Amid the swaying palm trees: St. Jude Church in Tequesta, Florida

Timing is everything…

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Jude, patron in cases of despair and desperation. And I just had a wonderful and spontaneous visit yesterday to a South Florida church named for this very popular saint.

The Village of Tequesta:

My husband and I took a drive north on Monday morning from Singer Island, Palm Beach, Florida to register one of our cars at the Department of Motor Vehicles, located across the county line in Hobe Sound. As we approached Martin County, we passed through the areas of Juno Beach, Jupiter, and Tequesta.

The Village of Tequesta, the northernmost municipality in South Florida, is a tiny 2.2 square mile section of land and water in Palm Beach County. According to 2013 census updates, its population is listed at just over 5800.

Tequesta’s Catholics gather to worship at St. Jude Church, the most northern parish in the Diocese of Palm Beach, located at 204 U.S. Highway One. This beautiful church caught my attention as we drove by, its towering cross over the large church seen for quite a distance. Beckoning us in, and beautifully landscaped with palm trees and native flowers, my husband assured me that we would stop by on our way back from the DMV so I could check it out.

Catholicism in Tequesta:

Founded as the Jupiter Catholic Mission Church in 1957 when Tequesta was founded, the first Mass was celebrated in a local hall. Four and a half years later, the Village of Tequesta annexed fifteen acres for the building of the new Catholic church.

Built in less than seven months from the groundbreaking on May 27, 1962, the 500-seat church would be dedicated by Bishop Coleman Carroll, the Bishop of Miami, on December 16.

Bishop Carroll was appointed the first Bishop of Miami when the diocese was founded in 1958, becoming archbishop in 1968 when the diocese was elevated to archdiocese by Pope Paul VI, and serving until his death in 1977. The Diocese of Palm Beach was not established until 1984.

Adding a parish center in 1980, the parish underwent a huge renovation project in the early 1990s to enlarge the church to seat 1200 parishioners, and to add new parish offices and a rectory. Bishop Joseph Keith Symons, the second Bishop of Palm Beach (1990-1998), dedicated these new structures on the Eve of All Saints, 1993.

In August of 2003, the first inter-parochial elementary school, serving the families of St. Jude’s and five other northern Palm Beach parishes, was opened. All Saints Catholic School is located in nearby Jupiter and has students in pre-school through grade 8.


St. Jude Church:

Today the church, with its beautiful towering cross, stands as a sign of welcome to those travelling up and down the main route.

So too was Tom Lehman, the parish’s Facilities Manager, who greeted me while outside supervising a landscaping project, and showed me which door was unlocked for my self-guided tour.

The beautiful chapel is located at the front of the church. The chapel’s congregation can look into the huge church through glass partitions directly behind the altar. It’s a wonderful arrangement with the altars back to back, the main church’s tabernacle visible from the chapel (as seen in the photo above), and a sense of unity from all locations.

Entering the main church, you are drawn in to the beauty of the enormous stained glass windows over the main altar and surrounding the entire worship space.

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Mysteries of the Rosary and Stations of the Cross are illustrated in colorful splendor.

I love this beautiful entrance….

Such beauty!!

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In the rear of the main church are prie-dieux before small altars in honor of Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. Maximilian Kolbe, along with candles for special intentions near a Divine Mercy image of Our Lord. A papal blessing from Pope Benedict XVI is displayed nearby in honor of the parish’s fiftieth anniversary in 2007 on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

The parish is very supportive of its young families, with lots of ministries available to meet their needs and two large “Family Rooms” for use during Mass.

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More stained glass windows close up:


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Behind the church:

Located behind the church is a beautiful, landscaped plaza with benches in the shade providing a peaceful setting for prayer or socializing. Statues and areas for meditation are arranged in this park-like setting.

 

In memory of the pre-born:

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for a return to the  untrue of life in our world. Amen.

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“I will spend my Heaven doing good in earth.

My mission is to make God known and loved.

After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses.”

–St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower

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At the center of the parish plaza is an incredible statue of our Lord’s crucifixion with Blessed Mother and John the Apostle gazing up at Him. It is easy to imagine the Stations of the Cross ending in this courtyard-like area.

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Many blessings on this Feast of St. Jude to our new friends at St. Jude Church!!

God is good… All the time!!

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Did you know about the beautiful basilica in Key West?

Check it out…

Want to read about another beautiful Florida church?

Check out my article on Catholicism in the Florida Keys, with a special focus on the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Key West.

The oldest parish in South Florida, this congregation traces its roots back to the sixteenth century when Florida was a Spanish territory, and Key West, known then as Cayo Hueso (“Island of Bones”), was under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Havana, Cuba.

This tropical church was just raised to the status of minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

Check out 25 of the photos I took while vacationing last year in the Keys during Easter Week.

Read more here.


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Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.