St. Jude Church getting facelift _lowres


It’s only been a year since St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church finished a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion of its church, but the Highland Road campus is preparing to break ground on another massive upgrade in the coming weeks.

St. Jude is set to start work on a new, two-story ministry building as phase two of what the Rev. Trey Nelson said will hopefully be a four-step overhaul of the current campus.

“The No. 1 issue (for parishioners) was space for meetings and storage and worship space. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Nelson said. “The second phase is all about adequate, state-of-the-art meeting space as well as a space for storage and so on.”

The project is expected to cost somewhere between $5.5 to $6 million, a little more than a year after spending nearly $4.5 million on the phase one expansion of the main church to accommodate the growing congregation.

St. Jude serves more than 7,300 people in what Nelson said is one of the most economically and culturally diverse parishes in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, with a large portion of the congregation coming from the Gardere Lane area.

“The way we give back to those programs is we go out and we do them,” Nelson said. “A large portion of our operating budget, beyond the building fund, goes to the poor and the needy.

“This (project) is going to equip us with the strength to do the programs we already do and do new ones.”

Nelson said construction on the new ministry building was originally set to begin in late May, but recent weather has delayed the groundbreaking to June.

Nelson added that the project is expected to take 12 to 14 months.