St. Jude Church was named by Bishop Mark K. Carroll in April, 1959. The parishioners selected the name from four proposals given by Bishop Carroll. Other names proposed were St. Cecilia, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Joan of Arc. St. Jude Taddeus is the patron saint for whom we are named and is the saint of difficult cases and of things despaired.
A temporary chapel served our parish until the new church was completed in November, 1959. Fondly called 'St. Zickafoose' after the Zickafoose furniture store in which it was located, this tiny place of worship was just three blocks north on Amidon from where the new church was to be built. This building is still standing and is now occupied by Discount Tobacco.
Father Gerald Pathe was the first pastor of St. Jude and lived in a house on the current property of St. Jude. The parish started with approximately 200 families. By the time the new church was completed just 7 months later, the number of families had grown to 300. The first church was a split-level building, with the church on the upper level and the church hall in the basement. It measured 40 x 101 feet and seated approximately 380 persons.
The school followed two years later. It was opened in September of 1961, just 2 months after the new priest, Father Francis Hay arrived at St. Jude. The school was staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph at first. They were Followed by the Dominican Sisters in 1969 and the Adorers of the Blood of Christ in 1975. The sisters who came to staff the school moved into the former rectory facility. Father Hay and his assistant moved into a house on 25th Street, thus making St. Jude the only parish with a rectory located outside of its boundaries. This was only a temporary problem, however. In 1963 the new and present rectory was finished. Father Hay requested that the last four numbers of the rectory's phone number be 1963 after the year that the rectory was finished. This number is still used today as the Parish Office phone number - 838-1963.
While still at St. Jude, Father Hay led the effort to build the present church. It was architecturally ahead of its time and is still a unique building. One of the features of the church are the stained glass windows by French artist Gabriel Loire (1904-1996). His works appear in many churches around the world. He favors blue colors in the impressionist style that present the Stations of the Cross in the stained glass windows. The present church was finished in 1967. The old church was turned into a parish hall and activity center, where many parish functions, including Bingo, church bazaars and dinners were held.
Father Reinhard Eck followed Father Hay and served our parish from July, 1969 until July, 1976. Following Father Eck came Father George Kruzick. He was pastor at St. Jude from July 1976 to 1985. While serving as pastor, Father Kruzick helped the parish build on to the school, adding additional classrooms and a gym. Naming this project "A Project of Hope," it was completed in the spring of 1984.
Father Kruzick was replaced by Father Thomas Scaletty in 1985. While at St. Jude, Father Scaletty was in charge of tearing down the original church (which was being used as an activity center) and the old convent to make room for our new building project, "Faith in the Future." This project added additional classrooms, meeting rooms, and a parish hall that connected to the school. It allowed the school children to be able to go to lunch in the same building as the school instead of having to go outside to the activitiy building to have lunch. It also added easier accessibility to our parish hall. This building project was finished in 1994.
Father Scaletty was replaced by Father Doug Campbell in 1998. Father Doug began his first day in St. Jude church on September 15, 1998. Since his arrival he helped get our beautiful grotto built. Known as Mary's Garden, the grotto was dedicated on May 13, 2001. He also completed a building project known as "Graces" which added an entrance and parish and school offices to the hall. This addition was dedicated on December 29, 2002.
As the parish continued to grow and began to draw near its 50th anniversary, it became obvious that renovations needed to be done on the church to bring our ramps and restrooms to city codes and replace worn furnishings. A new adoration chapel was also included in the plans, and a larger vestibule to accommodate gatherings before and after church liturgies and celebrations. The new project "Building the House of the Lord Where All Are Welcome" began in February 2009.
In August 2009, Father Thomas Hoisington became the administrator of St. Jude and saw the completion of the building project in October. On November 14, 2009, the 50th Anniversary Mass was celebrated by Bishop Michael O. Jackels with Bishop Gerber and a number of priests of the diocese present for the Rededication of St. Jude Church, including the redesigned altar, new baptismal font, and new bell tower. On that occasion, Bishop Jackels announced that Father Daniel Vacca would be the new pastor of St. Jude Parish in the new year.
Father Vacca came to St. Jude on January 4, 2010. He pastors a parish of about 710 registered families and growing.
One of the new features in our church is the relic collection. The vestibule display cases are filled with 150 relics of saints that were donated to St. Jude after the death of a longtime parishioner, Leon Zimmerman, who had spent years collecting them. The relics are sorted into 3 groups: saints celebrated on the church calendar, obscure saints not on the univeral calendar, and the oldest relics of saints in the biblical era. A book on permanent display in the vestibule gives a bibliography of each saint represented in the collection, and one can light a candle and offer a prayer at a kneeler by the Divine Mercy image.
Another new feature are the sanctuary angels. In the 1980's, Father Scaletty asked the Simpson family, parishioners at the time, about providing something decorative for the niches in the sanctuary. Jerry and Janet built the frames and stretched painted canvas across them. Their son Jim drew an angel on each panel. Over the years these panels were used to decorate Christmas and Easter seasons, but the constant moving and storing of them wore them out over time. In 2010, Father Vacca asked Jim, who owns his own art/graphic design business, to make new ones that would now remain permanently in the sanctuary. The new panels are similar to the originals, but are more detailed in style with an architectural border added. They made their debut in August 2010.
In 2014 a new stained glass window depicting Pentecost was added to the church thanks to a parish family who wish to remain anonymous. The window created by Hoefer Stained Glass of South Hutchinson uses glass similar to the other windows but in a more realistic presentation of the Holy Spirit descending upon the Apostles. Positioned in what had originally been the southeast entrance to the church until the last renovation, it comes right after the window depicting the Resurrection.
After five and a half years as pastor, Father Vacca will be replaced as pastor by Father James Mainzer on July 1, 2015.
We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane at St. Jude and encourage to become part of tomorrow's history.