Ground-breaking of St. Judes.

St. Jude's Within the Walls - Green Stamp Chapel

Rev. Matthew J. Killion, Catholic chaplain at Napanoch, started in the late 1950s to lobby for adequate worship facilities for the institution's Roman Catholic inmates. In a standard parish, funds would be raised through the parishioners, but Father Killion's prison parishioners had no disposable income. Raffles, bake sales, and other schemes were bandied about, until Correction Officer Frank Walpole suggested the idea of using trading stamps. Father Killion approached the Trading Stamp Institute of America, which agreed to exchange stamps for cash and building materials instead of merchandise.

In February, 1962, a nation-wide trading stamp collection drive was launched. . . .Inmates spent hours pasting the stamps into booklets. Eventually, 65,000 books were amassed, nearly sufficient to cover building materials. . . An architectural firm donated its services and designed a glass and brick structure to be erected on the inside southeast corner of the yard. Many others joined in: staff, inmates (of all faiths), community volunteers, trading stamp company executives, and other businessmen. An Irish artist sculpted a statue of St. Martin de Porres and shipped it across the Atlantic, and a Jersey City artist painted the Stations of the Cross.

Institution trucks salvaged goods from NYC churches targeted for demolition. Eastern's carpentry shop instructors and inmates made benches, the paint shop finished and varnished the benches, the mattress shop made mats for the chapel entrances, and the machine shop made gates for the Baptismal Font. Other inmates worked on construction.

On June 20, 1964, Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, dedicated St. Jude's Within the Walls at a ceremony attended by staff, inmates, and over 300 guests. The beautiful chapel is nationally renowned and a point of interest for visitors as well as a point of pride for employees.

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