New St. Jude Church Dedicated on April 26

“Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!”   It is a new house of the Lord for parishioners of St. Jude Catholic Church in north Bossier Parish. The breathtaking and awe-inspiring design of the church provides an inspirational atmosphere for worship. While St. Jude has been holding Mass in their new church for several weeks, the Solemn Mass of Dedication was held April 26, the two year anniversary of the building project’s ground breaking ceremony.

The dedication began with a procession of Bishop Michael Duca, dozens of priests and deacons from throughout the diocese and the Knights of Columbus. Retired Bishop of the Shreveport Diocese, William Friend, who originally set the vision for this building project, was also present. The procession began at the facility’s Miciotto Family Life Center and moved to the front doors of the new church where the project’s architect, Mark Prevot, General Building Contractor, Hank Boggs, as well as members of the Pastoral and Finance Councils and other key representatives of the project handed the church key over to Bishop Duca. The Bishop then gave the keys to St. Jude Pastor Fr. Pike Thomas. The church was filled with parishioners and guests who experienced a beautiful ceremony and a once-in-a- lifetime event for many Catholics.

One rare experience came after the Litany of Saints when a relic of St. John Neumann was placed under the altar. St. Neumann was the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia; the first American Bishop and the only male citizen of the United States to be canonized. Artisan Justine Sheppard laid under the altar and, after drilling a small hole in the stone, placed the relic inside. The Mass also included a blessing and sprinkling of the congregation with holy qater.  Then Bishop Duca and Fr. Pike used Sacred Chrism to anoint the altar and walls of the church.

Many members of the St. Jude community expressed how touched they were to be able witness the Rite of Dedication and participate in the Mass.

Dr. John and Rose Miciotto, who donated the land for the building project, presented the gifts during Mass. During his homily Bishop Duca praised St. Jude parishioners for their hard work and sacrifice to make this dedication of the new church possible. Bishop Duca said he was proud of their accomplishment and looks forward to many future years of successful ministry by St. Jude to the faithful of north Bossier Parish.

“The people of St. Jude joined with Fr. Pike in truly working together and sacrificing to make this new sanctuary for St. Jude possible and I salute their dedication to their dream of a new worship home,” said Bishop Duca.

It was an emotional day for St. Jude parishioners, many of them shed tears of joy during the ceremony especially when Fr. Pike spoke at the end of the dedication and Mass thanking and acknowledging his church community for all their blood, sweat and tears to make this day happen.

Fr. Pike said, “I was always convinced this new worship resource for Catholics in Northwest Louisiana would be a beautiful and sacred structure, but the completion of the project has revealed a complex even more holy than I would have hoped.”

Some of the eye catching features of the new church include the Resurrection stained glass windows, the Texas Limestone Baptismal Font at the front of the church entry and the bronze Tabernacle sculpture of Jesus coming out of his tomb and surrounded by six saints intimately associated to the Christian faith including St. Jude. There are also nine-foot statues of Jesus Prince of Peace and a partnering sculpture of Mary our Mother, both uniquely placed high above the pews on each side of the church as though they are watching over and protecting the congregation.

“The monumental bronze sculptures of Mary Our Mother and Jesus Prince of Peace are perhaps my own favorite treasures in the complex,” said Fr. Pike. The sculptures are by Shelley Kolman Smith of Dallas, TX.

St. Jude invited members of the community and of all denominations to visit their new site during two open houses on Saturdays May 17 and 24.  They were a great way to reintroduce St. Jude to the community and share the spiritual beauty of their new home church.

by Stephanie Boswell

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