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St. Louis Catholics will have a rare opportunity soon to participate in a Mass and healing service that includes an arm relic of St. Jude Thaddeus, the saint known as the patron of hopeless causes.

The Shrine of St. Jude of Thaddeus, based in Chicago and sponsored by the same region of Dominicans priests who sponsor Aquinas Institute of Theology, will bring the relic to Aquinas Institute in Midtown St. Louis for 6 p.m. Mass on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The arm relic of St. Jude will be present in the chapel. Following Mass, participants may stay for a healing service, when they may venerate the relic, or pray, and may also receive a blessing with St. Jude oil. The oil is part of a 6th-century tradition in which oil placed near the tomb of St. Jude was said to have healing properties.

“For the people who participate, this is a touchstone with the divine,” said Fr. Jim Spahn, O.P., director of the St. Jude Shrine. “This is someone God touched. By that touch, we know that God’s power is present here.”

St. Jude was one of the 12 apostles and believed to be the nephew of Mary and Joseph. He was beaten to death and then-beheaded in first-century Persia. In the 13th-century, the global Dominican order, of which Aquinas Institute is part, was entrusted with the care of St. Jude’s tomb.

The saint has become more popular in the last century, especially in the American Church, which is experiencing a more intense interest in popular Catholicism—or traditions not necessarily led by priests such as praying novenas, venerating relics and lighting candles in prayer. The greater interest also is related to the increase in immigrants from Latin America.

St. Jude Shrine in Chicago ( receives 200 visitors a day and more than 2,000 prayer requests each week. The plan to travel with the relic to Aquinas Institute is an unprecedented venture.

Aquinas Institute of Theology ( is a graduate school and seminary where priesthood candidates study alongside vowed religious women and men and laypeople seeking careers in the Catholic Church or simply to better understand their faith tradition. For details about this event, call 314.256.8886. 

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