It was the desire of the Jenkins family that a church be erected in western Virginia as a memorial to John Carrell Jenkins. Front Royal was chosen as the site of the memorial, where there was already a number of Catholics. It is said the first Mass ever held in Warren County was celebrated in a railroad camp in 1872 by Rev. J. J. Kane of Winchester. Until the church was completed, Mass was celebrated in the George Macatee home and frequently in the Crudden home in nearby Riverton.
The site of St. John's Church was donated by George W. and Henrietta Macatee. The estimated cost of the property was $200, with construction costs estimated at $5,500. The architect was Major R. J. Black of Richmond. Capt. Gustus A. Macatee, a brother of George Macatee, was contractor. The stone foundation was laid by Ripberger of Strasburg and the brick work was done by Pine Brothers of Richmond. Rev. D. J. O'Connell laid the cornerstone and started construction in 1883 but was soon appointed rector of the North American College in Rome. The Church was completed under his successor, Rev. J. B. O'Reilly. The Church was dedicated on September 7, 1884 by Rt. Rev. John J. Keane, Bishop of Richmond, who was assisted by Rev. O'Connell; the Rev. D. Roley of Baltimore was the Celebrant of the High Mass, with Rev. O'Reilly assisting. Bishop Keane in his dedicatory sermon said, "The Church was built with the money of one who gave his life for the Confederacy; its cornerstone comes from the battlefield of Manassas, its limestone framing from Fisher Hill, and its red brick was made from the soil of Front Royal, saturated with the blood of the soldiers of the Confederacy".