Features of the Church


It is through the sacrament of Baptism that people come into the church and receive the Holy Spirit. For this reason, the baptistry is located at the entrance of the church. When we dip our hand into the water and make the sign of the cross, we are reminded of our own Baptism. The newly designed baptistery area uses the original green marble baptismal font, and incorporates a pool of water for Baptism by immersion. Marble from the former communion rail was used for the pool walls. The area around the baptistery is used for a gathering space before and after Mass. This is also used for the Introductory Rite for a funeral Mass where the body lies in state.

Altar and Ambo

The focal point of the church is the altar and the ambo. It is here where we, as God’s people, assemble for worship. The altar is where Jesus becomes present, is offered in sacrifice and nourishes us with His Body and Blood. The ambo is the place where God’s word is proclaimed to nourish and strengthen our hearts and minds. Our altar is the same dimension on all four sides, reminding us that we are all equal before the Lord. The legs were carved to match the legs of the former altar. The ambo was designed to complement the altar and is made from the same marble. Much of the altar platform is made from existing material.

Iconostasis Wall

The curved wall behind the altar and ambo is designed similar to the iconostasis walls found in Greek and Eastern Rite churches. In those churches the walls are typically made from wood and contain icons. We have constructed our wall from limestone, a material used in the original construction of our church, and we have used stained glass images instead of icons. The bronze columns from the baldachin have been incorporated into the wall. The wall separated the main area of the church from the Daily Chapel, which is located behind it.

The art glass panels contain images of saints and other people who have lived a Christ-like life, serving God and His people. Representing different races, nationalities and faiths, they serve as examples of Christian living. They surround the altar with us in spirit, completing the circle of God’s people gathered at the Table of the Lord.

The images were grouped by themes that flow from our parish mission statement:

“We the people of St. Jude Parish celebrate the presence of Christ in every aspect of our daily lives. We are dedicated to the Word of God and find strength and joy in celebrating Eucharist. As parishioners we commit ourselves to share our time and talent and our treasures for the good of our parish family. We are a diverse community and we celebrate our diversity. We pledge ourselves to promote social justice in our cities and neighborhoods. We welcome all people to join us.”

There are seven panels, each containing two images and representing a specific theme. The panels are listed as viewed from left to right.


St. Maria Goretti (d. 1902)
St. Maria Goretti was born in Italy and is the patroness of youth and purity. At a very early age she developed a great love for Jesus and decided to dedicate her life to Him. When she was 12 years old, she was accosted by an eighteen-year old neighbor. When she said she would rather die than submit, he began stabbing her. She forgave her attacker before she died. While he was in prison, Maria appeared to him in a dream, once again expressing her forgiveness and concern for his soul. He repented and began living a reformed life, eventually entering a monastery. St. Maria Goretti is called a martyr because she fought for her purity. However, the most important aspect of her story is her forgiveness and concern for her enemy extending beyond death.

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (d. 1680)
Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the state of New York and was the daughter of a Mohawk warrior. She converted to Christianity as a teenager and was baptized at the age of twenty, incurring great hostility from her tribe. She was forced to leave her tribe, going to a new Christian colony of Indians in Canada. Although she had to suffer greatly for her Faith, she remained firm in it. She lived a life dedicated to prayer, penitential practices and care for the sick and the aged. She was devoted to the Eucharist and to Jesus Crucified. Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be declared Blessed. She is the patroness of the environment and ecology. She is known as the “Lily of the Mohawks.”


St. Peregrine (d. 1345)
St. Peregrine was born to a wealthy family in Forli. Italy. As a youth, he was in open defiance of the Church. Following an encounter with St. Philip Benizi, he converted to Catholicism and entered the Servite Order. He had a reputation for fervent preaching and being a good confessor, bringing many back to the Catholic Faith. When he was afflicted with cancer, he turned to God in prayer. The next morning he was completely cured. This miracle caused his reputation to become widespread. St. Peregrine is the patron of cancer patients.

St. Lorenzo Ruiz (d. 1637)
St. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first Filipino saint and is the first Filipino martyred for the Christian Faith. He was married, had three children, and was an accomplished and well-educated person. He served as an altar boy and clerk-sacristan in the church of Binondo. He left the Philippines when he was in his early thirties. Upon his arrival in Japan where Christians were being persecuted, he was arrested and tortured. He never renounced his Faith and encouraged others to trust in the healing power of the Lord. He and fifteen companions were martyred in the same persecution.


