Rochester Churches Monroe County
St. Jude the Apostle


Location: Monroe County, Gates
Address: 4100 Lyell Rd. Map
Parish formed: June 27, 1968
Present church built: June 1993
Present affiliation: Remaining site of the former Holy Family parish
Web site:


  • Fr. John J. Steger, June 27, 1968-May 17, 2006 [upon leave]
  • Fr. Michael A. Schramel, June 27, 2006-present


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 retail establishments.

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.

Exterior Photographs

Outdoor Stations of the Cross
Interior Photographs

Stations of the Cross

Stained Glass
Historical Photographs


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