Early in the 20th century, Bishop Herman J. Alerding purchased
a half block on Kentucky Avenue, Lakeside, as a site for a parish which was expected to be
established north of the Maumee River. However, during the following years, there
was a large development farther east and north on that same side of the river, causing a
change of location. The years 1925-27 witnessed a growing interest on the part of
many Catholic residents of Lakeside and Kensington Addition in a new parish.
These residents felt that the distance from the Cathedral and Saint
Mary Churches made a new church and parochial school necessary.
During these years, these
residents held several different meetings. At one of these meetings in the auditorium of
Forest Park School in the spring of 1926, Bishop John Francis Noll pointed out the burden
of starting a parish from the ground up. When most people expressed a willingness to meet
the burden in return for the convenience, the Bishop authorized the formation of a new
parish, taking people away from the Cathedral and Saint Mary Churches.
On May 7, 1926, the Diocese
purchased five acres of land for the site of the church and the other parish buildings.
This acreage constitutes the present Saint Jude Parish Square,
bounded by State Boulevard, Randallia Drive, Forest Avenue, and Pemberton Drive. A short
time later, the Diocese purchased an additional five acres to the west and south, hoping
that the resale of these lots would pay the cost of construction for a new church. Because
of the Great Depression, these lots were not sold until much later.
The committee which purchased the
property invited the people to suggest a name. "Sharon Terrace"
was among the names proposed and eventually selected as the name of the new addition.
Situated in the Holy Land along the Mediterranean Sea, Sharon is a beautiful and fertile
section where the 'Rose of Sharon' flower grows. This flower is mentioned in the Canticle
of Canticles: 'I am the flower of the field,' which Christians later applied to Christ as
the flower of humanity, the Lord of all creatures.
The building program was
entrusted to Father Thomas M. Conroy, Rector of the Cathedral. On his recommendation, the
new parish was dedicated to Saint Jude, the forgotten
apostle whose name has been confused with the other Jude, Judas Iscariot. On March 3,
1929, Bishop Noll dedicated the school and a chapel in the lower southwest wing. The cost
was approximately $125,000. The next day, the Sisters of Providence opened the doors of
the new school to 105 children in the first four grades.
On April 12, 1929, Bishop Noll
formally established the parish as Saint Jude Church and appointed the
Reverend John A. Dapp as its first
pastor. The southwest lower wing of the school was planned as a
chapel. On Sunday, April 21, 1929, Mass was celebrated for the first time in
the Chapel. By
that evening all the furnishings for the chapel, except the pews and collection baskets
had been donated by members of the parish, the Cathedral and other friends.
On August 12, 1929, ground was broken for a temporary Rectory, at a cost of $13,500,
on the northwest comer of Pemberton and Forest Avenue. It was "temporary,"
because a more permanent Rectory was to have been built on the Parish Square. School
opened in September with eight grades and 293 pupils.
In 1930, Father Dapp moved into
the new Rectory. The south portion of the second floor of the school was converted into a
Sisters' Apartment, with the parish kitchen in the basement serving as both kitchen and
dining room. In December 1933, the Parish received the gift of a church bell from the John
Dehner family. It was hung in the south tower of the school and rung for the first time
for the Angelus on Christmas Eve.
By 1935 the parish had grown
rapidly. The school had reached 345 children and it quickly became obvious that the chapel
which seated only 260 people was inadequate for the size of the parish. Because of the
large parish debt and depressed economic conditions, plans to build a separate church unit
had to be dropped. Instead, the decision was made to build a church adjoining the east
side of the school, with entrances on Randallia Drive. On July 1, 1935, ground was broken
for the new church. A Spanish
architectural style conforming with the school building was chosen, and it was built
to handle a seating capacity of 750. On Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1935, Bishop Noll
dedicated the new church. In the
fall of 1937, John Dehner donated the addition of a second public office room to the
In November 1946,
Reverend Charles F. Girardot was
appointed pastor of St. Jude to succeed Msgr. Dapp, who was appointed Rector of the
Cathedral. In November 1948, the Sisters moved into a residence at 1903 Kensington Blvd to
create more classrooms in the school.
In October 1953, Bishop Noll
approved of a plan to build a new convent north of the school, a four room addition to the
south end of the school, and a new gymnasium. With school opening that fall, the
enrollment had reached 616 pupils. By this time, the Green Room (the former
chapel) had been converted to class use. The staff now numbered 12 teachers.
Construction of another addition
to the rectory, including a three car garage, was started in October, 1955 and completed a
year later. In 1959 the parish sold the back third of its property on the east side of
Randallia Drive to Parkview Hospital for $40,000. When school opened on September,
4, 1957, the enrollment reached 920, even though Saint Charles Parish had been formed
earlier that summer. The staff consisted of 13 Sisters and 6 lay teachers. Even when Saint
Charles School opened, enrollment continued to be high, peaking at 964 children for the
1963-64 school year. The staff for that year consisted of 14 Sisters and 9 lay teachers.
