The Chinese presence in the Philippines goes back many centuries. With the coming of the Spaniards, the evangelization and pastoral care of the Chinese in Manila came under the Dominicans. Eventually, the Chinese Parish was attached to the Binondo Parish. This arrangement lasted until 1954. In that year, Archbishop Rufino J. Santos obtained from the Roman Consistorial Congregation to the faculty to erect three more parishes for the Chinese. One of these was St. Jude Parish.
On October 13, 1954, Father Provincial Hermann Kondring, SVD appointed Fr. Henry Windges, SVD as the first parish priest of the Espiritu Santo Chinese Parish, as the parish was known initially. Fr. Windges was installed by Manila Archbishop Rufino J. Santos on November 14, 1954. Fr. Peter Tsao, SVD was subsequently appointed assistant parish priest on December 7, 1954.
In January 1955, the parish set up its first rectory by renting part of the premises of a former hospital (now St. Jude Catholic School) in San Miguel, Manila. The next month, Archbishop Rufino J. Santos made St. Jude Thaddeus the patron saint of the parish as proposed by Father Provincial Herman Kondring, SVD.
The present site of St. Jude Parish was donated by Archbishop Rufino J. Santos. The blessing and laying of the cornerstone of the church was held on September 28, 1958. The completed church was blessed on October 23, 1960.
The weekly novena to St. Jude started in June 1959 and has been held every Thursday since then. The devotion spread over the years and has become very popular in Metro Manila. Devotees come from far and wide including students, board examination reviewees, office workers, parish and others with all kinds of requests and seemingly hopeless problems. Thursday is always a busy day, with preaching, confessions, and counseling forming an important part of the work. Masses and novenas are scheduled hourly throughout the day from early morning until evening. Huge crowds overflow the church into the church grounds every Thursday. As a result of this, the church was conferred the title of Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Jude on June 21, 1994.
While remaining a personal parish for the Chinese and Chinese Filipinos, St. Jude Parish became also a territorial parish on June 20, 1986 and took overseas adjacent to the parish church composed of four barangays that were formerly under the jurisdiction of San Miguel Parish.
The first organization established by Fr. Henry Windges, SVD in 1955 was the Praesidium Marias Spes Sinensium of the Legion of Mary. With the setting up of the parish council, other organizations followed. These included the Filipino-Chinese Catholic Youth, Altar Servers, Catholic Women’s League, St. Jude Foundation, Kerygma Lectors, Ichtys Choir, Mother Butler’s Guild, St. Jude Ladies Association, Pax Et Bonum Choir, Special Ministers for the Holy Communion, Couples for Christ, the Greeters and Collectors Ministry, and the Friends of St. Jude.
From the strictly Chinese parish that was originally envisioned, St. Jude has evolved into something much more, as can be seen from the congregation that participates in its liturgical activities and also in the Thursday novena. With a tri-sectoral parish profile of the personal, the territorial, and the devotional, the St. Jude Archdiocesan Shrine looks forward in its vision statement to be (see vision statement below).
Parish priests/Rectors of National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus:
- Henry Winges, SVD (1954-1956)
- Peter Tsao, SVD (1957-1996)
- Teodoro Gapuz, SVD (acting) (1996-1999)
- John O’Mahony, SVD (acting) (1999-2000)
- Leopoldo Javcian, SVD (2000-2005)
- Roland Aquino, SVD (2005-present)