Feast day: October 28
A Novena to St Jude takes place at 8.00pm every Tuesday and can be followed on the webcam. People write their intentions for this Novena and leave them in the church and, at the Novena, some of the intentions are read out. Those present are also blessed with the Relic of St Jude and also of St Thérèse of Lisieux.
Novena Prayer to Saint Jude
Saint Jude, glorious apostle,
faithful servant and friend of Jesus,
the Church honours and invokes you
as the patron of hopeless cases,
bringing help when we are most tempted to despair:
pray for us.
Come to our assistance in all of our necessities
and particularly in our present needs
(pause and call to mind your request)
with confidence we call upon you.
Saint Jude, help of the hopeless,
aid us in our distress.
Pray for us that,
at the end of our lives on earth,
we may enter into the company of the saints
to rejoice in the presence of God forever.
The brief letter (Epistle) of St Jude in the New Testament is the principal means by which we can come to know the saint. It seems to have been written to meet the same crisis in the early Church as St Peter’s second Epistle, the two letters contain similar material and warnings. Jude warns his correspondents — who were perhaps the convert Jews in Palestine — to beware of the false teaching of “godless men” who have found “their way secretly into your company, and are perverting the life of grace our God has bestowed on us into a life of wantonness; they even deny Jesus Christ, our one Lord and Master”. Although written for a particular danger and to check the spread of one early body of heretical teaching, the danger is one that the Church has to face in every age, and in every baptized individual. We all come up against arguments against the faith that are not true and need St Jude’s reminder — “You have a battle to fight over the faith that was handed down, once for all to the saints …” “It is for you to make your most holy faith the foundation of your lives, and to go on praying in the power of the Holy Spirit; to maintain yourselves in the love of God, and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with eternal life for your goal”. St Jude goes on to say what should be the relationship between Catholics and the men who were spreading error. Some of them, he writes, you should listen to and then confute in argument; others you should be able to convert; but some you can only pity and avoid. It is still sound advice to the modern Catholic. He has nothing to fear in the encounter. “There is one who can keep you clear of fault, and enable you to stand in the presence of his glory, triumphant and unreproved, when our Lord Jesus Christ comes; to him who alone is God, to him, who gives us salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, glory and majesty and power and domination are due, before time was, and now, for all ages. Amen.” Just because we know so little for certain about the careers of the different Apostles, legend and invention soon built up stories of their lives. There is a legend of St Jude, purporting to give an account of his missionary activities and martyrdom, but it would be foolish to give much credence to it. There may, however, be a real tradition at the back of the stories about the different countries in which the Apostles worked — that these were the particular areas or directions into which each penetrated. Thus, St Simon and St Jude are said to have travelled to Persia and to have suffered martyrdom there; they share the same feast-day in the Church’s calendar, on 28th October.
But nobody seems to know how St Jude came to be the saint to whom people pray for apparently hopeless cases.