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Monday, February 27, 2017

Our History


A small band of interested men and women from Allen, Fairview and Lucas came together in 1980 to consider the possibility of establishing a Catholic Mission in the city of Allen. After countless hours of legwork and paperwork, Bishop Thomas Tschoepe granted them permission to begin this journey.

The first public Mass of the newly formed St. Jude Catholic Community was offered at Rountree Elementary School on Sunday, July 5, 1981. It was originally established as a mission chapel of St. Michael’s in McKinney, then later reassigned to St. Mark’s in Plano. It was served on alternate Sundays by Rev. David Fellhauer (now, Bishop of Victoria) and Rev. Duffy Gardner (now, Monsignor, retired).

In 1981, St. Mark’s donated 10 acres of land in Allen. An architect was hired to design a temporary parish facility in 1983. Fr. Tom Cloherty was assigned as the first pastor of St. Jude on August 1, 1983. Daily Masses were offered above the feedstore in Downtown Allen until the completion of the first building project.  On November 3, 1984, we said our first Mass in our new church facility.

In 1989, we began construction on the Religious Education building. The religious education classes and Rainbow Days Preschool (founded in 1985), had been operating in the classrooms which now serve as offices. During this phase of construction, Fr. Tom was transferred to Holy Spirit in Duncanville; Fr. Bruce Bradley came to us from St. Elizabeth in Bonham. In 1998, an additional 10-acres of land adjacent to our property was purchased from the diocese. Fr. Bruce remained the pastor of St. Jude until 1999, when he was transferred to Mary Immaculate in Farmers Branch.

In 1999, Fr. Tim Church was assigned as priest-in-charge of St. Jude. We had already begun using the Activity Center as overflow for the larger Masses. Between 2000 - 2005, the population of Allen boomed, and we added 1,000 new families. Within 18 months of Fr. Tim’s arrival, the existing mortgages were retired, and a building committee was formed. We broke ground on our new sanctuary a year ahead of schedule on July 3, 2004.

Bishop Charles Grahmann dedicated the new permanent Church on November 12, 2005. Arial view of construction - 2005

In 2007, St. Jude purchased the adjacent 7.2 acres to the south to provide for future expansion of our campus.

In 2008, the first of two columbariums was added between the church and the chapel on the eastern transept.

In 2012, we expanded the transepts to add an additional 300+ seats, making the distance of each transept equal to the distance of the nave. This feature was designed into the original building to support the future growth of the parish. The increased seating required increase parking, so another 88 parking spaces were added off Greenville Avenue along with a circle drive. The pastoral center the parish staff now occupies was also added during this phase of construction.

Bishop Farrell petitioned the Vatican for Fr. Tim to be designated Pastor of St. Jude. This is an extraordinary exception to the Pastoral Provision for a married priest. In August 2012, Fr. Tim Church officially became the Pastor of St. Jude. 

On April 1, 2016, Fr. Tim Church became Pastor Emeritus and Fr. Andrew Semler was named pastor of St. Jude.