Friday, May 1, 2015

Leave Your Message to or Special Intention for St. Jude Thaddeus Here

Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus,  the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of difficult  cases, of things almost despaired of, Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone. 

Intercede with God for me that He bring visible and speedy help where help is  almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive  the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and  sufferings, particularly -
(make your request here)

- and that I may praise  God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, O Blessed St. Jude, to be  ever mindful of this great favor granted me by God and to always honor you as  my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 28th, Feast of St. Jude Thaddeus

Oh glorious apostle St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered thy beloved Master into the hands of His enemies has caused thee to be forgotten by many, but the Church honors and invokes thee universally as the patron of hopeless cases--of things despaired of. Pray for me who am so miserable; make use, I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded thee of bringing visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need, that I may receive the consolations and succor of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly (mention your request), and that I may bless God with thee and all the elect throughout eternity. I promise thee, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron, and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Leave Your Message to or Special Intention for St. Jude Thaddeus Here

Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus,  the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of difficult  cases, of things almost despaired of, Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone. 

Intercede with God for me that He bring visible and speedy help where help is  almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive  the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and  sufferings, particularly -
(make your request here)

- and that I may praise  God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, O Blessed St. Jude, to be  ever mindful of this great favor granted me by God and to always honor you as  my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sermon: St. Jude Thaddeus: A Crucible of Hope and Our Patron Saint

A sermon by Pastor Karen Siegfriedt of St. Jude the Apostle Episcopal Church, Cupertino, California, U.S.A., given October 25, 1998 (source link here)

Were it not for hope, the heart would break.

- A Sri Lankan steel fitter injures his back. He is filled with hope. Learning of a little shrine dedicated to St. Jude in the mountains of his country, he hires people to carry him there, and soon he can go back to work.

- Boris, a three year old canine boxer, vanishes on Christmas Eve while being shipped aboard a Delta jet from Florida to New York. His owner, was at the point of giving up all hope But he continued on. He carried out a devotion to St. Jude for several weeks. Six weeks later, the frightened dog was traced to an abandoned house.

- In 1964, a navy chaplain was sent to Vietnam with 6000 marines. He lost his faith and was filled with doubt and unbelief. For two months he experienced darkness and emptiness. In a faint yet glimmer of hope, he prayed to St. Jude, came out of his "dark night of the soul", and regained his faith. The chaplain's name is Cardinal John O'Connor, leader of New York's 2.5 million Catholics.

Hope: The one human emotion, the one virtue that keeps humankind afloat, diverting tragedy, healing the sick, comforting the desperate, deciding with some certainty that there is a way out. Hope is not the same thing as optimism. Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out. Hope is the lived out conviction that God?s power permeates the universe and that in the end, God's will, will be done

St. Jude is the symbol of hope; the patron saint of desperate causes. When you talk about Saint Jude, you talk about the world in despair because Jude is the last stop. That means, that when St. Jude becomes part of your devotional prayer life, you are reinforcing your desire to live and are refusing to be overcome by darkness. Who is this saint to whom more churches in the United States are dedicated than any other except for Mary? Who is this saint whose name is born by thousands of shrines and hospitals and to whom millions of petitions are addressed? What responsibility do we carry as a parish church which bears his name? This is the subject of today?s sermon as we celebrate the feast of St. Jude.

The name Jude, comes from the Hebrew word meaning, "I will praise the Lord." There is little description of Jude in the bible. Jude is listed in the gospel of Luke as the son of James and as being one of the twelve apostles. Jude is not the same person as Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Now the gospels of Matthew and Mark do not list Jude as one of the twelve apostles but rather Thaddeus. Thus, it had been assumed that Jude's surname is Thaddeus and therefore our patron saint is named, Jude Thaddeus. Other than being listed as one of the twelve apostles, Jude is recorded as being at the last supper, and as praying in the upper room with the other apostles after Jesus' resurrection. Most biblical scholars would say that St. Jude the apostle is not the same person as the author of the epistle of Jude found in the Christian Scriptures. So, what is known about St. Jude comes from sources outside the bible. It is difficult to determine which written accounts of Jude are accurate and which are legend. Perhaps the most widely held account was recorded by the distinguished church historian, Eusebius, during the forth century. The story goes something like this.

King Abgar Ukkama, a brilliant and successful monarch of Mesopotamia was dying from a terrible physical disorder which no human power could heal. Having heard about Jesus' ability to heal, the King sent Jesus a letter, begging for relief from his disease. Jesus promised that he would send one of his disciples to cure the king's disease, and at the same time to bring salvation to him and his people. After Jesus' death and resurrection, Jude Thaddeus was sent to Edessa to heal the King. After examining the king's faith (in the healing power of Jesus), Jude laid his hands on the king and healed him of his infirmities. At daybreak, king Abgar instructed his citizens to assemble and to hear the preaching of the Good News by Jude Thaddeus. It was in this manner that the gospel was spread to that area of Northern Iran.