Dorothy Day (d. 1980)
Dorothy Day was a modern-day woman who strove for justice and served the poor. She was raised in a Protestant family, but rejected organized religion in college because she didn’t see “religious people” helping the poor. As a young journalist in New York, she began to make visits to a Catholic church. Although she knew little about Catholic beliefs, she saw the Catholic church as the “church of immigrants, the church of the poor.” Dorothy Day converted to Catholicism in 1928. She continued her work for social justice and peace, and started a newspaper called The Catholic Worker to publicize Catholic social teaching and the peaceful transformation of society. She founded the Catholic Worker Movement which established houses of hospitality for the poor.

Mahatma Gandhi (d. 1948)
Mahatma Gandhi was a political and spiritual leader in India. After practicing law in South Africa, he returned to India in 1915 to begin working for its independence from Great Britain. He gave up Western ways to lead a life of abstinence and spirituality, and was influenced by the Beatitudes found in the Gospel of Matthew. He believed in the unity of all people under one God, and preached Christian and Muslim ethics along with the Hindu. Gandhi promoted non-violence, peace and religious tolerance.


Fr. Gabriel Richard (d.1832)
Fr. Gabriel Richard was a French missionary sent to Detroit in 1798 to be the pastor of St. Anne’s Church. He played a vital role in the building of Detroit, giving the city its first library, publishing its first newspaper and co-founding what is now the University of Michigan. Fr. Richard was elected to represent the Territory of Michigan in the U.S. Congress in 1823. His influence helped get the money to build a road to Detroit to Chicago, known today as Michigan Avenue. He also ministered spiritually to the Shawnee Indians, allies of the British during the War of 1812. Gabriel Richard is generally thought of as the founder of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Pope John XXIII (d. 1963)
Pope John XXIII (Angelo Roncalli) was born into a large farming family near Bergamo in Northern Italy. He was ordained a priest in Rome in 1904. As a young priest, he was a professor of Church History and Apologetics at the Bergamo seminary. He was a skilled diplomat, and worked to promote the cause of peace and charity. While serving as the Apostolic Delegate to Greece and Turkey, he had many contacts with members of the separated Eastern Churches. These contacts deepened his desire to heal the breach between so many Eastern Catholics and the Holy See. As a Bishop and Cardinal, he always made himself accessible to the people. He was elected Pope on October 28, 1958. the feast of St. Jude. He is probably best remembered for convening the Second Vatican Council in 1962. He saw the need for reform and renewal within the Church in the areas of ecumenism, justice, and peace, charity and the role of the laity. Pope John XXIII became known as “Good Pope John” because of his humble, generous and reconciling spirit.


St. Andrew Kim (d. 1839)
St. Andrew Kim and his companions were lay leaders of a strong and vital Christian community in Korea during the early 1830’s. After the arrival of missionaries from the Paris Foreign Mission Society, he became the first Korean priest and pastor. During the persecutions of 1839, 1866, and 1867, St. Andrew Kim and over one hundred other Christians gave their lives for the Faith.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (d. 1968)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an eloquent African-American Baptist Minister and leader of the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950’s until his assassination in 1968. He promoted non-violent means to achieve civil rights reform and earned the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. While in the seminary, Dr. King became acquainted with Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent social protest. During a meeting with Gandhi’s followers, he became more convinced that nonviolence was the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom. In 1963, Dr. King delivered his famous “I have a Dream” Speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington , D.C., putting civil rights on the national agenda. In that speech, he called upon his followers to conduct their struggle in a dignified and disciplined manner, and not to be overcome with bitterness and hatred. He shared his dream of justice and equality for all of God’s people.


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (d. 1821)
Although she came from a high society background, Elizabeth Ann Seton’s early life was quiet, simple and often lonely. She found instruction, support and comfort in the Scriptures. After her husband’s death, Elizabeth Ann Seton began to accept and embrace God’s will. She entered the Catholic Church in 1805. Returning to Baltimore, Maryland, she established the first free Catholic School in America with the help of two other young women. Together they formed a community of Sisters, modeling their Rule after the Daughters of Charity. Provisions were made for Mother Seton to continue to raise her children. They established two orphanages and another school. Sr. Elizabeth Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) (d. 1942)
Edith Stein was born in Breslau, Poland, and was the youngest child of a large Jewish family. She was a brilliant young girl and loved to read. She encountered anti-Semitism at an early age, and at the age of 14, deliberately stopped praying. She entered college with the intent of studying psychology, but was not happy, calling it a “soulless science”. She switched to philosophy and was particularly interested in phenomenological studies. She became interested in the Catholic Faith, and after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, decided to convert. She was baptized in Cologne, Germany in 1922. Between 1922 and 1933, Edith Stein entered the Carmellite Order and took the name of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. When it was no longer safe for the nuns to be in Germany, they were sent to Echt, Holland. When the Nazis conquered Holland, St. Teresa and hundreds of other baptized Catholics were arrested in retaliation to the Catholic protest against the persecution of the Jews. She was an influential spiritual writer and died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942. Pope John Paul III canonized her in October, 1998.


