A History of St. Jude Parish Community
In 1956, during the papacy of Pope Pius XII, and at the direction of the Most Rev. Archbishop Karl J. Alter, St. Jude Parish began as a 16.25 acre tract of land on Bridgetown Road. On September 8, Msgr. Stanley Bertke was appointed to organize this new parish. In early October, the members of St. Jude Parish celebrated their first Mass in the Bridgetown Public School gymnasium.
Construction on a new parish “plant” began with ground breaking ceremonies on July 28, 1956. The design was a combination church and school. The first floor was used for church seating on Sunday and a classroom on school days. The basement served as a cafeteria. This temporary church was to be converted into a gymnasium later.
Parish Council voted to build a new church in 1968 and by the following March construction had begun. Parishioners watched with anticipation as our present church was built. On a Sunday in July 1970, the cornerstone was placed. Finally, on Sunday, September 20, 1970, the new church was dedicated.
Our most recent undertaking is the new Parish Center built with money raised through our Capital Campaign Fund. The Parish Center houses a new gym, plus computer, art and music rooms for the school children. Also there are three meeting rooms for our organizations.
The windows of the church are both beautiful and meaningful. Two types of stained glass are used. The large front windows and the windows in the sanctuary are of faceted glass. The great window over the front entrance depicts the Holy Trinity with the large Christ figure, our Lord, the Redeemer, in the center. The left panel depicts God the Father, Creator.
The right panel has the Holy Spirit and the fiery tongues of Pentecost. The creation panel shows the symbolic hand of God from which emanates the sun, moon and stars, and humankind with its co-creation, sputniks and space ships.
The sanctuary windows show the seven sacraments. From left to right are Baptism, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Matrimony, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick.
The windows in the west side of the body of the church depict the Annunciation, the Birth of Christ, Jesus in the Temple, the raising of Lazarus, the Feeding of the Multitude, the Last Supper, Gethsemane, the Crucifixion, and finally the Resurrection.
The opposite side has scenes from the Old Testament that have some similarity with the scenes of the New Testament. They are: Noah’s Ark, Abraham offering his son in sacrifice, Moses and the Ten Commandments, Elisha raising the dead son of the Shunamite woman, Moses and the manna from the sky, and water from the rock, Melchisedech offering bread and wine, the suffering Job and his love of God, Moses and the serpent, and Elijah raised to heaven in a flaming chariot. In 1976, two long-awaited statues were also added to the church — the Sacred Heart and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Our patron saint, St. Jude, has very little known about him. He was a cousin of our Lord, an apostle, one of the inspired writers of the New Testament, and a martyr for the faith. Perhaps, the most important history of St. Jude is the supernatural action of God that has taken place after his death through his intercession. He is recognized as the patron of difficult and hopeless causes.
We, the parishioners of St. Jude have been so blessed to have such a place to come and worship our God and Lord. “O Lord, how lovely is your dwelling place o’er all the earth.” For this and His many blessings, we humbly thank the Lord for bestowing His abundant grace on us.