© 2017 Saint Jude Catholic Church - 100 Aspen Drive - PO Box 248 - Tuba City, Arizona 86045 - (928) 283-5391 - Diocese of Gallup

St. Jude Catholic Parish

About Us

In 1924, the Diocese of Tucson received about an acre of land in Tuba City to be used only for Catholic Mission purposes. No priest was available to care for this remote western section of the Reservation until a group of Catholic people from Tuba City, both Indian and non-Indian in 1951 journeyed to St. Joseph’s Mission in Keams Canyon seeking the priest to offer them Mass at regular intervals. The present day St. Jude Church in Tuba City, Arizona was built in 1961. Offering witness to the Gospel through service to the larger Tuba City community pastored by Father Jay Jung, C.M.

The history of St. Jude Parish of the Gallup Diocese

begins much earlier than 1924...

...when an acre of land was received on the Navajo Reservation intended solely for use by Catholics.  Nearly 100 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the Spanish explorer and Franciscan friar, Marcos de Niza, arrived in the area of Zuni after a journey of more than two months from Mexico City.  At a point about 40 miles south of present day Gallup, New Mexico, this adventuresome padre on May 23, 1539, built a large mound of stone with a cross on top and dedicated the region to Saint Francis of Assisi. Scores of other Spanish explorers, friars, conquistadors and settlers would establish these new Mexican colonies throughout present-day Arizona and New Mexico and the early Franciscan mission activities had the support of the King of Spain.  Directly to the East of our church is a memorial to the Dominguz-Escalante Expedition conducted in 1776 to find an overland route from Santa Fe to the Spanish missions in California.  Two Franciscan priests traveled with a cartographer and eight men and though they were not successful reaching California, their expedition aided future travelers.  But over the years, the natives were subjected to harsh treatment at the hands of the Spanish colonists who placed heavy demands on them, suppressing native customs and culture, especially their native practices of religion, eventually turning to the natives for their slave labor in building up the Spanish rule.  Frequently, the missionaries were on the side of the Indians trying to get better treatment for them, but the resentment of the Indians and numerous revolts proved the only means of escaping this dehumanizing treatment, and the very word ‘Christian’ became synonymous with someone who came to kill and plunder, seize the women and sell them into slavery. After 300 years of Spanish rule, Mexico was able to win its independence from Spain in 1821 and in May, 1848, the Mexican era ended with New Mexico and Arizona becoming part of the United States.  By 1875, the Diocese of Santa Fe became an archdiocese and Bishop John Baptist Lamy its first archbishop. With the completion of the railroad lines crisscrossing the West in the late 1800’s, settlers began to arrive and the first Catholic church in Gallup was built in 1899.  Also in the late 1890’s, Mother Katherine Drexel, founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and canonized a Saint in  1988, became interested in building a school on the Navajo Reservation to provide a Catholic education for the native children.  She purchased land on the edge of the Reservation and began plans for a school.  She also sought the assistance of priests to serve the school and area Catholics, and again it was the Franciscan Fathers, this time from Cincinnati, Ohio, who responded to her call and founded St. Michael Mission in what is now St. Michael, Arizona.  Their work among the Navajo grew and the friars by 1921 had established four other missions on the Reservation at Fort Defiance, Chinle, Lukachukai and Tohatchi. In 1936, Pope Pius XII, then Cardinal Pacelli, visited the Southwest portion of the United States by air.  He saw the vast expanse to be served from Santa Fe and wondered how the scattered Indians in that area would be adequately evangelized.  Soon after, when he was named Pope, he directed the future of the missions on the Reservation to be planned by the Archbishop of Santa Fe and the Bishop of Tucson.    After much discussion and consultation, the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico was erected on July 20, 1940, with Father Bernard T. Espelage, O.F.M., named its first bishop.  The Diocese of Gallup, within the boundaries of two states, New Mexico and Arizona, covers the entire Navajo Reservation, an area of 55,468 square miles, roughly the size of West Virginia.  They are called Navajos, but they call themselves Dine’.  They are the largest American Indian nation in North America with the Dine’ Bike’yah, the Navajo country, the land they call home. As mentioned, in 1924, the Diocese of Tucson received about an acre of land in Tuba City to be used only for Catholic Mission purposes.  No priest was available to care for this remote western section of the Reservation until a group of Catholic people from Tuba City, both Indian and non- Indian in 1951 journeyed to St. Joseph’s Mission in Keams Canyon seeking the priest to offer them Mass at regular intervals.  In 1956, the first resident priest was assigned to Tuba City, Father Flann O’Neil, OFM, who lived in a small house trailer while formulating plans for the construction of a church and rectory.  After a trade of property with the owners of our present location, a church was constructed and dedicated in 1961 under the patronage of St. Jude Thaddeus the Apostle.  The rectory was completed in 1965 and a parish hall/gymnasium was built in 1971 by the Franciscan Brothers work crew. The Franciscan Friars continued their service to the parish as pastors until 1994 when the Vincentian Fathers, Congregation of the Mission, founded by St. Vincent de Paul, agreed to enter the diocese and serve in Tuba City, Page and Keams Canyon.  Father Godden Menard, C.M. pastored the parish community beginning in November of 1995 and our present pastor, Father Jay Jung, C.M., arrived in August of 2012.  The parish has also been blessed by the arrival of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul since 1996, serving as parish administrators, pastoral associates, religious education directors and organizers of the St. Jude Food Bank. -
We thank you for joining us at St. Jude’s and pray your travels are filled with wonder at God’s creation which surrounds us in this mystical land of the Dine’.
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© 2017 Saint Jude Catholic Church - 100 Aspen Drive - PO Box 248 - Tuba City, Arizona 86045 - (928) 283-5391 
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St. Jude Parish

About Us

In 1924, the Diocese of Tucson received about an acre of land in Tuba City to be used only for Catholic Mission purposes. No priest was available to care for this remote western section of the Reservation until a group of Catholic people from Tuba City, both Indian and non-Indian in 1951 journeyed to St. Joseph’s Mission in Keams Canyon seeking the priest to offer them Mass at regular intervals. The present day St. Jude Church in Tuba City, Arizona was built in 1961. Offering witness to the Gospel through service to the larger Tuba City community pastored by Father Jay Jung, C.M.

