Feature

THE APOSTLE OF HOPE

A RELIC OF ST. JUDE THE APOSTLE ATTRACTS THOUSANDS OF FAITHFUL TO ORANGE COUNTY PARISHES

By MEG WATERS     5/14/2024

THOUSANDS OF THE faithful recently got the opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to personally witness and venerate a relic of St. Jude – the patron saint of hope and improbable causes.

A WOMAN PRAYS IN FRONT OF THE RELIC OF ST. JUDE DURING ONE OF ITS NORTH AMERICAN TOUR STOPS AT CHRIST CATHEDRAL ON APRIL 30. PHOTO BY IAN TRAN/DIOCESE OF ORANGE

The relic is a piece of bone from St. Jude’s arm and is housed inside a wooden case, or reliquary, carved in the shape of an upright arm that gives the impression of a blessing being given.

St. Jude the Apostle is known colloquially as the patron saint of hopeless causes – the last chance intercessor when all else has failed.

Within the Catholic Church, St. Jude is known as the patron saint of the impossible, but Fr. Carlos Martins, a custos reliquiarum (an ecclesiastically appointed curate of relics), member of Companions of the Cross and director of Treasures of the Church (a Michigan-based exposition company and Catholic Church ministry of evangelization), prefers to call him the Apostle of Hope.

Fr. Martins has been escorting the relic of St. Jude on its North American tour since September 2023. He recently completed five stops in Orange County, where well over 26,000 people offered their petitions in front of the relic at Santiago de Compostela in Lake Forest, Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, Sts. Simon and Jude in Huntington Beach and Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Habra. In addition, the relic was displayed at 40 Martyrs Armenian Church in Santa Ana.

THE RELIC IS A PIECE OF BONE FROM ST. JUDE’S ARM THAT WAS SEPARATED FROM HIS REMAINS CENTURIES AGO. THE NORTH AMERICA TOUR IS THE FIRST TIME THE RELIC HAS LEFT ITALY. PHOTOS BY IAN TRAN/ DIOCESE OF ORANGE

 

According to Fr. Martins, St. Jude was believed to have been martyred in Beirut, Lebanon. His remains were buried beneath an early church in the city that was destroyed in the late third century or early fourth century. St. Jude’s remains were moved from that spot to Rome in approximately 335 AD.

“This is the first time since that date when the bone was separated from the body that the relic has left the Vatican,” added Fr. Martins.

His remains are held in St. Peter’s Basilica in a tomb that also houses the remains of St. Simon the Apostle, Jude’s brother.

The two apostles were said to be first cousins of Jesus and the sons of Cleopas, reportedly St. Joseph’s brother and his wife, who some believe was the Virgin Mary’s sister. Cleopas and his wife were the subjects of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance on the road to Emmaus, as recounted in Luke’s Gospel.

THE DIOCESE OF ORANGE HOSTED THE RELIC OF ST. JUDE THE APOSTLE, COUSIN OF JESUS, FROM APRIL 29 THROUGH MAY 2 AT FOUR ORANGE COUNTY PARISHES, INCLUDING CHRIST CATHEDRAL IN GARDEN GROVE.

 

According to the St. Jude relic website, “His name is literally “Judas,” but to distinguish him from the other Apostle Judas—the infamous betrayer Judas Iscariot, whom even the Lord refers to as “the son of perdition” (John 17:12)—his name in English is usually abbreviated to Jude. It is occasionally written as St. Jude Thaddeus, following the use of his “nickname” in Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18.”

The tour has a mission aside from bringing the saint to the people. The Holy Father Pope Francis decided that in the wake of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social upheaval in the world, it was time to send the relic out on a mission for the first time in 1,700 years.

“The Vatican thought it was appropriate to start a tour of this relic to bring hope and healing now,” said Fr. Martins.

Fr. Martins facilitates the tour through Treasures of the Church – its purpose is to give people an experience of the living God through an encounter with the relics of his saints in the form of an exposition.

An exposition involves over 150 relics from every period of the Church’s history, including St. Joseph, the Twelve Apostles, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Maria Goretti, St. Thérèse of Lisieux (the “Little Flower”), St. Faustina Kowalska, Pope St. John Paul II and Bl. Carlo Acutis.

The supreme highlight is some of the largest remaining fragments of Wood from the True Cross (the Cross upon which Our Lord died) and a piece of the veil worn by the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To learn more, visit www.treasuresofthechurch.com

Fr. Al Baca, director of the Diocese’s Office of Ecumenism and Inter-religion, which sponsored the event, has known Fr. Martins for many years and worked with him to bring St. Jude to Orange County.

“I saw this as a great opportunity for Roman Catholics and our Orthodox churches to come together to venerate a saint that is revered in both traditions,” said Fr. Baca. “It is time to ask St. Jude to give you the gift you need. St. Jude is one of the very few saints who not only knew Jesus personally but he was also a relative, friend and confidant. He undoubtedly hugged Jesus and his mother many times.”

The relic will continue to travel until the end of May, but other stops may be added. More information and the tour schedule is available at www.apostleoftheimpossible.com