Our History


The Catholic community of Dunlap, Illinois began as a "mission church" in 1879 with the construction of a modest wooden framed structure, which was named, St. Rose of Lima Church.  On November 7, 1909 the church was struck by lighting and burned to the ground. 

Our second church building, a Gothic designed brick structure was built for a cost of $7,202.16, and dedicated on February 9, 1911 in honor of St. Clement I [the fourth successor of St. Peter the Apostle].  The pastor, Father Clement O'Neil, resided in Princeville and often traveled to and from St. Clement's by hand car on the Rock Island Railroad.  From 1911 to 1960 the community was served by a number of priests: Fathers Clement O'Neill, McKoen, Humphrey, Joseph A. Gordon, Ralph Gates, Maurice Bernabei, George Wuellner, and various priests from Spalding Institute.

On June 15, 1960 Bishop John B. Franz elevated our mission community to a free standing parish, with Fr. O' Brien as our first resident pastor.  St. Matthew Church, Edelstein, also a mission of Princeville, joined the newly formed Dunlap parish.  In 1963, Msgr. Clarence J. Hettinger became our pastor. 

As the parish grew it became necessary to build a new parish home. It was in 1969 that the site was located and annexed into the city of Peoria. The annexation into the City of Peoria provided the parish with a substantial and much needed bequest of funds provided to the Diocese of Peoria to build the next Catholic church within the City of Peoria. Construction began in April, 1974, with the first Mass in June of 1975. 

Our new community was renamed St. Jude Roman Catholic Congregation of Peoria, IL, with the dedication of our new church building on June 29, 1975 by Bishop Edward O'Rourke.  St. Clement Church remained open for about a year as a mission church, with the final Mass being celebrated there on December 19, 1976.  Our pastor, Msgr. Hettinger retired in 1992 and Father Charles Karl succeeded him, followed by, Msgr. Charles Beebe in 1993, who initiated a 5-year capital campaign in 1996 to remodel the church proper, and add our beautiful gathering area and the education wing.  Father Harry A. Pierjok served as our pastor from June of 1999 through 2003.  Father Bruce Lopez served as pastor from 2003 to 2007 and initiated a task force to study the possibility of building a new Catholic grade school for the St. Jude parish community.  Father Anthony (Tony) Lee served as our Pastor from June 2007-2010 along with Father Ryan Bredemyer as Parochial Vicar during which time the new grade school was opened and operated in the education wing. Remodeling of the sanctuary and social hall along with a new sacristy, cry room/chapel, nursery, and office spaces was also completed during that time.

Father Patrick Henehan, our current Pastor, joined us in June 2010. Soon to follow after his May 2010 ordination was Father Paul Carlson as our Parochial Vicar until he was transferred in 2012.  Father Adam Stimpson joined us as our current parochial Vicar in June 2012, and was replaced most recently Father Eric Bolek who joined in 2015.