St Jude Maronite Catholic Church of Murray Utah  
A Parish of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
Father Joubran BouMerhi

 

Patriarch Visit

  • Patriarch Visit

    OCT 20, 2017 1375 Spring Lane, Holladay, Salt Lake County, Utah 84117

    OCT 20

 

Upcoming Festival 2017 1

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1st Baptism, Michael Jack Kaleel - May 15, 1976

   1st Communion Class, Katherine Kaleel, Shelley Brown - April 18, 1982

  1st Marriage: Ray & Terri Ann Kaleel, September 16, 1978

  1st Funeral: Sadie Williams, June 30, 1977

Maronites in Utah
The Establishment of St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church



 
A handful of people, filled with a love for the faith of their forefathers; a Bishop, with a vision and the foresight to pursue it; one very determined Priest, obedient to his Bishop, and willing to sacrifice for the dream of the people... for the Glory of God.
  This was the recipe that, mixed with many graces from God, brought St. Jude Church from that dream to the reality that it is today.

  Bishop Francis M. Zayek, Shepherd of the Diocese of St. Maron, U.S.A - The Maronities in the United States - called Msgr. John Trad to his office in December of 1975, informing him of his desire to establish a Maronite Mission in salt Lake City, Just a month later, on January 26, 1976, Msgr. arrived in Salt Lake City, bringing with him only one vestment, a home-made copy of the Maronite Liturgy (Quorbono), A Chalice and a Ciborium.  The task ahead was difficult one, for there was no church, no formed congregation, not even a place to lay his head.

    Through many struggles, and the generous support of the Shepherd of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, Bishop Joseph Lennox Federal, Msgr. Trad was invited to stay with Rev. James Kenny at St. Ann's Church, This is where the first Maronite Masses (Divine Liturgies) were celebrated with his small Maronite congregation in the Utah valley.  This arrangement, so kind from the good Father Kenny, was not one that could cultivate growth within the Maronities.  Msgr. Trad recognized this, and expressed the need for the people to have their own Church.

  Again, Bishop Federal came to the aid of the Maronities.  He instructed Msgr. Trad to meet with Father Mark Benvegnu at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Murray.  This meeting was the  beginning of the arrangement that brought the St. Vincent Church building (erected, 1927) and rectory to its new 'life' as St. Jude Mission and Rectory.  St. Jude, the saint of desperate cases.

  Many times the dream of the Maronite Church in Utah seemed a desperate case.   And so, turning to Saint Jude, Msgr. made the promise that, if the good Saint would intercede for this cause, the new Maronite Parish would be dedicated to him.
  Almost unbelievably, but with the shrewdness of our determined founding Pastor, the generosity, guidance, support and encouragement from both Bishop Zayek, and Bishop Federal, and many Maronite and private donations, the money was raised, and the property was purchased from Father Benvegnu.  The Rectory first, then the Church Building, finally belonged to the Maronites.  A little more than 4 years later on April 12, 1980, St. Jude Mission became the New Parish of St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church.

  Msgr. Trad has been quoted as saying of Bishop Federal and Father Benvegnu, "I consider them great personal friends and friends of the entire Maronite community.  They could rightly be called the co-establishers of this Mission, for without their unlimited generosity, advice, and kindness, this Mission might never have been".
  We can say now, that without the determination of this holy Priest, Monsignor John Trad, and the faith and perseverance of the handful of Maronites who had a dream, St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church may never have been.

  Each year, by the grace of God, and the intervention many times of our patron, St. Jude, our small band has grown.  St. Jude Community has been blessed with six holy Priests, all of them bringing the beautiful spirituality of the Maronite Traditions into the hearts and souls of the people.

  Monsignor John Trad was reassigned, five years and one day later than his arrival, on January 25, 1981, to St. Teresa of the Little Flower, in Brockton, Massachusetts.  He had accomplished his mission in Utah, seeing the little Mission become a Parish only eight months earlier.  Msgr. touched many lives during his priesthood.  On November 11, 2002 Chorbishop John Trad passed away.

