Since its inception in 1956, St. Jude’s Parish has been blessed with generous families devoted to their faith and dedicated to bolstering their parish community. As we have grown in size physically, we have grown closer in Spirit.This is a brief history of our journey together.
The family of Dr. Charles W. Allen presented $25,500 to the Archdiocese of Washington to purchase a ten-acre tract of land in the Aspen Hill area of Rockville for a church to be dedicated to St.Jude Thaddeus, patron of desperate causes.
In June of 1956, Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle announced the establishment of our parish, naming Rev. Francis J. Lauriola as Pastor, and Rev. David E. Foley, retired Bishop of the Birmingham dioceses, as Associate Pastor. Seven hundred sixty-one families formed the nucleus of the new parish. Masses were originally held in the Veirs Mill Theater, the present-day Rodman’s. The original structure, which had a large crucifix with a corpus on each side facing the Thaddeus Room and the Chapel (now the Blue Room) was truly a beacon on Veirs Mill Road with its concave, blue terra cotta backdrop to the imposing twelve-foot statue of St. Jude, subsequently moved to its present location in 2003.
The St. Jude Parish Pastoral Council and the Archdiocesan Building Committee approved plans in 1967 to build a 1200 seat church and to complete renovation of the rectory by 1970. Construction began in the spring of 1970, and on April 3, 1971, the church was dedicated by Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle. In 1976, the name of the parish was changed to “The Shrine of St. Jude.” The church building was further refined in 1978 with the installation of a shrine dedicate to our patron saint. The school began in September of 1956, when the first school bells were rung by Sister Gerald, the first principal. More than two hundred students in three grades (5 classes) were greeted by five pioneering Bernardine sisters.
Our Religious Education, Faith Formation Program, better known for many years as the CCD Program, has been an important part of parish education since the beginning. The program has prepared many thousands of students for First Communion and Confirmation. In 1990, the parish convent was transformed into a retirement home for the Bernardine sisters.
Elsewhere on this website you will find a listing the many Parish organizations. These organizations are made up of parishioners that have, and will continue to provide services to our young people and our seniors, to our parish, the local community and the whole Church. Over the years, our parish has been blessed with wonderful holy priests, especially our pastors who have worked untiringly to provide us with an environment in which we can grow closer to God and our neighbors. We sincerely extend our gratitude to Msgr. Frandis J. Lauriola; 1956-1974, Msgr. John J. Madigan, 1974-1990; Rev. Edward Hartel, 1990-1995,; Msgr. Oliver McGready, 1995-2005; Rev. J. William Hines, 2005-2012, Rev. Paul D. Lee, STD, 2012-Present.