St. Jude Parish History:
HISTORY OF ST. JUDE PARISH, 1985-2007
Beginnings and Pastoral Administrators
Local Catholic residents had spent almost forty years of fundraising, purchasing of property and petitioning the Bishop of Lansing and later the Bishop of Kalamazoo for a parish in Gobles. With the encouragement and help of Fr. Don Taylor, pastor of St. Mary’s in Paw Paw, they approached Bishop Paul V. Donovan, who announced on July 1, 1985 that St. Mary Mission in Gobles would become the parish of St. Jude without a resident pastor. Sr. Janice Mankowski, O.P., served as Pastoral minister for six years preceding this event. Sr. Patricia O’Toole, IHM, became Pastoral minister in 1985 and served for nine years until her retirement. In 1994 Sr. Theresa MacIntyre SSJ, was appointed as the parish Pastoral minister and served until June 26, 2001, and then returned to Nazareth to take a leadership position in her Order. Bishop James A. Murray appointed Deacon John Bodway to be the Pastoral Administrator effective June 27, 2001. The Bishop came to St. Jude on July 22, 2001 to install Deacon John as Pastoral Administrator.
Fr. Don Potts, Pastor of St. Mary, Paw Paw, and canonical pastor of St. Jude Parish, alternated with Fr. Milton Thomas, a Crozier priest from Kalamazoo, as sacramental ministers at St. Jude. Fr. Joseph Koma also served as canonical pastor. Monsignor Dell F. Stewart became the dedicated sacramental minister, serving from 1987-1997. At Monsignor’s death Fr. Michael Osborn became sacramental minister for five months, followed by Fr. Charles Crowley, who served as sacramental minister from August 1997-May-1999. Fr. Robert Flickinger, pastor of St. Mary’s in Paw Paw, served as canonical pastor from 1994-1999. Fr. Robert Creagan, pastor of St. Mary’s in Paw Paw, served as canonical pastor and sacramental minister from 1999-2009. Fr. Joseph Xavier, pastor of St. Mary’s in Paw Paw, is the present canonical pastor and sacramental minister.
Vision For The Future
One of the deepest desires of St. Jude Parishioners has always been, and still is, to have a church building. Efforts to raise funds and to achieve this goal continue. Convinced that “church is a community of believers”, and that every person has unique, personal gifts “given by the Spirit for the building up of the community”, opportunities are taken to encourage and to invite parishioners to be generous with time, talent and treasure. The parishioners are working together to establish a vibrant Catholic presence at St. Jude Parish in Gobles. There are 132 registered families with many more in attendance during the summer months. Recent excavations to the south and east of the property signal that more residents are moving into the area.
Renovations and Additions
In efforts over the years to provide an inspiring worship space, renovations have been made. The roof was redone, the parking lot resurfaced, shrubs, trees and flowers planted, a memorial cross erected, the south fields trimmed, the hall interior painted, new ceiling tiles and recessed lights installed, vertical blinds hung, two new furnaces installed as well as air conditioning for the office and chapel area. The old meeting room became the office, the storage room transformed into a meeting room with new cabinets. The office converted into a chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, carpeted and furnished through the efforts of the Women’s Guild, who through fundraisers of flea markets, harvest dinners, bake sales, etc. purchased vestments, altar cloths, linens, candle stands, a processional cross, flower pedestals, vestment cases, liturgical books and all ongoing sanctuary and worship needs. Lillian A. Wheeler is the present chair of the Women’s Guild succeeding Maudie Kalisiak.
More recent improvements are new front and back doors, which were blessed by Bishop Murray in February 2003, and the addition an Altar of Repose that was donated in July 2003. The tabernacle was replated and moved to the main church on July 20, 2003 and the Bishop gave permission for the Blessed Sacrament to be reserved in the church for all Masses and Liturgical celebrations. A Presiders chair was donated by Tim Schoonard, which he was given from the old Lila Hospital Chapel in Battle Creek. It was in need of refinishing and reupholstering which the Women’s Guild funded. A raised Sanctuary floor was added along with closing off of a window and installing a sheetrock back wall behind the Altar. On March 8, 2004 a reredos was added to the back wall. Tim Schoonard from Marywood Studios, Inc. delivered the New Altar, Ambo and Deacon’s chair on July 9, 2004, and Chris Moran from Moran’s Art Studio delivered the hand painted statue’s of St. Joseph, the Blessed Mother and the corpus of Jesus for the altar cross. The Stations of the Cross, donated by Alex and Sally Gray were modified and hand painted to match our church setting. They were placed in the church on July 9, 2004. The Most Rev. James A. Murray came to St. Jude’s to bless the new Altar and sanctuary on Sunday, July 11, 2004.
In the fall of 2004, the bathrooms were retiled, painted, and all new sinks, toilets and partitions were installed. At the same time the hallway entrance was painted and retiled. On July 19, 2005 the parish office was recarpeted. In mid August 2005 the church floor was retiled adding a cross in our center aisle. A baptismal font was delivered to the church on September 13, 2005. Fr. Robert Creagan blessed the baptismal font on October 2, 2005 and the new Cross on our roof on October 9, 2005. During the early summer of 2006, a drainage field was added on each side of the building with crushed stone to cover it. Also completed in the summer of 2006 was the painting of the exterior of the building and the interior of the church. Our first church window panel was framed in oak in May of 2007. The two center church beams were covered in oak to match the sanctuary on July 10-13, 2007 and completed on July 23, 2008.
