Fr. John Steger had hoped to become the Pastor of St. Theodore after years of service
as a Parochial Vicar in that parish, but God had other plans. Ven. Fulton J. Sheen, then Bishop of Rochester,
was about to establish a new parish within the town of Gates. The unnamed parish was created
on June 27, 1968, and Fr. Steger was named as the founding pastor. A community of future parishioners
assembled and approximately 450 people met to vote on 30 potential names for the new parish.
"St. Jude the Apostle church" was selected by these charter members after two weeks of voting. The first
Mass was celebrated on August 4, 1968 in the former Elmgrove Methodist church located on the Southwest
corner of Elmgrove and Spencerport roads. The building still stands today and houses various
The young parish soon purchased 40 acres of land from Unger farms on Lyell Road to be the site
of their new church. An old dairy barn on the property was chosen as the worship site, and it was
converted into a church building that proved servicable for 25 years. The first Mass in the converted
barn was offered on November 1, 1968. A statue of St. Jude donated from Holy Family church in the
city of Rochester found its home inside the church building. In July of 1969, the milk house
next to the church was torn down, and a 4,200 square foot parish hall and religious education facility
were constructed in its place. A month later, in August of 1969, the parish would be legally incorporated
and would owe a debt of $133,018.08 to Unger Farms. The parish held its first of many festivals and "turkey fest"
in September of 1969.
The large, hand-carved statue of St. Jude that for many years faced Lyell Road outside of the barn
church was installed in the early 1970s. On February 21st, 1970, the first Saturday Mass to fulfil one's
Sunday obligation was held at St. Jude. These Saturday evening Masses continue to this day. During the early
70s, St. Jude enjoyed the service of two transitional deacons. In 1972, Deacon Paul Ryan began a year of service
during his preperation for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1973 and offered his first Mass at St. Jude.
Deacon Robert Gaudio also served as a transitional deacon from 1972-73 before his ordination to the priesthood.
St. Jude's began construction of a parish center and rectory in 1973. That year also saw the beginning of the annual
October novena to St. Jude. In 1975, another discarded statue found its home at St. Jude. This statue of
St. Joseph with the child Jesus was donated by the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, and is now
located in the back left corner of the present day church. The nursery school program would
begin at St. Jude in September of 1976, and would for many years be housed in the former rectory building
adjacent to the barn church facing Lyell Rd. The tall grain silo was transformed into a bell tower in 1978.
Various parish organizations and opportunities for fellowship were established during the 70s and 80s, including
the senior club, legion of Mary, the annual R&R retreat weekend, men's club, and marian league. During this
time, St. Jude's parish undertook various charitable ministries, including a food cupboard for the needy in the
town of Gates. The Knights of Columbus council #10758 would be established in December of 1991.
The parish continued to grow into the late 1980s, at which time the number of registered families topped
950. Discussion began around this time regarding construction of a larger, permanent church as the parish
was outgrowing the original small barn church. Plans were drawn up, and there were several revisions including
the placement of the tabernacle to an off-center location at the request of the diocese. The new 850-seat church
was completed in June of 1993 at the time of the 25th anniversary of the founding of St. Jude parish. Bp. Matthew Clark
was the celebrant for the first Mass at the new church. Over time, a gymnasium, kitchen, and religious education
facilities were added on to the back of the church. Three stained glass windows which once resided above the high
altar at the former St. Patrick's Cathedral in Rochester, prior to that Cathedral's demolition after being purchased
by the Eastman Kodak Company in 1937, found their home above the main entrance in the new St. Jude church
building. These windows were given to Fr. Steger by Bp. Hickey back in 1968 after being held in storage
for several years at the Notre Dame Retreat House on Alexander Street.
The parish continued to see steady growth from the 90s on into the 2000s. At the end of 2005, the former
church and parish hall were finally torn down after remaining vacant for nearly five years. St. Nicholas Melkite church
had held liturgies for a few years in the former church up until 2000 while they awaited construction of their new church
building on Spencerport Road. Further change would come to St. Jude early in 2006, as Fr. Steger was placed on leave on
May 17th shortly before his 50th anniversary Mass. Fr. William Cosgrove, one of the assisting priests at the time,
was named interim administrator. On June 27, 2006, Fr. Michael Schramel was transferred from Peace of Christ parish
in Irondequoit/N.E. Rochester to serve as Parochial Administrator. Fr. Steger passed away in 2008, and Fr. Schramel was
officially named Pastor of St. Jude in June of that year. Various changes occured during this time, such as the reduction of weekend
Masses from 5 to 3 and the loss of many long-time parishioners. Further change came in June of 2010 when the parish
was clustered by Bp. Clark with nearby Holy Ghost and St. Helen's parishes. Fr. James Hewes, previously Pastor of St. Joseph
in Rush, was appointed to serve as Parochial Vicar under Fr. Schramel, who had been appointed Pastor of the new
Gates Catholic Community cluster. Weekend Masses would be reduced from 3 to 2 around this time, and the weekday Mass
schedule was cut down to Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
Various beautification projects have taken place during the pastorate of Fr. Schramel. Trees have been planted along the roadway
leading to the church parking lot. Some small statues have been installed outside, including one on the former church site
and a statue of the Holy Family near the rectory. An outdoor stations of the cross has been constructed alongside the pond next
to the rectory building, and a large nativity set near there as well.