 Father Jonathon (William) Decker was the second priest assigned to St. Jude Church.  Under Father Decker's loving care properties to the side of the Church were purchased, and improvements to the Rectory and Church buildings were done.  The buildings were not the only part of St. Judes's to receive improvements, however. Father Decker's love for God and our Holy Mother, shone in everything he did.  In Father's humble way he imparted an even deeper spirituality into the hearts and souls of the community.  The social life of the parish also grew, and the community continued a tradition started by Msgr. Trad.  The very first Lebanese Festival, begun as a Spaghetti Dinner, flourished as the ladies of the community prepared mouthwatering Lebanese food for family and friends.  the good food and dancing at the Annual Lebanese Festival, or 'Huflee' was one that all looked forward to.  Father Decker is now Pastor of St. Sharbel Maronite Church in Portland, Oregon.  He still speaks fondly of the community and his years in Utah.

  Then came Father Anthony Spinosa.  Father Spinosa came to St Jude's in 1984, and contributed to our growth until 1987.  Father Anthony also looked after the physical improvements to our little Church and parking lots.  With his guidance, in 1985, a group of St. Jude parishioners brought our Lebanese food to the public, at the very first Living Traditions Festival held at This is The Place Monument in Salt Lake City.  The Anton Family Band added to the Lebanese presence by supplying Traditional Lebanese Music for the that Festival.  St. Jude church, and the Anton Family Band, have participated every year, in each Festival since then.  The beauty of Father Anthony's love for our dearest Mother Mary, and his devotion to our rich Maronite heritage, showed in every celebration of the Divine Liturgy and other Spiritual activates he celebrated.  Father Anthony is now Msgr. Anthony Spinosa, and he is the rector of the National Shrine of our Lady of Lebanon in Jackson, Ohio.  Msgr. will always be remembered for his expressive hats and cassocks, and he still speaks of St. Jude as his 'Camelot'.

  Father Gebran Bou-Merhi was the next to grace St. Jude with his leadership and presence for eighteen years.  He nourished us with the Bread of Life -- forgave our sins --- baptized and married us, and our children---and buried our loved ones.  This can be said of all our priests but, because of his tenure, Father touched almost all of the community members we now have.  He loves chanting, and brought the congregation to participate with out talented choir in the beautiful Maronite liturgical music.  Many a homily of his was enhanced by little local 'sayings' he had picked up.  Hospital ministry throughout the valley was something he loved, and if ever a parishioner was sick we could count on him being at our bedside, with the Sacraments.  Father Gebran carefully watched over the growth of St. Jude, and always said this community was his family.  Father Gebran is now Monsignor Jibran, and is serving as Rector at St. Raymond's Cathedral, in St. Louis, Missouri.  In November 2010, Monsignor Jibran is excited to be accepting a new assignment in Warren, Michigan, at St. Sharbel Maronite Church.  We pray for Monsignor Jibran, that he may be very happy in Michigan, we are confident that his new community will love him as much as we do!

  Monsignor William Boneczewski, a holy priest of 34 years, is our current Pastor!  Father Bill, as he humbly introduces himself, has captivated the hearts of our St. Jude's community.  In his short time here he has been busy organizing all areas of the Church and Rectory.  Under his watchful eye our Sanctuary, has had a beautiful renovation, with the addition of wood flooring in the High Altar area, and tile flooring with a monsaic design on the Bema area.  Father Bill loves the personal contact with all our people, and reaches out to those absent and in need.  The community, through his guidance, has opened our doors to weekly AA meetings, and among our organizations, we now have a St. Jude Dance Troupe, made up of Youth from our community, ranging in age from 7 to 17 years old, and a Men's Club, which serves the parish in many ways. With his blessings, St. Jude's is now hosting a bible Study Program each Saturday evening.  His love for the Eucharist, the Trinity, our Holy Mother and our Maronite Faith and Traditions, permeates the Church.  He has many plans for our little parish, and we pray for a long relationship with him as our Spiritual Father. 

  As you can see, each of out priests has blessed us in special ways, and our Church has grown in different ways under the guidance of each priest.  We are a small, but intimate congregation - united by our love of God, the Catholic Church, and our Maronite Faith and Traditions.  Perhaps our numbers have not grown in leaps and bounds, but our spirit reaches beyond the walls of the Church building.