Saint Jude, also known as Thaddaeus, is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes. St. Jude is a different person from Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ in the garden of Gethsemani (Luke 22:47-48). Jude was the brother of St. James the Lesser and one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. The apostles were Jesus’ closest followers and companions, who traveled with and learned from Him.
On the night before Jesus died on the cross, He and His apostles ate together at the Last Supper. Jude’s words to Our Lord on this occasion are recorded in St. John’s Gospel (14:22-24):
“Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered him, ‘If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.’”
Let’s briefly explore the role Christ gave to His apostles:
“’Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline.’
“In keeping with the Lord’s command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:
– orally ‘by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received – whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit’;
– in writing ‘by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing.’
“‘In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church, the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority.’ Indeed, ‘the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time.’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 75-77; quotes inside the Catechism quotes from Dei Verbum).
Following his death, pilgrims came to St. Jude’s grave to pray and many reported his powerful intercession, which is why St. Jude is known as the patron saint of impossible cases.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux had a special devotion to St. Jude, as did St. Bridget of Sweden. In a vision, Jesus told St. Bridget: “In accordance with his surname, Thaddeus, the amiable or loving, he will show himself most willing to give help.”
St. Jude is the author of the Epistle of Jude (the next-to-the-last book of the New Testament), which is filled with encouragement to keep the faith and to remain hopeful.
St. Jude, pray for us!
What Is a Novena Prayer?
The word novena comes from novem, which is the Latin word for “nine.” A novena consists of nine days of prayer to ask God for a special request. Novenas often ask specific saints to pray for us; for example, we pray the Saint Jude Novena to ask St. Jude to intercede for our needs.
During times of hardship when nothing seems to be right, the St. Jude prayer is here for you.
Blessed be St. Jude Thaddeus, in all the world and for all eternity!
Novena to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes thee universally as the patron of hopeless cases, of things despaired of. Pray for me who am so miserable; make use I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded to thee, 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 consolations and the succor of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request) and that I may bless God with thee and all the elect forever.
I promise thee, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen.
May the most just, most high and most adorable Will of God be in all things done, praised and magnified, forever and ever. Amen.