Fr. Solanus Casey (d. 1957)
Solanus Casey came to Detroit to become a Capuchin friar and was ordained in 1903. Because he had troubles academically his teachers recommended that his priestly office be severely restricted. He could say Mass, but was not permitted to preach on dogma. He was not allowed to hear confessions except under emergency circumstances. He spent some time in New York, in Yonkers and in Harlem, where he promoted a prayer group, the Seraphic Mass Association. It was there that people first began to experience remarkable recoveries and solutions to their problems after talking with Fr. Solanus. He returned to Detroit in 1924 and served as porter at St. Bonaventure Monastery for 21 years. During that time, he recorded more than 6,000 requests for help from petitioners. Some 700 of these reported cures from physical maladies, conversions of fallen-away churchgoers and favorable resolutions of domestic and business problems. During the Great Depression, Fr. Solanus worked in the monastery’s soup kitchen. He was a man of great humility, compassion and rare holiness, a mystic. Solanus Casey was declared “Venerable” by Pope John Paul II.

Mother Teresa (d. 1997)
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Bojaxhiu to a well-off and very pious family in Skopje, Albania. As a girl, she wrote poetry, played musical instruments and sang beautifully. In her parish, she joined the Marian confraternity organized by the Jesuits and became fascinated with the stories of the Jesuits in India. She sensed her vocation in high school and at the age of 18 decided to become a missionary in India. She took her vows with the Congregation of the Sisters of Loretto in India in 1931. Inspired by St. Therese of Lisieux, she took the name Teresa. In India, Mother Teresa began a brilliant career as a teacher, a principal of a Bengali high school and the mother superior of a diocesan order of Indian nuns. In September, 1946, she experienced he “second vocation.” She felt she must leave the convent and live among the poor. She left the Sisters of Loretto in 1948 to do just that. Realizing that most of Calcutta’s poor were also diseased, Mother Teresa took a nursing course. She moved to Calcutta’s most miserable ghetto and began to minister to the people there, seeing Jesus in everyone she met. In 1950, she founded a new religious order, the Missionaries of Charity. With the help of her Sisters, she established a home where the dying could receive assistance in their last hours, with the comfort of a human presence, a tender smile and assurances of their divine Father’s welcome. Mother Teresa loved God, loved the poor and stressed action over words.


This room is the former baptistery. Much of the wood and carvings are from the organ casing which used to hang on the north wall of the church. The canopy suspended from the ceiling was part of the baldachin. Our new chapel allows for the Sacrament of Reconciliation to be experienced either from behind the screen or face-to-face with the priest.


The large crucifix is now in its own shrine located at the entrance of the Reconciliation Chapel. It serves as a reminder to us that Jesus died for our sins. The crucifix had been mounted at floor level to allow it to be touched.


The stations have been refurbished, lowered and lighted for easier view.


This chapel is for private prayer and devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, and St. Joseph. The statues have been refurbished and placed at floor level so they can be easily seen and touched. Vigil lights help develop the fervor of faith. The chapel has different light settings to enhance prayer and meditation. The chapel ceiling was repainted with a deeper shade of blue and textured. Stencils were made of the pre-existing gold stars so they could be repainted in their original pattern.


The original church bells have been repaired and updated. They ring at 12 Noon and 6:00 pm daily, before Sunday Masses and for weddings and funerals. The three bells are inscribed in Latin and dedicated to the Holy Family. The large bell at the bottom is dedicated to St. Joseph, protector and guardian of Jesus and Mary. The middle bell is dedicated to Mary, Queen of Heaven and Mother of Jesus. The third bell at the top is dedicated to Jesus with the inscription, “May the name of Jesus be heard throughout the land.”