between,” says Nina Dorlon, Manager of Ministry, Media and Events for the parish. “We just had a nice potluck kind of celebration. It was a little bit on the more formal side. The Knights of Columbus made a barbecue for us and everybody participated, which was nice. Even the choirs; we had the Youth Choir and the SAS Choir, and all of the choirs came together. it was just a fun and happy day.”

In 1981 and 1982, residents of the valley area of Long Valley wanted a church down in that vicinity. A group of families got together, and they started meeting in the Long Valley Middle School gym to discuss the same. The new parish was former thereafter, and was dedicated by then-Bishop Frank Rodimer on October 18, 1982, that date in October also celebrated as the Feast of Saint Luke. The first Mass was celebrated in the Long Valley Middle School cafeteria by named Pastor Rev. Peter J. Doody five days later. “Fr. Doody was the original pastor who built the church and brought everything together,” says Dorlon. “And he was there for several years until Fr. Mike Drury took over, and now we have Fr. Owen Moran.” 

Saint Luke’s Parish 40th anniversary coincided with changes that were made inside the church building. “We refinished the entire church,” says Dorlon. “We changed the look and the feel. We updated the church, and so the bishop came to bless the altar and bless the pews.” New curved pews have been installed that center around the altar area, and new credence and gift tables have been added. The new oak altar was donated by an anonymous family, and a quartz top for the altar was blessed and dedicated by Bishop Sweeney. 

A true testament to Saint Luke’s Parish is not just its beauty, but the people of the parish themselves. It’s a wonderful, spiritual place to visit. “We have people who travel almost an hour on any given Sunday to come to Mass in our parish,” says Dorlon. “It’s just a great place to be.”

Fr. Drury, who in 1994 was named Saint Luke’s pastor and remained in that role until 2019, says, “40 years ago, Saint Luke’s started as a seed planted in Long Valley. Through its leadership it has been a nurturing experience. 40 years later, we continue to welcome anyone and everyone who wishes to discover and deepen their faith.”

For more information about Saint Luke’s Roman Catholic Church, which is located at 265 West Mill Road, visit www.stlukeparishlv.com.

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