There are a lot of changes taking place at St. Jude Parish, not the least of which is the final stages of planning for a brand new church.
Father Joe Evanko, pastor of St. Jude, says the congregation is very close to their capital campaign goal of four million dollars, the amount of money the Diocese of Scranton requires they have on hand before moving forward with construction permits and final building specifications. Father Joe believes that, after six years, St. Jude will meet its financial goals later this summer and begin work on construction within the year.
“We have a very workable business plan that the finance council has put together that will allow us to pay a mortgage in the future,” says Father Joe. “As of now, it is taking shape and working. ”
A new building to house St. Jude Parish is not a new idea. The conversations started nearly 25 years ago, but it was decided to first complete and pay for renovations to the school building. Once that was accomplished, the conversation turned again to the church as the continued growth of the mountain, an aging building and the cost of construction and materials have made it more cost effective to build new rather than renovate and expand. Father Joe stressed, however, that there will be both new and old in the new building –The original painting that was on the sanctuary wall at St. Catherine’s has been restored and will connect the new church to the first church built on the mountain. The shrine to St. Jude will be rebuilt in the new church and the old building’s stained glass windows will also be part of the design, as will marble altars from St. Francis in Hazleton.
“Through the closures of other churches we have been able to acquire priceless items you could never have commission today,” explained Father Joe. “We are able to bring together the old and new and, using sacred furniture pieces of other churches, bring the tradition and history of the Catholic Church together with the