There is a thirteenth century manuscript in Armenia that describes Jude's death. This manuscript records that after having won favor from King Abgar with his miracles in Edessa, the apostle pressed eastward to Armenia to the court of King Sanatrouk, son of Abgar's sister. The apostle "arrived at the king's court to preach the good news of the kingdom of heaven, and there performed miracles and cured all kinds of sicknesses. Many believed his words and were baptized, including the king's daughter. Upon learning of this, king Sanatrouk grew wrathful and sent one of his princes to murder the apostle and his own daughter. Jude was forced to climb up to a ledge raised in the midst of rock. Stretching out his arms in prayer, Jude cried: "my Savior Jesus Christ, do not abandon my diocese, do not leave the people in the errors of idolatry, but illuminate them at the filling moment in the knowledge of your faith." Then the king's men murdered Jude with a sword and buried him in the midst of an overturned rock."

Are these events based on fact or fiction? Are the cures and acts of grace bestowed upon people who turn to St. Jude, miracles, or are they coincidences? We will never know the answer. However, this we do know. St. Jude is the symbol and crucible of hope for many Christians. Were it not for hope, the human heart would break. Hope is one of the great theological virtues. It is what keeps us going when darkness obscures the light. Hope is different from wishing. Wishing means to place before one's mind, a desired object or goal and waiting for a favorable outcome. But hope is remembering what God has already done in history and what God has promised to do in the future. Hope is the realization that the love of God has permanently affected humankind and that the whole creation will eventually be lifted up to God. "All things work together for good to them that love God."

As the second Christian millennium draws to a close, America is caught up in one of the most fervent religious revivals in its history. We see it in the zeal of the religious right, the passion of the New Age seekers, and the yearning of the hearts of those who are searching for meaning. Our nation has been most blest among nations. Our people have been seen as the best, brightest, richest, prettiest, smartest, and resiliently optimistic. Yet now, we are perhaps the most desperate, a depressed, self satisfied and spiritually empty people. We are now turning our spirits inward to explore the emptiness that no American military or political victory seems able to fill, or that no material gain or scientific milestone can dispel. We found out that a small, poverty stricken country in Southeast Asia could cripple our economic security, and thus have been brought face to face with our own vulnerability. The fitting recourse to this sense of loss of security must be hope, for without hope, desperation waits to fill the void.

So how do we increase our hope? When I hear this question, I like to look at a group of exemplar Christians who maintain an incredible sense of hope in the midst of poverty, chaos, corruption, and disease. This group is called the Sisters of Charity, a group of nuns who was founded by Mother Theresa. These sisters are able to pick up rat bitten, infected lepers off the dirty, noisy streets of Calcutta and show these discarded human beings, the love of God. These sisters do not get discouraged. They do not give up. They do not lose hope. Why? What is it that allows them to maintain a non-anxious presence, a presence of hope, in the midst of worldly darkness and despair? A lot of it has to do with their prayer life. Each day, they put aside an hour to practice devotional prayer. It is a simple, innocent approach to religion, where God and the communion of saints are called upon in intercessory and petitionary prayer; where God's saving acts in history are rehearsed over and over again so that they can remember God's faithfulness when there is no apparent evidence in the present moment. Devotional prayer is a means of placing one's mind, and heart, and soul, and hands into God's presence, and allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to permeate one's thoughts, words, and actions.

Now many Episcopalians scoff at devotional practices especially when it has to do with praying with and to the saints of our church. Most of us are at a different stage of faith than devotional practice. Our approach tends to be more intellectual. We would rather study the faith than pray it. We would rather be in control than abandon ourselves into the arms or God. However, I do notice that the people of St. Jude's light candles during Sunday worship. I notice that the people of St. Jude's offer prayers of petition each Sunday. Perhaps at a deep level we know that devotion to God and prayer has power to give us a the hope, without which the heart would break.

Now what does this mean for us, the people of St. Jude's in Cupertino,whose church bears the name of the Saint of desperate causes? Well there are a lot of desperate people out there who need to experience the light of Christ; who need to be coaxed out of despair and into hope. We need to provide a place where anyone can come and be reminded that God is intimately working in the world, even when there is no evidence in their lives.

Now this weekend, your vestry has come up with a vision for St. Jude's in Cupertino. They envision this place to become a spirit-filled church where every Sunday is like Easter Sunday. This means that we are present each Sunday at worship, that the pews are overflowing with joyful and spirit-filled people, raising their voices in song and prayer such that the presence of God can be felt even to the rafters. What an oasis of hope in Santa Clara County we could become! But we have work to do. We need to learn how to pray and to turn to a life of prayer, out of which hope rises up. "It is very important to cross the threshold of hope, and not to stop before it, but to let oneself be led." St. Jude, help us to cross that threshold of hope.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

On this special day and throughout the year, open your heart and mind to the infant Jesus, whose birth we celebrate today. May God bless you.

Painting: Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst (November 4, 1592 - April 27, 1656). Gerard van Honthorst, also known as Gerrit van Honthorst and in Italy as Gherardo delle Notti for his nighttime candlelit subjects, was a Dutch Golden Age painter of Utrecht.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Why do people pray to St. Jude?

