The Most Rev. Daniel J. Gercke, Bishop of Tucson, established Ss. Simon & Jude parish in 1953. The founding pastor was Fr. Paul Smith, a native of Ireland. With Fr. Smith arrived the Loreto Sisters (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary), who would staff the parish school. As the parish grew and grew in the 1950s and early 1960s, the need for a larger parish church also grew. Construction on the current church began in 1965, and the 1200-seat church was dedicated by the Most Rev. Francis Green, Bishop of Tucson, in December 1966. On December 2nd, 1969, His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, raised Ss. Simon & Jude to the status of Cathedral as the new diocese of Phoenix was established.
Ss. Simon & Jude has welcomed visiting dignitaries (governors of Arizona), celebrated solemn funerals (Bishop Rausch, May 24, 1981), and has been graced by the visit of Pope John Paul II on September 14th, 1987. In May 1989, the Blessed Theresa of Calcutta, better known simply as “Mother Theresa,” visited the Cathedral as her community of sisters began their service to the poor and homeless of inner city Phoenix.
The wave of immigration from Latin America has affected the demographic make-up of the Cathedral parish, and shows every sign of continuing. Our Cathedral parish school continues to be a trend-setter in Catholic education, and has embarked on an extensive campaign of development this year.