By Alan Hustak for VMO
Saturday, May 31st, 2022
It is unusual for a priest to return as pastor to the church in the neighbourhood in which he was raised, but Fr. Bertrand Montpetit, who has been at St. Luke’s in the West Island for the past eight months, not only made his first communion and was confirmed in the church, but played the organ there as well.
Montpetit has at least three reasons celebrate his return: This month marks the 50th anniversary of the parish; the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood; and his 50th birthday.
A Mass of Thanksgiving and a reunion will be celebrated at the Dollard Des Ormeaux Civic Centre at 10:30 a.m. this Pentecost Sunday, June 8. There will be no Masses at the church that day.
The bilingual parish was erected on July 28, 1964 to serve about 400 families in the Westpark subdivision with Rev. David Mckee as the founding pastor.
Fr. McKee, who died in 1993, was fluent in English, French and Italian. He had been Cardinal Paul-Emile Leger’s secretary and had served as the secretary to the Apostolic Delegate to Canada.
The low-slung fieldstone church building designed by architect Andre Richot as a soaring pyramid with a tilted glass window opened in 1967. It was one of the first to conform to the open-concept changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council. The silver cross in its sanctuary came from St. Augustine’s in Notre Dame de Grace after that church closed in 2002.
Fr. Montpetit, who was confirmed at St. Luke’s in 1972, grew up in a house next to the church. His father was a deacon there.
The eldest of three children in a school teacher’s family, Fr. Montpetit says in his youth he was influenced by St. Brother André, but resisted the calling to the priesthood.
“I lived my faith at St. Luke’s,” he says. “Through Brother André I learned that God is alive. I knew God was calling me to help others, but I discovered girls; my girlfriend played the violin in the church choir.”
The vocation was too strong, however, and Montpetit entered the seminary in 1983. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 31, 1989. He did missionary work in Peru, taught at the Grand Seminaire in Montreal, and worked in the diocesan office before being named pastor of St. Luke’s.
Since it was founded, nine priests have served the parish that has become a vibrant faith community serving more than 1,000 parishioners who attend four Masses on Sunday.
A charismatic prayer group was founded in 1974. In 1988, the parish centre was added to provide offices and meeting rooms; in 2002, part of the rectory was converted to accommodate Faith First classes, Children’s Liturgy and meetings.
St. Luke’s was consecrated by Cardinal Jean Claude Turcotte on Oct 17, 2009.
Last Night at the Gayete
The Centaur Theatre's - season is drawing to a close with its final production of Last Night at the Gayety, a musical comedy by Bowser & Blue which runs until May 22nd.