Source link here.

Catholics have a long tradition of praying to the saints and this tradition has sometimes been misunderstood. With all Christians we keep the First Commandment and adore only the Most Blessed Trinity. Praying to the saints is not a substitute for praying to God, whom we acknowledge to be the source of everything.

We pray to the saints because they are our older sisters and brothers who have gone through what we ourselves are experiencing now. We ask them to remind God that it was by His grace that they triumphed over life’s difficulties and that we today need that same grace.

Even though we have a long tradition of praying to the saints (or more precisely asking the saints to pray to the Lord our God for us!), it is only in our own times that St. Jude has become a popular patron. Why? In the past, people sometimes confused St. Jude with Judas Iscariot, but people now realize they are alike in name only!

And people realized too that the story of St. Jude is very often like their own: people sometimes ignored and misunderstood – people struggling to accept their call to holiness and the offer of forgiveness – people finding it hard to believe that God is always faithful to his promises.

If any of those phrases describe you, welcome!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Meditation: St. Jude, Advocate of Difficult Cases

Excerpted from Fr. Richard O'Keefe, O.P.

St. Jude was not only a follower of Jesus but his friend as well. His close relationship to Jesus not only changed his life but also made him a powerful advocate on our behalf. From Jesus he learned about God's boundless compassion and infinite power. He learned not to doubt God's wisdom but confidently to trust divine mercy. Sometimes our suffering can make us forget, even despair of, God's love and provision for us. We ask, "Why has this happened to me? Where is the Lord when I need him?" We might even wonder whether He hears our prayer. We go to St. Jude because we believe that he is a man of faith and understands that nothing is impossible for God. From Jesus he would have learned this. He believed what Jesus had told him at the Last Supper: "If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it." (John 14:14) He heard Jesus say, "...with God everything is possible." (Mark 10:27). And, harkening to those words, we ourselves regain our balance; we find the strength to go on trusting in God's wisdom and mercy.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Flicker of hope is sold in Aisle 18

Written by E. J. Montini, a columnist at The Arizona Republic (Arizona, U.S.A.), on March 23, 2009 (source article link).

In the Albertson's grocery store near my home, the shelves on Aisle 18-B are neatly stocked with jars of salsa, bags of corn chips, spices, cans of beans, bags of flour, rows of spices, snack cakes, soda and hope.

The last item sells for $1.79.

In better times, a hearty meal would offer more sustenance than hope. But these days, with so many men and women losing their jobs, their health insurance and their homes, shoppers who are starved for mental and spiritual comfort find nourishment in several rows of 8-inch votive candles available in Aisle 18-B.

In just about every Catholic Church in Phoenix, there is an alcove or side altar where there is a bank of candles in glass containers. Often they are displayed in a series of small steps before a statue or icon.

In the church my family attended when I was a kid, these "vigil lights," as my mother called them, were in front of a statue of Mary the mother of Jesus. It was the one place in our church where I felt comfortable.

The enormous crucifix above the altar, with its bleeding, suffering Jesus, frightened me. As did the stained-glass images of saints that lined the upper reaches of the church. Their glass eyes seemed to focus on a young sinner no matter which pew he settled into.

One of the small comforts of my youthful churchgoing experience was the opportunity to light a candle. But it was not done casually. My mother would say that lighting a candle was a way of asking God for a little extra attention. It might be for ourselves or for someone we knew, someone sick, someone in need, someone in trouble. The candle represented a promise to put more prayerful devotion into this particular request. As long as the candle burned, the invocation was being repeated.

For all of the time I've shopped at the Albertsons, the most popular votive candle featured a likeness of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In this part of the country, the primary market for such items is our large Latino population.

But lately other saints also have become popular. St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, for instance. And St. Simon, who may have been St. Jude's partner but whose prayer, printed on his candle, makes him seem more like an enforcer than a saint.

It reads, in Spanish and in English:

"Oh powerful St. Simon, I humbly come to you. Let your spirit help me in all actions and in any dangerous circumstances. If it is love, you will hold the person I like. If it is a business, you will not allow it to fail because evil can not have more power than your spirit. If it is an enemy, you will defeat him. Oh, powerful St. Simon, I offer you your cigar, your tortilla, your drink and your candles if you help me with any dangerous circumstance I may encounter. For any debts that I cannot currently pay, let the judge be defeated and on my side upon invoking your name. I ask of you, in the name of the One you sold for thirty coins that were given to the needy to let everything be forgotten; and in this manner I want you to perform the miracles I request."

I asked John Tillotson, of the St. Jude Candle Co. in Houston which made the St. Simon candle, how his business is doing.

He told me, "With the economy the way it is, we're feeling the pinch as well as everyone else. But we can see in sales that people gravitate to those saints who speak to their situation. A lot of people are hurting and are seeking help."

Do the candles work? I asked.

He paused, then said, "I can tell you that they're a comfort to a lot of folks."

More than that. When lit, the candles prove that longing is tangible. That aspiration is real. That there is such a thing as a flicker of hope.