In early October, the faithful in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend will have two opportunities to venerate a relic of one of the most beloved and called-upon saints in the Church: St. Jude, Patron of Lost Causes.
For the first time in history, bone fragments from an arm believed to belong to St. Jude Thaddeus will leave Italy and be shown in the United States. The relic will be available for veneration at St. Jude Parish in South Bend on Saturday, October 7, and at Our Lady of Good Hope Church in Fort Wayne on Sunday, October 8. At St. Jude, public veneration of the relic will take place with a Mass celebrated in St. Jude’s honor at 1 p.m. followed by veneration. The Sunday Vigil Mass will be at 4:30 p.m. At Our Lady in Fort Wayne, the faithful can venerate the relic from 1-10 p.m., with a special Mass to be celebrated at 5 p.m.
The tour of the relic across the Midwest, sponsored by Treasures of the Church, began on Saturday, September 9, in Chicago, and, in 2023, will include stops at parishes in Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The 2024 stops have not yet been announced.
As the church-appointed custodian of the relic, Father Carlos Martins, a priest of the Companions of the Cross religious community, is directing the tour.
“The visit provides an opportunity for individuals to experience intimacy with someone who dwells in heaven and beholds God face to face,” Father Martins said in a news release. “It allows devotees to receive his blessing and entrust him with their petitions.”
Father Mark Gurtner, Pastor of Our Lady of Good Hope in Fort Wayne, told Today’s Catholic that a parishioner at Our Lady knows Father Martins personally, and because of this connection, Father Martins asked if the parish would be interested in hosting the relic in Fort Wayne. Father Gurtner said Father Martins will be giving the homily at the special Mass in honor of St. Jude at 5 p.m. on October 8.
“My hope is that through the graces God allows to come from the visit of the relic, many people will feel the closeness and love of God, that He really cares for them,” Father Gurtner said. “I hope, too, that even some miracles will take place through the intercession of St. Jude – physical healings, spiritual healings, emotional healings. I have found myself personally devoted to the relics
of saints and have had the opportunity to visit many saints’ relics and burial places throughout the world. In fact, when I lived in Rome for a time while studying, I visited and venerated this particular relic of St. Jude several times and am excited that it is now coming to my parish.”
St. Jude Thaddeus was a first cousin of Jesus Christ – the son of Mary of Clopas (Cleophas), a relation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Following his martyrdom around AD 65, when St. Jude was killed with an ax, his body was buried in Beirut, where he was slain. According to Tradition, the apostle’s remains were transferred to Rome during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine, and his tomb rests directly below the main altar of the left transept of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The arm was separated from St. Jude’s remains several centuries ago and placed in a wooden reliquary carved in the shape of an upright arm in the gesture of imparting a blessing. It bears the seals of Cardinal Francesco Marchetti Selvaggiani, who was vicar general of Rome from 1931 to 1951.
According to a news release by officials with Treasures of the Church, pilgrims will be able to receive an extraordinary plenary indulgence issued by Pope Francis and published by the Vatican’s apostolic penitentiary.
OSV News contributed to this report.
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