About Saint Jude

[ Biography | Epistle of Jude | St. Jude's Prayer ]

St. Jude (Judaeus) was an Apostle and Martyr who lived in the first century.  His Feast Day, with St. Simon the Zealot, is celebrated on October 28th each year.

St. Jude is one of the twelve apostles of Jesus as indicated in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13.  He was traditionally believed to have been the author of the Epistle of Jude and is often identified as Thaddaeus, the apostle mentioned in Mark 3:18 and Matt. 10:3.  In Luke's Gospel and in Acts, he is called "Judaeus, the son of James."  Jude was the one who asked Jesus at the Last Supper why He would not manifest Himself to the whole world after His resurrection.  The Gospel of John does not name him.  Jude is generally thought to be the brother of another apostle, St. James the Less.

After the death and resurrection of Jesus, St. Jude traveled throughout Mesopotamia for a period of ten years, preaching and converting many to Christianity.  He probably returned to Jerusalem for the Council of the Apostles, and then he and St. Simon visited Libya and Persia where many more converts were made.

St. Jude died a martyr's death.  Details are very skimpy.  Tradition tells us he could have been clubbed and killed with an ax.  Others believe he was martyred with arrows or javelins, or on a cross.  Sometime after his death, St. Jude's body was brought to Rome and placed in a crypt in St. Peter's Basilica.

There were communities who had Jude as their patron in the middle ages, but his popularity (and clear record of history) suffered.  The reason is simple enough - his name was too often confused with Judas Iscariot, Christ's betrayer.  Because of this confusion, only the most desperate would pray that St. Jude would intervene for them.  Hence by the 19th century he became popularly known as the Patron Saint of Lost Causes or Desperate situations.

The simple truth is that because of the confusion with Iscariot, very little is now known for certain about St. Jude.  That being said, St. Jude is looked at as a powerful reminder of Christ's faithfulness to us in all things.  Even in the most difficult circumstances that life can present, St. Jude is seen as one who affirms for us that God is still present, still loving, still creating, still making all things new.

Statues of St. Jude often depict him carrying an oar and an anchor.  Although the anchor is a Christian symbol of hope - fitting enough for the Patron Saint of lost causes - the anchor and oar may allude to the belief that Jude's early life was spent as a fisherman.

The boat, the symbol most often associated with St. Jude, may also allude to Jude's earlier life, or to Jude's voyages in his part in the mission of founding the early church.  A ship is also a well-known symbol of the Christian Church; this is often reflected in obvious ways in church architecture.

The ship of St. Jude is depicted in the Rose Window immediately behind our main altar.


Epistle of Jude the Apostle

Chapter 1

1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James: to them that are beloved in God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.

2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and charity be fulfilled.

3 Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

4 For certain men are secretly entered in, (who were written of long ago unto this judgment,) ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord God into riotousness, and denying the only sovereign Ruler, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

5 I will therefore admonish you, though ye once knew all things, that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, did afterwards destroy them that believed not:
6 And the angels who kept not their principality, but forsook their own habitation, he hath reserved under darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day.
7 As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.
8 In like manner these men also defile the flesh, and despise dominion, and blaspheme majesty.
9 When Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee.
10 But these men blaspheme whatever things they know not: and what things soever they naturally know, like dumb beasts, in these they are corrupted.
11 Woe unto them, for they have gone in the way of Cain: and after the error of Balaam they have for reward poured out themselves, and have perished in the contradiction of Core.
12 These are spots in their banquets, feasting together without fear, feeding themselves, clouds without water, which are carried about by winds, trees of the autumn, unfruitful, twice dead, plucked up by the roots,
13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own confusion; wandering stars, to whom the storm of darkness is reserved for ever.
14 Now of these Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying: Behold, the Lord cometh with thousands of his saints,
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to reprove all the ungodly for all the works of their ungodliness, whereby they have done ungodly, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against God.
16 These are murmurers, full of complaints, walking according to their own desires, and their mouth speaketh proud things, admiring persons for gain's sake.
17 But you, my dearly beloved, be mindful of the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,
18 Who told you, that in the last time there should come mockers, walking according to their own desires in ungodlinesses.
19 These are they, who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit.
20 But you, my beloved, building yourselves upon you most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto life everlasting.
22 And some indeed reprove, being judged:

23 But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal.
24 Now to him who is able to preserve you without sin, and to present you spotless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
25 To the only God our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory and magnificence, empire and power, before all ages, and now, and for all ages of ages. Amen.



It is difficult to state the exact time at which St. Jude wrote his Epistle. But the doctrines against which he inveighs, and the looseness of morals or the so-called antinomismus, seem to indicate the end of the Apostolic age. Jude seems on the other hand to have written before A.D. 70; otherwise in vv. 5-7 he would have spoken of the destruction of Jerusalem. In those verses St. Jude mentions the different punishments of prevaricators, and therefore in this exhortation to Hebrew Christians he could not have passed over in silence so dire a calamity. Moreover we have shown that the Epistle of St. Jude was written before II Peter, which latter was probably written A.D. 64 (65).  Therefore St. Jude must have written shortly before 64 (65). We can only guess, but we prefer the opinion that the Epistle was written in Palestine, and probably in Jerusalem.


St. Jude's Prayer

Most holy apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, of things almost despaired of. Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone. Make use I implore you, of that particular privilege given to you, to 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 (Here make your request) and that I may praise God with you and all the elect forever. I promise, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you.



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