Fr. John Ording received his official canonical appointment to establish St. Jude Parish on July 8, 1941. This site for the parish had originally been situated at the corner of Kelly and Roscommon in Harper Woods, which was later exchanged for the present site on Seven Mile Road. The first official Sunday Mass, under the patronage of St. Jude the Apostle, was held at Denby High School on July 13, 1941 with 500 people in attendance. Groundbreaking for a combination four room school and church was held on November 27, 1941 with the cornerstone embedded on January 25, 1942. Denby’s auditorium was utilized until June 14, 1942, when the first of St. Jude’s buildings was opened and officially established for use.
On September 14, 1942, the school opened its doors to 160 children enrolled in grades 1-8. The Sisters of the Order of St. Dominic (Dominicans) of Adrian, Michigan, were engaged to teach the students and continued through much of the school’s history.
St. Jude novenas began on September 2, 1942. Catechism classes for students in public schools began on September 27, 1942. Construction of four additional classrooms began in July, 1943, after having graduated the first class in June of that year.
The first parish census was conducted during 1943. Four additional classroms were readied for January, 1944, thus increasing enrollment to 565 children.
The first associate pastor was assigned in 1944 and the Dominicans moved into two duplex houses at 15808 Seven Mile Road. The priests moved into the rectory at 15711 Seven Mile Road. Construction during 1945 included ground breaking for the auditorium which would serve as the church for about twelve years.
The fifth anniversary of the parish was celebrated in June, 1946, and the auditorium was ready for use by August, thus increasing the school space by four classrooms. Two lots were purchased on Seven Mile Road, opposite the present church, for parking during 1947. His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Mooney, Archbishop of Detroit, blessed the auditorium (church) on June 1, 1947.
Building continued during 1948 and 1949, adding six new classrooms and a convent to our campus. Open house was held on December 30, 1949 for the Dominican Sisters in their new residence. In 1949, St. Jude Parish was made up of approximately 2,000 families with a school enrollment of 800 students.
In 1950 the parish purchased the block bounded by Seven Mile Road, Crusade, Maddelein and Brock for a playground. St. Jude Credit Union was granted a charter and began business in the school one evening a week. All available classroom space had been utilized, thus necessitating the addition of one more classroom in 1951.
A goal of $250,000 was set in 1952 to finance a permanent church and rectory. In 1952, a chapter of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was organized. In 1953, four classrooms were added to the school. The goal of $250,000 was surpassed and an additional $5,500 was raised in the “Soap Drive.”
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new church were held on October 17, 1954. The construction of the church and rectory progressed throughout 1955 and 1956.
On Easter Sunday, 1956, the lower church was used for the first time. The priests moved into the new rectory in July of the same year. On September 23, 1956, three bronze church bells were blessed along with the cornerstone of the new church. St. Jude Credit Union moved into a permanent location on Seven Mile Road that year.
On May 12, 1957, the upper church was used for the first time for first Communion celebrations. In 1959 the new altar, sanctuary flooring and communion rail were installed. St. Jude continued to thrive and grow larger each year.
The Twentieth Anniversary celebrations were held in 1961 with a blessing of the permanent church and a dinner at Cobo Hall, along with a symbolic mortage burning. The parish had over 3,000 families at that time, with 1569 children attending the school, which had grown to 28 classrooms. In 1962 the Rapport Club was established.
In 1964, the revisions and restorations of the Second Vatican Council began to unfold.
The Silver Anniversary of the parish was commemorated with an outdoor Mass on July 8, 1966, and a dinner-dance. In 1968 the altar was moved forward enabling the priest to face the people. Saturday evening vigil Masses were instituted in 1969. The parish became part of the newly formed Gratiot Vicariate and the Pastoral Council and Commissions were established.
The New Year of 1970 brought many changes to St. Jude Parish. Fr. Ording, founding pastor, retired and was given a tribute by the House of Representatives. Fr. Villerot became pastor on February 18, 1970.
Further Vatican II directives were implemented beginning in 1970 with the introduction of the sign of peace. In 1972, women began to serve as lectors. Face-to-face confessions began in 1974. His Eminence, John Cardinal Dearden, Archbishop of Detroit, visited the parish and delivered his “Reflections on the Roman Synod,” in 1972.
An annual spaghetti dinner began in 1972. The Teen Club was established in 1973. Annual parish festivals began.
In March, 1975, Fr. Ording entered eternal life after having celebrated 50 years of ministerial priesthood.
The people of St. Jude sponsored a Vietnamese family through the Christian Service Commission. The folk choir was formed in 1975. Coffee and doughnuts were served after Sunday Masses.
During 1976, the Meals on Wheels program was established. Confessionals were renovated for face-to-face confessions and the practice of receiving Communion on hand the hand began in 1977. Fr. William Dowell was installed as Pastor in July, 1979.
The Fortieth Anniversary of the parish was celebrated with ethnic dinners, a parish picnic, a dinner-dance, and a Mass of Thanksgiving in 1981. In 1982, the parish converted the convent into the Fr. John Ording Parish Center. The parish offices were moved to the Parish Center, which facilitated appointments, meetings and group activities. In 1984, the funeral luncheon program was begun.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) began at the parish in 1985 and a new organ was installed in the choir loft. Fr. Raymond Sayers was installed as Pastor in July, 1986. An annual Appreciate Party started in 1987 for all parish volunteers. Adult education classes under the auspices of the Detroit Board of Education began in 1987 and a bereavement support group began that year as well.
Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Midwest United States welcomed Pope John Paul II to Detroit September 18-19, 1987.
During 1988, a parish self-study was initiated, a parish census was taken, Little Rock Scripture Studies began and seminarian ministerial opportunities were offered. 1989 brought the formation of a liturgical study committee, the re-establishment of the Education Commission, and a visit from then-Archbishop Edmund Cardinal Szoka.
During the 1980s the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Christian Service Commission expanded services to the surrounding area. The Liturgy of the Word for Children at Sunday Mass was initiated. A blood pressure clinic was established and Holy Thursday pot luck dinners came into being. The lower church was converted into a parish social hall. Pax Christi held its meetings in the parish center and the ushers’ pancake breakfasts grew in popularity.
A mission statement was adopted by the Pastoral Council in May of 1990, professing its Christian values and articulating a vision of the parish-at-large. An Evangelization Committee was established, an emergency food depot was created, Sunday ministers of hospitality began their work. Plans began for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the parish, including a pancake breakfast, ethnic dinners, choir concerts, a talent show, an open house and homecoming, a festival, picnic, a pot luck dinner, a dinner-dance and Masses of Thanksgiving.
St. Jude Parish, upon arriving at its Fiftieth Anniversary in 1991, was comprised of a community of 2,164 registered units and approximately 5,200 people.
2000 and Beyond
Join this community of friends and disciples of Jesus Christ as we write our future together.
St. Jude Parish will be celebrating our 70th Anniversary this year, and look foward to celebrating with you!
Most text taken from the St. Jude Parish Golden Jubilee booklet.
St. Jude Alumni Memories
Class of 1970: I graduated from St. Jude in 1970, and was married to my wife, Lynn at St. Jude on April 7, 1979. Many great memories. My favorite teacher was Carl Dull. Al Steiger – firstname.lastname@example.org
Class of 1971: I was baptised at St. Jude by Fr. Ording in October 1957 and graduated in 1971. I became a Bronze Palm Eagle Scout in 1971 when I was a member of Troop 420. I have many fond memories of St. Jude growing up and am proud of the church celebrating their 70th anniversary. I graduated from Denby in 1975 and WSU in 1979. I have been living in Old Hickory, TN which is a suburb of Nashville since 1982, was married in 1983 to Kim and have two sons. My oldest son Steve graduated from the Naval Academy in 2009 and is an Ensign in the Navy preparing to be on the sub USS Chicago leaving for Guam this year. My youngest son Danny is a senior at TN Tech Univ in Cookeville, TN majoring in Marketing. Presently, I am in Diaconate Formation for the Diocese of Nashville hoping to be ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Catholic church in 2014.
My sister Linda, who was in the class of 69 and was in Campfire Girls, lives in Roseville. Her name now is Linda Heath and is on facebook.
Steve Molnar – email@example.com
Derek Roek, class of 1951 has been talking to some fellow classmates and they would like to celebrate their 60th graduation anniversary in conjunction with our Parish 70th Anniversary. If you are from the class of 1951, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to check the Facebook Page for additional contacts, pictures and videos of St. Jude school and church!
Alumni Pictures and Memories – Link to all Graduation Pictures
A big Thank You to Mike Sporka for digitizing those class pictures which remained after the school closed. His love of St. Jude and his donation of his time and talents is greatly appreciated by all St. Jude School Alumni!
Pictures from the graduating class of 1970.
Sister Ellen Richard was our teacher in room 4-100 (The breezeway between the buildings) She is standing in the courtyard between the school and gym.
Mr. McAdams was our 6th grade teacher when we had 2 classrooms in the upper gym. Sister Paul Therese was our other teacher in the upper gym classrooms. The view was great, as we looked out over 7 mile road and the “blacktop”
– Mary Moroz – class of 1970
Shout out from Facebook:
Class of 1951, Derek Roek: email@example.com
Class of 1962, Ellen Stanton, Linda Ventura-Oshanick
Class of 1969, Sheila McGovern-Skwarczewski, Linda Molnar-Heath
Class of 1970, Mary & Betty Moroz, Jeanne Cole-Markowski, Jeff Ortiz, Mary Lou Carey-Kolb, Sue Kulka-Bates, Mark Kapcia, Jim Denys, Paul Louis, Colleen Coughlin, Al Steiger, Sharon Krupa-Senter, Carla Hasten-Moore, Carol VandeVort-Goodman, Judy Likavec-Davis, Marcia Gruca-Moncrieff, Mary Ann Weir Boyd, Scott Bondy, Steven Badowski,
Class of 1971, Steve Molnar: Stephen.Molnar@comcast.net
Class of 1972, David Moroz, Patrick Sporka, Tom Somyak, Judy Pecar Crockett: Crockettjudy@gmail.com
Class of 1974, Ken Lemanski, Paula Turkiewicz
Class of 1978, Dave Elya
Class of 1980, Susan Ochenski-Uhl, e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Class of 1981, Chris Meller
Class of 1989, Christine Monley
Joann Mary Blake is looking for classmates Maureen Walsh and Mary Ann McShane. Joann went to St. Jude’s school from 5th – 8th grades and played on the baseball team. If Maureen or Mary Ann are out there, please complete and send the Contact Form to receive Joann’s e-mail address.