Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is generally identified with Thaddeus, and is also variously called Jude of James, Jude Thaddaeus , Judas Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. He is sometimes identified with Jude, brother of Jesus, but is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, another disciple and later the betrayer of Jesus.
The Armenian Apostolic Church honours Thaddeus along with Saint Bartholomew as its patron saints. In the Roman Catholic Church he is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes.
Saint Jude's attribute is a club. He is also often shown in icons with a flame around his head. This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles. Occasionally he is represented holding an axe or halberd, as he was brought to death by one of these weapons. In some instances he may be shown with a scroll or a book (the Epistle of Jude) or holding a carpenter's rule.
A feast day celebrates the sacred mysteries and our redemption, in memory of the Virgin Mary or in memory of saints, apostles and martyrs. The feast day has two-fold purpose, to remember the event or the person and by means of reminder stir up within a soul a greater spiritual life. There are two types of feast days : universal and particular. The particular feast is celebrated only by certain dioceses or within certain religious orders. The feast day of St. Jude is a universal feast day, that is it is celebrated everywhere in the Latin Rite church and are included in the Roman calendar.
Second only to St. Mary, St. Jude Thaddeus is the most called upon saint in modern day prayer throughout the calendar year, not just on St Jude day. We acknowledge on his feast day his teachings to Christians to remain steadfast in the faith, to have fortitude, and to show mercy and to pray to the Holy Spirit.
We recognize Saint Jude Feast that he is the patron saint of desperate cases. Modern societies have made many speedy and major changes, putting human beings under tremendous stress in daily living. People have difficulty handling that stress and come to realize that newness and change and technology do not relieve stress and do not give hope and comfort. Prayer and petition to St. Jude stirs him to help, to provide hope and to provide help no matter how seemingly hopeless is the situation.
We recognize on the feast of St. Jude that he is the patron saint of hospitals. Hospitals as a business operation can sometimes endure major troubles. Purchase of necessary new high technology equipment can be prohibitively expensive. Upgrades to the existing plant plus financing of new space can be equally expensive. The normal daily operations and fair pay to the workforce is sometimes staggering. St. Jude is always here to help.
We recognize on St. Jude feast that he is the patron saint of hospital workers. Hospitals are known positively as places of healing. These settings can also be places of injury, severe pain, gore, terminal illness, surgery, therapy and death. The impact of one or all of these can have a debilitating effect on the life of a hospital worker. The prayers to St. Jude for fortitude at work and for continued faith in Jesus Christ can have a huge impact.
We recognize on his St. Jude feast day that he is the patron saint of desperate situations. People of all ages can sometimes find themselves or their family in desperate situations. The elderly person who needs prescriptions refilled but has no insurance and no money; the middle aged homeowner with a spouse and 3 kids soon to confront foreclosure and eviction; the young adult that cannot overcome a drug dependency and has no means to acquire more drugs; the old, the middle aged, the young, each faces a desperate situation. St. Jude is there to help if asked.
St. Jude Thaddeus is also acknowledged to be the patron saint of forgotten causes, impossible causes and lost causes. These are petitioned to him throughout the calendar year, and especially on his feast day we call to mind and honor his prayerful intercession.
Finally, we celebrate St. Jude’s feast day for the written word in his Letter of St. Jude. Herein, he tells people down through the ages including modern day to bear witness and pray to the Holy Spirit. The modern day faithful still get guidance and assurance from his writing. Some current biblical scholars link his comments to the New Age life style.
But you, my dearly beloved, be mindful of the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who told you that in the last time there should come mockers, walking according to their own desires in ungodliness’s. These are they who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit.
"Most holy apostle, Saint Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honours and invokes you universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, of things almost despaired of. Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone. Make use I implore you, of that particular privilege given to you, to bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request) and that I may praise God with you and all the elect forever. I promise, O blessed Saint Jude, to be mindful of this great favour, to always honour you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen".