U.S. tour of St. Jude relic makes stop in Rochester Diocese - Catholic Courier
A woman touches a glass case that contains a saint’s relic.

Lauren Moravec places her hand on the glass box containing a first-class relic of St. Jude at Church of the Assumption in Fairport Dec. 20. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

U.S. tour of St. Jude relic makes stop in Rochester Diocese

FAIRPORT — A solemn atmosphere of prayer and reverence filled Church of the Assumption Dec. 20 as people lined up to venerate a first-class relic of St. Jude Thaddeus.

Members of Knights of Columbus Bishop McQuaid Council 7085 stood nearby as honor guard and directed foot traffic while people filed through the church and then sat quietly to pray.

The relic’s presence at Assumption was a last-minute addition to “The Apostle of the Impossible: Tour of the Relics of St. Jude the Apostle,” hosted by Treasures of the Church, an international relic apostolate directed by Vatican-appointed Father Carlos Martins, CC. The tour, which began last September, will conclude in May 2024.

First-class relic of St. Jude draws more than 1,000 visitors

According to the Treasures of the Church website, the relic is part of the saint’s arm that in 1830 was placed in a wooden reliquary carved in the shape of a priestly arm imparting a blessing. The relic is housed in this same reliquary today.

Father Martins explained that the tour dates in December had filled up quickly, but there was one break on Dec. 20. This allowed Father William “Mickey” McGrath, pastor of Assumption and Church of the Resurrection in Fairport, to make a request that Assumption be included as a tour stop. That left the parish with only nine days to prepare and promote the event.

Father McGrath said he was heartened by the strong attendance.

“By the time we opened at 3, this whole corridor, 100 feet long (leading from outside into the church) was full of people. That was just exciting to see,” he said.

He expressed gratitude to all the parish volunteers who on short notice helped prepare for the large turnout by readying the church, greeting people and directing parking.

More than 1,000 people visited during the seven-hour public veneration, Father McGrath noted in an email after the event.

The relic was displayed in a glass case that was custom made for the tour. Also on display was a large image of St. Jude that Father Martins had specially commissioned for the tour.

Who was St. Jude?

In his homily during the special Mass said in honor of St. Jude at Assumption Dec. 20, Father Martins described the saint as an apostle and first cousin of Jesus; a missionary; and a martyr for the faith.

He explained that for centuries, people wouldn’t pray to St. Jude — whose name is actually Judas, but it was shortened to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus.

“They were afraid their prayers would go to the wrong person (Judas Iscariot) and not be heard,” he remarked in his homily.

Then across the world, a great movement of desperate prayers to St. Jude started to bear miraculous results, he said. Ever since that time, St. Jude has been nicknamed the “apostle of the impossible” and regarded as the patron saint of lost causes and desperate situations, Father Martins explained.

He noted that today there is an enormous devotion to St. Jude, with more churches in the U.S. dedicated to St. Jude than any other saint, aside from the Blessed Virgin Mary.

World needs healing and hope; forgiveness is key

Father Martins explained that the Vatican desired the U.S. tour of St. Jude’s relic at this time because of the many physical and emotional stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other difficulties and confusion in today’s world.

“The apostle’s visit is an effort by the Catholic Church to give comfort and hope to all who need it,” he said.

In his homily, Father Martins emphasized that forgiveness of oneself as well as others is key to receiving the miracles, blessings and healing that God wants to give. This is a message he also has shared internationally as part of his ministry, including his trip to China with 150 saints’ relics in the summer of 2023.

Regarding miracles and healings, Father McGrath quoted Father Martins, who stated that “the healing of the body is not the utmost importance; it’s the conversion of the soul.”

Saints pray for healing, conversion and peace

In a media release, Father Martins stated that, “The visit (with the relic) provides an opportunity for individuals to experience intimacy with someone who dwells in heaven and beholds God face-to-face. It allows devotees to receive his blessing and entrust him with their petitions.”

“I hope that St. Jude brings real blessings, miracles, healings and marvelous wonders here,” Father McGrath said.

“Times are hard, and people are confused, people are broken, people are in need,” Father McGrath added. “I encourage everybody to remember … the saints are alive in Christ, they’re here to help us. The Lord delights in working through the saints, members of the Body of Christ. We’re all one body.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Father Carlos Martins has invited anyone who has experienced healing or answered prayers through St. Jude to visit Treasuresofthechurch.com to share their stories.

Tags: Feast Days & Saints, Monroe County East
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