On September 27, 1964, plans were
announced to build a new church and everyone was asked to tithe. On March 14, 1965, the
liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council were implemented at Saint Jude when a new
altar was placed in front of the old altar. On July 2, 1965, ground was broken for the new
church, with the construction bids totaling $642,901. The liturgical reforms of Vatican 11
greatly affected the church design. The altar, made of Minnesota Red Granite, occupies a
prominent position. The pews are arranged so that the farthest pew is only 60 feet away
from the sanctuary, allowing the entire assembly to be gathered around the altar. On
October 3, 1966, the auditorium under the new church was used for the first time when the
Rosary Society installed their new officers. Msgr. Girardot celebrated the first Mass in
the new church at 6 a.m. on Sunday, November 6, 1966. Work was immediately started to
remodel the old church into classrooms for the school.
On December 2, 1966, Msgr.
Girardot consecrated the new altar in honor of Saint Jude. The relics are those of the
martyrs Saint Innocentia and Saint Mansueta. The Blessed Sacrament platform was
consecrated, and the relics of Saint Modestini and Saint Theophila were placed there.
Bishop Leo A. Pursley blessed and dedicated the new church on June 4, 1967.
On February 14, 1970, a Saturday
night Vigil Mass was celebrated for the first time, and on Palm Sunday, March 22nd, the
Mass of Paul VI was used for the first time. On July 1, 1970, Msgr. Girardot retired and
was succeeded by Msgr. J. William
Lester as pastor. Msgr. Girardot continued to live in the neighborhood until his death
on January 29, 1974.
In August 1973, Msgr. Lester
acknowledged 44 years of faithful service to Saint Jude by the Sisters of Providence and
welcomed the Sisters of Notre Dame from Toledo, Ohio, to serve the parish. In 1978,
Father Donald Isenbarger succeeded
Msgr. Lester as pastor until 1980, when Father
John Pfister succeeded him. In 1985, a building restoration fund drive made possible
the installation of new boilers in the church and school, replacement of new roofs on the
church and school, painting of the church interior, installation of new carpeting in the
church, and a new fire alarm/public address system in the school.
In July 1988,
Father William Schooler was appointed
the sixth Pastor of Saint Jude, succeeding Father Pfister, who was transferred to Saint
Mary of the Assumption, South Bend. After consultation with the Parish Pastoral Council
and the Finance Committee, Father Schooler introduced stewardship
as a way of life to the parish in April 1989, with Sacrificial Giving - the giving of the
first portion back to God in gratitude for what he has so generously given to us -
recommended for Stewardship of Treasure.
In the fall of 1993, a major
building maintenance fund drive was conducted in conjunction with the annual Bishop's
Appeal. This drive raised over $1,000,000, which was used for accomplishing major
renovations and repairs to the school, upgrading the church air conditioning to adequately
cool the church in the warm months, and installing new windows in the convent and parish
In July 1998, the parish
purchased the house at 2020 Forest Avenue for
$105,000 to be used as a rectory. In compliance with five year plans from both Parish
Pastoral Council and the Parish Board of Education, the purchase of this home opened the
way to convert the old convent into more efficient parish and school use. Located
at 2130 Pemberton Drive, the Parish Center contains all the parish offices, four meeting
rooms, an auxilliary principal's office, a sick room for students, a kitchen, and three
classrooms. The sisters now live at 2101 Pemberton Drive.
During the latter part of 2000 and
early 2001, a 50 ton water chiller was installed to complete the air
conditioning of the school. Renovations in the Church included a new
Baptismal Pool, flooring replacement around the Altar to aid acoustics
and improvements to the rest rooms to more closely meet the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
In July 2001, Father Thomas R.
Shoemaker was appointed the seventh Pastor, succeeding Father Schooler,
who was transferred to Saint Pius X in Granger, Indiana.
In April of 2004, the parish began a
celebration of our 75th anniversary. Outdoor banners announced
our anniversary for the next five months. We began the
celebration with a Mass and an open house, as the school and parish
hall were filled with memorabilia and displays of our history.
An outdoor May procession was recreated from years past, and a parish
picnic was held in August. The anniversary celebration concluded
with a Parish Mission in October. Featured speakers were chosen
from among the priests and sisters who had been a part of our parish
history. A nine-foot concert grand piano was donated to the
parish during the jubilee year.
The parish purchased the empty lots on
the southwest corner of State and Pemberton in 2006, with thoughts of
someday using that land for parking.
In the fall of 2006, our parish school
was named a "Blue Ribbon School" by the National Department
of Education, based on academic excellence.
In the fall of 2008, we
began construction of a new administration wing for our school,
overlooking the parking lot door. Construction was completed in
the spring of 2009.