SNOHOMISH – During a St. Jude mission in California this year, Chloe Osness learned about a blessing using oil touched to a relic of the apostle Jude, patron saint of desperate causes.
Back home, Osness, a member of St. Michael Parish in Snohomish, used the oil to bless and pray for her mother, who was ill with acute pancreatitis. “The next day, the doctor said her levels for pancreatitis had dropped dramatically,” Osness said.
Wanting others to have the opportunity to experience such healing, Osness suggested to her parish administrator, Michelle Green, that St. Michael’s host a similar St. Jude mission.
The St. Jude Mission of Hope and Mercy, being held March 31 to April 2 at the parish, features daily Mass, devotions, special blessings and veneration of the St. Jude arm relic. (See more details and schedule in box.) This is the first time the relic is coming to Washington state, said Dominican Father Mike Ford, director of the Chicago-based Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus.
A piece of St. Jude’s forearm is contained in this silver reliquary, flown from Chicago to Seattle for the mission at St. Michael Parish in Snohomish. Traveling with Dominican Father Mike Ford, the reliquary passes through airport security with advance notice. Photo: Courtesy Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus
“The mission of the shrine is to help people grow in their faith and show them this relic is an avenue to do it,” Father Ford said, so the relic is taken on tour for healing and prayer missions and solemn novenas. Relics are “a tangible reminder that these people actually lived, they actually breathed,” he added.
The arm relic, 1-1.5 inches long, is contained in a silver arm-shaped reliquary. It is reported to be the largest relic of an apostle outside of Rome, according to a history of the relic on the shrine’s website. St. Jude was martyred around A.D. 65 and eventually was buried, minus his forearm, in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. After residing in Armenia for many centuries, the relic was taken to Smyrna, Turkey, and later Turin, Italy, by Armenian Dominican missionaries fleeing Muslim persecution, according to the shrine’s website. In 1949, the relic was gifted to the Dominican Central Province of the U.S. on the 20th anniversary of its shrine to St. Jude.
Green said parishioners at St. Michael’s are excited to be hosting the mission. The parish has hosted short visits of relics, but this three-day mission “is much more special and gives many more people a chance to participate,” she said.
And like Osness did in California, those attending the mission on April 1 will learn how they, as laypeople, can give the St. Jude oil blessing.
“A lot of people think ‘my’ blessing doesn't mean anything — but that’s not true,” Father Ford said.
Attend the St. Jude mission
The St. Jude Mission of Hope and Mercy, led by Dominican Father Mike Ford of Chicago, is slated March 31 to April 2 at St. Michael Church, 1512 Pine Ave., Snohomish. Each day includes Mass, Divine Mercy and St. Jude devotions and veneration of the St. Jude arm relic; two days will include special blessings.
The schedule is:
Father Mike Ford
March 31, 7 p.m. — devotions, Mass and relic veneration.
April 1, 7 p.m. — devotions, Mass, relic veneration, St. Jude oil blessing.
April 2, 4:30 p.m. — devotions, followed by the 5 p.m. vigil Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday, including the sacrament of the anointing of the sick; relic veneration; question-and-answer session with Father Ford about relics and devotions.