Dear Friend of St. Jude,
It seems each year that Christmas carols and the scent of ashes from Ash Wednesday blend quickly. My sense is there is a purpose to this seeming coincidence. Let me explain.
With the memories of Christmas and the birth of our Lord fresh in our minds, Holy Mother Church reminds us hastily of the reason for this gift of Divine intervention. Christ came not just to be among us and live as we live, but to show us the way to the Father. Near the end of the Gospel of John, as Jesus talked with His disciples at the last supper, we read, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
We now come to Lent. Ash Wednesday. Fasting and Prayer. Gospels filled with the harsh reality of Jesus’ life leading us to reflect on the harsh realities of our own lives. We pray for forty days as Jesus did in the desert. We sing songs not of joy but filled with sorrow. We pray the Stations of the Cross, enacting the cruel manner in which our God made Man would suffer.
As we come to the end of Lent in a few short weeks, narratives in all of the Gospels tell us of the violent end to Jesus’ life on earth. Scorned, spat upon, whipped, nailed to a cross with his side punctured by a spear, the God who is Love takes it upon himself to be subjected to the worst of humanity.
Yet, we know the rest of the story. Three days later, our dear Lord rises from the dead on Easter morning, bringing hope to all humankind. “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” rings true to all who believe.
St. Jude Thaddeus, our patron who is Apostle, Martyr, and Saint, knew first-hand of the trials of Jesus, His violent death, and the hope of His resurrection. We pray through St. Jude that we might also share in this personal insight into the life of Jesus and the hope such knowledge brings.
At the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus, we put it this way: Where there is Prayer, there is Hope. We gather throughout the year to pray, and to bring hope – hope in the risen Jesus that He may remain a part of our lives and that of those we love. No matter the difficulties. No matter the trials. No matter the violence we encounter. God is with us, and we are reminded so through our steady devotion to St. Jude Thaddeus and the intercession he promises.
We have chosen “Where is God in All the Violence?” as the theme for the Novena to St. Jude to be held at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in River Forest, IL. We will gather for nine days, March 13 – 21, 2013 at 12:00 Noon and 6:30 p.m. While together in the midst of Lent, we will use the violence of our own time as a backdrop to reflect on the violence – and the resurrection – that marked the last days of Jesus’ earthly life.
As we gather, and you join us wherever you may be, please bring with you thoughts of violence you may have encountered in your life, in the lives of those you love, and in the world around us. Tragic shootings make the news and deserve our attention, but other more common events tear us apart as well. Daily rage, marriages torn apart, devastating health news, natural disasters, financial ruin, even “downsizing” at work and the resultant unemployment – these all hit violently at our humanity and our faith.
That is where the Resurrection steps in, just in time, and we want to talk about all of that!
So join us for a very special Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus on Wednesday, March 13, through Thursday March 21! For the first time, we will present 9 separate celebrants, Dominican friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great, who will share with you the fruits of their contemplation on our compelling theme, “Where is God in All the Violence?” A different friar will lead us each day in praying the Rosary, reciting the Novena Prayers, and in celebration of the Eucharist. The final day of the Novena will feature, as usual, a Healing Mass with veneration of the arm relic of St. Jude and Blessings with the Holy Oil of St. Jude. To conclude the Novena, the Very Rev. Charles E. Bouchard, O.P., our Prior Provincial, will celebrate for us that day, concelebrating the Eucharist with the friars who have preached the Novena before him.
You won’t want to miss any of these days and this very special and timely Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus. Please join us, won’t you?
Sincerely yours in St. Jude,
Rev. Paul Whittington, O.P.
Director, Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus
P.S. As always, I ask you to also consider a generous contribution to support the work of the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus and the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great. Please visit either the-shrine.org or www.domcentral.org to make your secure gift.
The wonderful hope and prayers of the Dominican Shrine rely on your prayers and financial support. We are indeed grateful for your help and ask you to be as generous as your resources allow.