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 dedicated 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 Bernadine sisters.
Our Religious Education 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, First Penance, and Confirmation.
In 1990, the parish convent was transformed into a retirement home for the Bernadine sisters. In 2016, after 60 years of dedicated service the Bernardine sisters returned to the Mother House in Reading, PA.
Pastors 1956 to Present
1956-1974 Reverend Monsignor Francis J. Laurila
1974-1990 Reverend Monsignor John J. Madigan
1990 Reverend Leroy J. Fangmeyer
1990-1995 Reverend Edward T. Hartel
1995-2006 Reverend Monsignor Oliver McGready
2006-2012 Reverend William J. Hines
2012-Present Reverend Paul D. Lee
School Principals 1956 to Present
1956-1960 Sister Gerald
1960-1963 Sister Dulcia
1963-1964 Sister Ardeen
1964-1967 Sister Nicolette
1967-1973 Sister Clarissima
1973-1974 Sister Paul Marie
1974-1990 Brother William Marinan
1990-1993 Charles Dusterhoff
1993-1996 Suzette Chagnon
1996-2011 Mary Ellen Jordan
2011-2021 Dr. Glenn J Benjamin
2021-Present Jeanne Donatelli