Tuesday March 24
May God watch over me as I edit a webpage for the first time in my life and try to speak to you more directly during this perilous time. If ever we needed St. Jude, now is the time! St. Jude is the patron of HOPE! I put HOPE in all caps not only for effect, but to distinguish the supernatural hope associated with St. Jude from that of a kind appropriate to humanity. Supernatural HOPE vs natural hope. A natural human hope is to aspire to something we desire. This is normal and natural and proper to human beings. But supernatural HOPE is the aspiration to share God's eternal life as His adopted sons and daughters. Such a hope is proper to Jesus Christ alone, yet through the feast which we celebrate tomorrow (Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord) God chose to share this wondrous HOPE with humanity through the fusing of God's Divinity to our humanity in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
I wish I could say that I have a plan for this page, but we are in uncharted territory my friends and I shall simply have to be open and attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
My first update to you, however, is an unhappy one. Not only is the physical Shrine closed due to the prudential judgements of both the Cardinal of Chicago and the Governor of Illinois, we have stopped production of our next Shrine newsletter. Making and mailing a newsletter is a rather complex project with many moving parts. This has the practical effect of requiring me to write the newsletter content about a month and a half before you receive it. This means that I had written the content of the next newsletter before the coronavirus (COVID-19) struck our world and our country. The tremendous suffering inflicted by the virus and the many restrictions placed upon so many of us who live in populated areas of the country merit a specific response that speaks to these times which are frankly unprecedented for anyone currently alive. We haven't seen such a pandemic since the so called Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and let's face it...the world has changed a whole lot since 1918. Whereas almost half of the U.S. population lived in urban areas (as opposed to rural areas), now over 80% of Americans live in cities. This is particularly relevant when the pandemic is spread primarily through human contact!
Another piece of bad news is that the Shrine staff is teleworking and are not physically present in our offices. This means we cannot fulfill your requests for St. Jude oil or send you the commemorative cards if you have requested a Mass to be offered. We are still offering Masses and you can still request a Mass through the Shrine website; we just cannot send you the commemorative card for the Mass until our offices reopen.
But let me balance the bad news with some good news. We are expanding the ability of the Shrine to communicate with you through digital platforms such as email and texting. Our service provider, Flocknote, is a Catholic owned company that provides services to Catholic parishes, dioceses, and religious orders. They follow all the rules and best practices so that you can reply to any text with the word “STOP” or click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom right corner of any email to automatically remove yourself from receiving texts or emails respectively. No questions asked.
To sign up and be connected to the Shrine via smart phone or email you can either
- Use your internet browser to go to the-shrine.org/signup and fill in the form online.
- Use your smart phone and text Thaddeus to 84576
Flocknote enables us to email and text people according to their preferences. You heard me correctly…according to YOUR preferences! And even better is the fact that you can provide your preferences and even update your preferences without having to create yet another account to manage and for which you must write down yet another password.
Why might you sign up with the Shrine of St. Jude through Flocknote? I think there are two important benefits that are quite relevant at the moment. First, you can get updates from the Shrine delivered just as quick as can be through your email or phone. When we reopen...you'll be the first to know about it! Second, we have created a new intercessory prayer group will enable you to share your prayer intentions with us using only your smart phone. We’re going 21st century folks! Prayer intentions may be made either private such that only the Shrine sees them or public which means anyone who has subscribed to the intercessory prayer group may see them. Once again…it’s YOUR choice!
OK! That's enough for my first update. May St. Jude continue to intercede for us and aid us in our time of need!