The history of St. Jude Parish of the

Gallup Diocese begins much earlier

than 1924...

...when an acre of land was received on the Navajo Reservation intended solely for use by Catholics.  Nearly 100 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the Spanish explorer and Franciscan friar, Marcos de Niza, arrived in the area of Zuni after a journey of more than two months from Mexico City.  At a point about 40 miles south of present day Gallup, New Mexico, this adventuresome padre on May 23, 1539, built a large mound of stone with a cross on top and dedicated the region to Saint Francis of Assisi. Scores of other Spanish explorers, friars, conquistadors and settlers would establish these new Mexican colonies throughout present-day Arizona and New Mexico and the early Franciscan mission activities had the support of the King of Spain.  Directly to the East of our church is a memorial to the Dominguz-Escalante Expedition conducted in 1776 to find an overland route from Santa Fe to the Spanish missions in California.  Two Franciscan priests traveled with a cartographer and eight men and though they were not successful reaching California, their expedition aided future travelers.  But over the years, the natives were subjected to harsh treatment at the hands of the Spanish colonists who placed heavy demands on them, suppressing native customs and culture, especially their native practices of religion, eventually turning to the natives for their slave labor in building up the Spanish rule.  Frequently, the missionaries were on the side of the Indians trying to get better treatment for them, but the resentment of the Indians and numerous revolts proved the only means of escaping this dehumanizing treatment, and the very word ‘Christian’ became synonymous with someone who came to kill and plunder, seize the women and sell them into slavery. After 300 years of Spanish rule, Mexico was able to win its independence from Spain in 1821 and in May, 1848, the Mexican era ended with New Mexico and Arizona becoming part of the United States.  By 1875, the Diocese of Santa Fe became an archdiocese and Bishop John Baptist Lamy its first archbishop. With the completion of the railroad lines crisscrossing the West in the late 1800’s, settlers began to arrive and the first Catholic church in Gallup was built in 1899.  Also in the late 1890’s, Mother Katherine Drexel, founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and canonized a Saint in  1988, became interested in building a school on the Navajo Reservation to provide a Catholic education for the native children.  She purchased land on the edge of the Reservation and began plans for a school.  She also sought the assistance of priests to serve the school and area Catholics, and again it was the Franciscan Fathers, this time from Cincinnati, Ohio, who responded to her call and founded St. Michael Mission in what is now St. Michael, Arizona.  Their work among the Navajo grew and the friars by 1921 had established four other missions on the Reservation at Fort Defiance, Chinle, Lukachukai and Tohatchi. In 1936, Pope Pius XII, then Cardinal Pacelli, visited the Southwest portion of the United States by air.  He saw the vast expanse to be served from Santa Fe and wondered how the scattered Indians in that area would be adequately evangelized.  Soon after, when he was named Pope, he directed the future of the missions on the Reservation to be planned by the Archbishop of Santa Fe and the Bishop of Tucson.    After much discussion and consultation, the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico was erected on July 20, 1940, with Father Bernard T. Espelage, O.F.M., named its first bishop.  The Diocese of Gallup, within the boundaries of two states, New Mexico and Arizona, covers the entire Navajo Reservation, an area of 55,468 square miles, roughly the size of West Virginia.  They are called Navajos, but they call themselves Dine’.  They are the largest American Indian nation in North America with the Dine’ Bike’yah, the Navajo country, the land they call home. As mentioned, in 1924, the Diocese of Tucson received about an acre of land in Tuba City to be used only for Catholic Mission purposes.  No priest was available to care for this remote western section of the Reservation until a group of Catholic people from Tuba City, both Indian and non- Indian in 1951 journeyed to St. Joseph’s Mission in Keams Canyon seeking the priest to offer them Mass at regular intervals.  In 1956, the first resident priest was assigned to Tuba City, Father Flann O’Neil, OFM, who lived in a small house trailer while formulating plans for the construction of a church and rectory.  After a trade of property with the owners of our present location, a church was constructed and dedicated in 1961 under the patronage of St. Jude Thaddeus the Apostle.  The rectory was completed in 1965 and a parish hall/gymnasium was built in 1971 by the Franciscan Brothers work crew. The Franciscan Friars continued their service to the parish as pastors until 1994 when the Vincentian Fathers, Congregation of the Mission, founded by St. Vincent de Paul, agreed to enter the diocese and serve in Tuba City, Page and Keams Canyon.  Father Godden Menard, C.M. pastored the parish community beginning in November of 1995 and our present pastor, Father Jay Jung, C.M., arrived in August of 2012.  The parish has also been blessed by the arrival of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul since 1996, serving as parish administrators, pastoral associates, religious education directors and organizers of the St. Jude Food Bank. -