Fr. Jude M. Rochford OFM Conv.

A passion for bringing out the best in those around him, matched with a profound spiritual life of prayer and devotion, made Friar Jude Rochford OFM Conv. an ideal teacher and guide for people young and old. This was especially true in his 40 years with the growing community of Conventual Franciscan Friars in Zambia, Africa, for whom he was ‘Malama’: a Bemba language name for a caring, firm, and determined mentor.
Fr. Jude passed away on November 27, 2017, in Shakopee, Minnesota. He was born James Loren Rochford on July 16, 1928, in Sumner, Iowa, to Leo and Theresa (Buzynski). He is survived by his brother Gerard and predeceased by his parents, his brother Francis, and his sisters Patricia (Sr. Nora OSF), Mary Ellen, Margaret, and Bernadette (Kindl). He professed Simple Vows July 13, 1947, and Solemn Vows on July 14, 1950. He was ordained a priest on May 30, 1955.
He taught for 11 years at Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Ohio, and following a year teaching at Bellarmine College in Louisville, Kentucky, was sent to Zambia as a missionary/teacher. Fr. Jude served in several administrative and leadership roles while in Zambia, but his greatest influence was in the formation of new Friars, helping them learn and grow in their Franciscan vocations. Bishop Patrick Chisanga OFM Conv., of the Diocese of Mansa (Zambia) said “Fr. Jude was ‘one of those ‘angels of the Lord’ who guided me in my first steps of religious life. He was a true son of St. Francis of Assisi with a profound spirit of prayer, simplicity, and particular devotion to Our Lady. He was passionate about providing adequate and integral formation to the future Friars and priests.” Fr. Jude returned to the US in 2007, moving into a nursing facility near two Friaries in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. He continued to stay close to the community he left behind, Bishop Chisanga said, “writing to and praying for the Friars and priests he had nurtured along their vocation journey.”
More information about and photos from Fr. Jude’s life of service may be found at
Visitation for Fr. Jude will take place at Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center in Prior Lake, Minnesota, on Monday, December 4 at 5 pm, with the Funeral Mass following at 6 pm. There will be a Memorial Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Sumner, Iowa, on December 6 at 10:30 am. The Mass of Christian Burial will take place on December 19 at 4 pm in the Chapel at Mount St. Francis, Indiana, with interment following in the Friars’ Cemetery. Memorial gifts may be made to the Province of Our Lady of Consolation, 103 St. Francis Boulevard, Mount St. Francis, Indiana 47146.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Emmanuel Musa Kabuka :

    May His Soul Rest In Eternal Peace !

  2. Fr. Raduk Hillary :

    Fr. Jude was a wonderful priest, formator and teacher of young African students. My fond memories of all the three years I spent with him at St. Bonaventure college in Lusaka, Zambia. The Good Lord gave him to us and has called him back. Eternal light shine upon him.

  3. Maureen Peterson :

    I’ve known Fr. Jude for the last 6 years while I volunteered at St. Gertrude’s in Shakopee. He was always well read on the saint of the day and shared that inspiring information with us. Sometimes he’d come to the resident birthday parties and would join in the activities. His smile was uplifting. May he rest in peace.

  4. Maureen Peterson :

    I’ve known Fr. Jude for the past six years when I’d volunteer at St. Gertrude’s in Shakopee. He was always well read on the saint of the day and shared their inspiring stories with us. Many times he’d join us for the resident birthday parties and participated in the activities. His smile was uplifting. May he rest in peace.

  5. I enjoyed working with Fr. Jude when I was his social worker at St. Gertrude’s. He was always very gracious and kind towards me, and appreciative of my assistance. His stories about his life in Zambia were interesting and I enjoyed listening to them. Eternal rest grant unto him, o Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him!

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