The Relics Of St. Jude

Me with all my holy cards and medallions

I love being surrounded by historic Catholic saints. They are a powerful resource helping us to become better Christians.

St. Jude is always depicted with a club, the Word of God and a medallion of Jesus around his neck, he was clubbed to death and beheaded. Art credit: Jeff Acton

Saints are our heavenly example of how we should live our lives. To put it simply, we Catholics ask for their intercession. The great divide is this: Protestants believe we pray to them. We do not! We know who our Lord and Savior is, and we pray to Him directly.

Saint Jude Thaddeus

So who is St. Jude? And why is he one of the most popular saints in Catholic history? He is the apostle of the impossible. This is the saint you invoke when there is no hope.

He was a first cousin of Jesus and brother to James the Less. How did this  saint, who wrote one of the shortest books in the Bible, become so popular? St. Jude, as an apostle of Christ, lived a life of holiness. Our Lord Jesus washed his feet on Holy Thursday.  He was at the Last Supper and he was in the Upper Room when the power of the Holy Spirit came down from heaven.  St. Jude witnessed the countless miracles of Christ and received the “Great Commission” to continue the work of our Lord.

King Abgar V was the pagan king of Edessa (part of the Armenian kingdom)  who was suffering from a terrible illness. The king  requested  by letter that Jesus come and heal him,  but it was St. Jude who received the commission. When St. Jude placed his hand upon the king, he was immediately cured of his disease. King Abgar V, in great appreciation of his healing, converted to Christianity, and as a result  the entire kingdom of Armenia was converted! This was the start of St. Jude’s historic journey to spiritual fame.
Danny Thomas
As a child I remember watching “The Danny Thomas Show.” The little girl who played the part of his daughter caught my attention. But before Danny Thomas’ great success things were not looking well for him. He was desperate, so he invoked the intercession of St. Jude to help him with his career. He vowed that  if he became  successful he would build a shrine in honor of  St. Jude. Danny Thomas did a lot more than that. On February 4, 1962, the doors of  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee were opened. He kept his promise.
Paul Revere Williams, a famous, African-American architect designed the first hospital, which was  shaped in the form of a star. Today St. Jude Hospitals are global.
“There are two types of people in this world: the givers and the takers. The takers sometimes eat better, but the givers always sleep better.” Danny Thomas

Recently Christ Cathedral hosted the tour of the Relics of St. Jude. My neighbor Susan and I attended the Mass, followed by the veneration of St. Jude. We waited for nearly two hours to venerate the relic. Since this was part of St. Jude’s  arm, it is considered a first- class relic. “First-class relic are the body or fragments of the body of the saint, such as a pieces of the bone or flesh. Second-class relics are something a saint personally owned, such as a shirt or book. Third-class relics are those items a saint touched or have been touched by a first,  second, or another third-class relic of the saint.” The Apostle of the Impossible Saint Jude Thaddues,  Fr. Carlos Martins

St. Jude, Pray For Us

There are only a handful of people that I can trust with my personal prayer intentions. Asking my friends to pray for me gives me great relief because I know that they will continue to intercede for me until they feel released by God.

Our view from the balcony of Christ Cathedral

Sometimes our problems weigh heavy on our hearts, and illnesses like cancer can send us to deep prayer or deep depression. These are grave concerns and, though we are praying, we need an army to come alongside us. St. Jude is the saint to invoke in these desperate situations.

Christ Cathedral  

I experience  great excitement when a saint comes into town, so when I heard that the relics of St. Jude were being venerated at Christ Cathedral I wanted to attend. I called my neighbor Susan and she gladly agreed to go with me. When we arrived the cathedral was packed out, so we had to go to the balcony. We attended the Mass, which was followed by the veneration of the relics.

My third-class relics

It was a chilly evening and I had no idea that we would be in line outside of the church for over two hours. Because of the large crowd, we were instructed to venerate the relic for 10 seconds, but in reality it was more like three seconds. Of course I totally forgot what to pray for while I was being ushered away. In great dismay, I looked over at Susan and said, “I forgot to ask him to be my friend and what my gifts were!” Standing a few feet away I prayed. I did, however, place my wedding rings, holy cards and medals on the case for a special blessing.

I brought with me over 50 holy medals and hundreds of holy cards for the blessing, which would make them third-class relics. It’s a complicated scenario to explain the excitement we all shared that evening. It was indeed holy. One thing for certain is that my gift of dreams has been richly increased since I paid homage to the relics of St. Jude.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I pray for all those who are stuck in impossible situations: cancer patients, the homeless, drug addicts and all manner  of hopelessness. We ask for the intercession of St. Jude to come to their aid. Amen.


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