Saint Jude the Apostle
Frequently Asked Questions
The most reliable ancient records identify the place of Saint Jude’s martyrdom and burial to be the city of Beirut. Sometime later, his body was transferred to Rome and placed in a crypt within the original Saint Peter’s Basilica, completed by the Emperor Constantine (in 333 AD). Today his remains are in the left transept of the current Basilica (completed in 1626), below the main altar of Saint Joseph, within a tomb also holding the remains of the Apostle Simon. This resting place has become a popular destination for pilgrims who have a devotion to the Apostle of the Impossible.
Why is the arm of Saint Jude on Pilgrimage?
The Catholic Church regards relics as among its most sacred possessions. Divine revelation teaches that relics are connected with the Holy Spirit: Paul informs us that the bodies of holy persons are temples of the Holy Spirit, temples in whom He resides (1 Corinthians 6:9).
From time to time, the Church plans an extraordinary pilgrimage of relics. Its purpose is to enrich the faithful who hear the saint’s story anew and to obtain the grace that comes through venerating his relics. Such opportunities can be momentous occasions of healing and conversion where believers can experience the “touch” of heaven and connect with a spiritual hero more deeply.
Saint Jude is known as the patron of hopeless and impossible cases. Most believers have an abundance of examples in their lives that are worthy of putting to such a potent intercessor and giver of hope.
At a time when Christianity once again finds itself in the minority within Western society, with paganism encroaching on every side, the Church proposes Jude as a special model and intercessor, invoking him under the title, The Apostle of the Impossible.
Jude gives hope to those in adversity, affliction, and anxiety. Millions have found solace after seeking his assistance and finding their prayers answered.
Why is this happening in the USA?
Saint Jude is one of the Church’s most popular saints. He is beloved the world over. Devotional images, statues, and prayer cards of the saint are ubiquitous within churches and homes.
He is immensely popular in Latin American countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina. Many cities in Latin America have dedicated churches or shrines to Jude, where large processions and celebrations take place.
He is highly revered in Asia. In the Philippines, his feast day—October 28th—is celebrated with large processions, novenas, and special devotions. In the Indian state of Kerala, Jude is venerated by both Catholics and non-Catholic Christians. The National Shrine of Saint Jude in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, attracts thousands of pilgrims annually.
Jude is especially honored throughout Europe. Italy, from which Christianity spread along the trade routes of the Roman Empire, has a long-standing devotion to Jude. His relics are housed in the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome, and he is honored as one of the city’s patron saints. Italy also has numerous churches and shrines dedicated to Jude throughout the country, where devotees gather for prayers and intercession.
He is widely revered among Christians in Africa, especially in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.
The United States ranks among the nations with the most concentrated devotion to Saint Jude. This is partly because its people are transplanted from the different nations across the globe, the vast majority of which have a great devotion to the saint.
The saint’s great popularity in the United States is partly due to the establishment of Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, by Danny Thomas, a Lebanese-American entertainer. The hospital’s mission and the support it has received have fostered devotion to Jude among many Americans.
Who is organizing this tour?
The tour is directed by Fr. Carlos Martins and his organization, Treasures of the Church.
Isn’t the veneration of relics or of the saints idolatry (the worship of something other than God)?
Not at all. Catholics worship neither the saints nor their relics. Saint Jerome, the Church Father, puts it succinctly in his famed, Letter to Riparius: “We do not worship relics, we do not adore them, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the creator. But we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore him whose martyrs they are.” (Ad Riparium, i, P.L., XXII, 907).
Why do Catholics pray to the saints? Why pay any regard to the saints at all? Why not go directly to God?
Protestants often criticize the Catholic and Orthodox practice of praying to the saints. This criticism, however, comes from a misunderstanding of what it means “to pray.” As any dictionary confirms, “to pray” means “to ask.” It does not mean “to worship.” Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Protestants all agree that worship is due to God alone. Shakespeare used the word “prithee” throughout his plays, a contraction of the phrase “I pray thee” and equivalent to “I ask you.” In Act 3, Scene 4 of Macbeth, for example, Macbeth “prays” to Lady Macbeth when he asks her to look at the ghost that suddenly appears: “Prithee, see there! Behold!”
Within his epistles, Paul asks those to whom he is writing to pray for him (e.g., 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2; Philippians 1:19; Romans 15:30). He did not view their prayers as superfluous, nor did he regard it sufficient merely to pray for himself. The logical question is, why should this intercession of one Christian for another stop at death? All Christians believe that death is birth into glory for those who die in God’s friendship. Catholics and Orthodox Christians, however, regard it as absurd that those living in eternal glory would possess less power and ability than they had during their earthly existence. How could the saints lack in Heaven a power they enjoyed on earth?
Praying to the saints is holy since it affirms that God’s grace is transformative in those who are holy in Him, a transformation that not even death prevents (1 Corinthians 15:21–22). Catholics and Orthodox Christians pray to the saints because they understand they belong to a family that cares and intervenes for them As “members of Christ’s body” (1 Corinthians 12:27, Romans 12:5, Ephesians 5:30), the saints intercede and obtain grace for us as Christ’s collaborators, as the action of His mystical body. When the saints aid us, it is Christ who does so through their intercession.
How may I help?
- Promote the tour.
It is the Church’s hope that Saint Jude touches the lives of as many as possible. Your help promoting the tour through social media and informing your family and friends will help get the message out and be most appreciated! It would be a shame that people who could take in Saint Jude’s presence do not because no one informed them of it.
- Make a donation.
The tour is not funded by the Vatican, the US Conference of Bishops, nor any other entity. Our goal is for the reliquary to visit as much of the country as possible while it is in the country (September 2023 – May 2024). Donations are gratefully accepted and will be issued a tax receipt. Click here to donate.
- Pray for the Pilgrimage’s success.
Every prayer helps to bring down grace and convert hearts. Your daily prayers for the success and protection of this Pilgrimage will do an immense good.
I heard that God has healed many people through the relics of Saint Jude. Is this true?
Yes, absolutely. There have been many, many healings. That is why Saint Jude is one of the most popular saints in the Church.
Furthermore, everytime relics are mentioned in Scripture, two things always occur:
- There is always a healing.
- Touch I sthe way by which the healing comes about.
What exactly is in the reliquary?
A description of the contents of the reliquary may be found here.
Will I be able to touch the relics?
The bones are housed within a wooden arm-shaped reliquary in the gesture of giving a blessing. The reliquary is displayed in a glass case for its protection and security. Pilgrims will not be able to touch the reliquary directly but may touch the glass that separates them from it.
I heard that people are encouraged to bring their articles of devotion (rosaries, crucifixes, etc.) and pictures of their family members to “touch to the relics.” Why?
An object touched to a relic itself becomes a relic (i.e., a third-class relic), if the one touching it desires such to occur. This holds even if the object does not touch the relic itself, but only the reliquary in which it is housed, or even the display case in which the reliquary is displayed. More information is here.
In addition, touching images of family members to the reliquary is a symbolic way of entrusting those family members to Saint Jude and, as such, is an act of intercession on their behalf. Rest assured, he responds to such actions by praying for them.