Holy Infancy Parish in Bethlehem hosted the arm of St. Jude Thaddeus, beloved Saint and Apostle of Jesus Christ.
Over two thousand filed outside the church and around the block from 1 – 10 p.m. on Nov. 7 to spend a brief moment with this powerful saint.
Bringing seemingly hopeless prayer requests, venerators pressed their hands, prayer cards, rosary beads, wedding rings, and photos of loved ones against the glass of the reliquary.
Students from Holy Infancy School had the opportunity to venerate before doors opened to the public and attended a special address from Bishop Alfred A. Schlert.
“Our Diocese is honored to have the relic of the Apostle Saint Jude visit us. Relics are part of the Spiritual Treasury of the Church. They remind us that the Saints were real people who lived on earth like us and are now in Heaven where we hope to be someday,” said Bishop Schlert.
The arm was brought to the Diocese by Father Carlos Martins, a Custos Reliquiarum (ecclesiastically-appointed curate of relics) and Director of Treasures of the Church.
“The souls of Saints in God’s company are always just as present in his or her relic,” he said in his homily at the 7 p.m. Mass in St. Jude’s honor. “St. Jude’s presence will be permanently attached to it. Touch it to the person in need. St. Jude will respond,” he urged the congregation.
Father Martins explained that this famous saint wasn’t always so popular, due to sharing a first name with Judas Iscariot. For years, Catholics refused to pray to St. Jude, wrongly thinking their prayers would go to Judas, the betrayer. But when their requests to other saints went unanswered, they eventually prayed to St. Jude as a last resort. Father Martins said, to their surprise, St. Jude “knocked down all those petitions. He became known as the patron saint of hopeless cases and desperate situations, because he was only given hopeless cases and desperate situations. He is now easily one of the most beloved saints in the Church.”
Father Martins encouraged each attendee to specifically say to St. Jude, “I accept your friendship, I accept your gift,” as they venerated and to touch the glass to receive healing.
According to Father Andrew Gehringer, the pastor of Holy Infancy Parish , “The goal is that this visit gives people hope.”
The line to venerate remained until 10 p.m. and thousands of people went home with a new friend and new hope in St. Jude.