This year new double pane windows were added to the outside of the building. Parishioners and summer visitors have been generous in donating monies for seven stained glass windows in the church. The windows will depict the seven sacraments. In June of 2007 the first pieces of Stained glass had been cut for our stained glass window on Baptism. The completed window was delivered on Tuesday August 28, 2007 and installed on Thursday August 30, 2007. Other projects to be completed this year are building a religious education cabinet and carpeting the meeting room floor. Oak will also be installed on the remaining six windows to be ready for the stained glass windows.
Matthew A. Berg, an astute accountant and guardian of parish finances for many years, resigned this position in 1992, Richard Beam, also an accountant, assumed this responsibility and continues to assist with budgeting, KDSA and annual and quarterly reports. For many years weekly Sunday bingo games had been the principal fundraiser and main source of parish savings. Sunday bingo was discontinued as of March 1, 1993. For several years the hall was rented for wedding receptions. In August 1998 that practice was discontinued due to the burn out of volunteers, wear and tear on the building and furnishings, and the minimal income, which resulted from this service. In July of 2002 St. Jude’s converted to the Diocesan chart of accounts required by the Diocese.
Councils & Staff
With the assistance of Sr. Mary Sullivan, O.P. from the Chancery, a parish council was begun. The parish Pastoral Council several years ago was restructured and guidelines updated from the original constitution and by-laws. Vicki Clark chairs the current Parish Council. The Finance Committee has become the Finance Council and is chaired by Rick Beam. We have continued to meet the budget as set by the Parish Finance Council and Parish Pastoral Council. Mary Wilkins is our parish Secretary/Bookkeeper for the parish.
Music is a vital part of the liturgy. Congregational participation has become stronger. “Breaking Bread” hymnals are purchased annually. The parish music program is under the direction of Laura Woods. A keyboard was obtained sometime in 2000 and the St. Jude Choir continues to grow.
Religious Education programs were begun with Fran Sage as our first DRE followed by Jane Bodway. Our new DRE who began July 2007 is Cindy Carroll. The sacrament of Confirmation is offered for the parish every two or three years. The RCIA program has recently joined with other parishes in the area. Baptismal and marriage preparations are offered as needed. The Pastoral Coordinator serves as a field advocate for annulment requests. Speakers have been brought in, small faith-sharing groups have met, and attendance at Diocesan offerings has been encouraged. Jim and Marlene Abbott, Laura Woods, Julia Brockway and Cindy Carroll are graduates of the Discipleship Formation Program. The “Dear Padre” Sunday bulletins and other inserts bring a weekly faith message to parishioners. A Men’s group and Women’s Bible Study were started in the parish a few years ago.
Outreach to those outside the parish has grown. In 1990 St. Jude Parish began to participate in the Common Catholic Ministry program started by Bishop Donovan to fund Hackett Catholic Central with other parishes in Kalamazoo. This association was discontinued in 2003 and scholarship and donations were made for Hackett Catholic Education. For several years pledges to KDSA have been met. To assist donors in budgeting for “second collections” throughout the year, a “Special Collection for Special Collections” is taken up four times annually. St. Jude’s contributes to and is a dispenser of funds for the Diocesan heating assistance program. St. Jude parishioners are vital in providing supplies, financial assistance and personnel to the local ecumenical food pantry, and also participate in all the activities of the Goble/Kendall Area Ministerial Association. The annual summer migrant ministry has continued to grow, serving five camps. All of this was possible due to the generosity of the parishioners. Visits to the homebound with Holy Communion are made on a weekly basis. Julia Brockway, Ed Carroll, Laverne Childers, Betty Drobny, and Joyce Klein assist with this ministry.
During this past fiscal year the office has installed a new computer and monitor. Through donations the parish was able to purchase an Advent wreath, and a rolling cart for our video equipment. St. Jude’s held the Annual Harvest Fall Dinner on the last Saturday of October. A Memorial Fund was established in August 2002 to procure items on our parish wish list. Parishioners have responded generously to the parish needs. The following items have been procured: 2 crosses for our front doors, carpeting at our outside front entrance, new white & green vestments, altar server albs and cinctures, 2 Holy Water fonts, 4 communion cups, an ambry and vessels for the Holy Oils, two candle holders, the large cross placed on our roof, monstrance, and stations of the cross modifications. These and other activities strengthen the sense of community.
The Mission Statement of the Parish Reads:
“We the faith community of St. Jude, the Catholic presence in the Gobles area, commit ourselves by our Baptism to be a community of love according to the teachings of Jesus Christ as taught by the Roman Catholic Church. We worship together in Eucharist and extend in friendship the compassion, concern, care and love of Jesus Christ to one another and to the larger, even global community. May our lives forever be songs of praise to our loving God.”