Catholic San Francisco


(Photo by Christina Gray/Catholic San Francisco)

Pilgrims carrying a statue of St. Jude crest a hill in North Beach after leaving the Shrine of St. Francis, the start point for the 13th annual Pilgrimage to St. Jude Thaddeus on Oct. 22.

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St. Jude pilgrims carry saint’s promise of hope
November 1st, 2016
By Christina Gray

Almost 2,000 pilgrims, many dressed in green, the color of the cloak depicted in imagery of St. Jude, walked over two miles together through the streets of San Francisco on Oct. 22 in prayer to the patron saint of difficult and desperate cases.

The 13th annual St. Jude Pilgrimage was sponsored by the Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus in San Francisco, an apostolate of the Dominican Friars of the Western Dominican Province founded in 1935 to bring hope to a world then in the grip of the Great Depression. The shrine which is not affiliated with other St. Jude shrines, helps support the formation and education of seminarians preparing to be ordained into the Dominican priesthood.

Pilgrims from as far away as Los Angeles lined the blocks for hours around St. Dominic Church which houses the shrine, to board buses to the pilgrimage starting point at the National Shrine of St. Francis in North Beach. Men carrying a statue of St. Jude led the crowd, many of them whole families with children dressed as the saint, up hills and across busy intersections back to St. Dominic for an afternoon Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice.

Throughout the two-hour walk, shouts of “Viva San Judas!” (St. Jude Lives!) arose from the predominantly Hispanic following, many seen praying the rosary. When the statue of St. Jude appeared in the doorway at the end of the prayerful journey and entered the church on the shoulders of pilgrims, an audible gasp went up from the sanctuary along with a bank of camera phones.

According to Stedman Matthew, chief administrative officer of the shrine, thousands of pilgrims visit the devotional site each year seeking solace and St. Jude’s intercession on behalf of private intentions. Each month over 2,500 prayer, Mass and votive candle requests come to the shrine via mail, email and telephone, along with donations.

Matthew said prayer requests include general prayers of thanksgiving to St. Jude, people praying for a loved one’s return to the church, parents for children, and commonly, a prayer for health and healing.

“The volume of prayer requests for those suffering from cancer has become so great that four years ago we began an annual novena in honor of St. Peregrine, the patron saint against cancer,” said Matthew.

According to Catholic Online, St. Jude Thaddeus was one of the Twelve Apostles and a relative of Jesus Christ. It is believed he became known as the patron of seemingly hopeless cases because of a New Testament letter he wrote stressing that the faithful must persevere in the environment of harsh and difficult circumstances. Two saints, St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Bernard, had visions from God asking them to accept St. Jude as “The Patron Saint of the Impossible.”

From November 3, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.

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