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October 21, 2018: Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Pastor’s Corner

This weekend we launch into our popular and powerful novena to St. Jude.  The vicissitudes of the calendar make this year’s novena unique insofar as it spans the breath of two weekends.  Since I am often queried about the St. Jude Shrine, novena, and devotion, this is a felicitous opportunity to answer some of these frequently asked questions.

Where is the St Jude Shrine? Although the office is on Pine St. (between Pierce and Scott), the Shrine itself is located in the Church along the North transept. My own discovery of the Shrine was a bit surprising. I heard much about the Shrine through its reputation as a place for powerful prayer, so when I first visited St. Dominic’s, I expected that it would be in its own chapel separate from the Church.  Like Naaman, the Assyrian commander, who is disappointed by the prophet Elisha’s instruction to wash in the common waters of the Jordan to cure his leprosy, I too was underwhelmed by the simplicity of the Shrine. My expectations for the famous Shrine of St. Jude were that it would be more than a statue at a St Dominic’s side altar. Yet, the ever-present traffic of pilgrims and devotee coupled with the warmth and light of votive candles speak to the dynamic spiritual activity of our Shrine.

Who is St. Jude? St. Jude is one of the original Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Traditionally he is regarded as the inspired author of the canonical epistle, which is a brief, but spirited, letter calling the community to be faithful to living in imitation of Jesus and rejecting what might be called New Age philosophies.  (The story of the battle between St. Michael and the devil over the body of Moses is a favorite passage! Jude 1:9) St. Mark names Jude as “Thaddaeus” and St. Luke lists him as “Judas of James,” and the brother of St. James the Less, son of Alphaeus. St. John identifies him as Judas, but “not Iscariot” to avoid identification with the betrayer of Jesus, Judas Iscariot. Indeed, the tradition of calling him “Jude” rather than the Scriptural “Judas” was likely started to avoid such confusion.  At the conclusion of the Last Supper, when Jesus announces his manifestation to his disciples, St. Jude vocalizes the question that no one else has the gumption to ask, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Like St. Simon he is connected with the Zealots, and after Jesus’ Ascension, they preached and martyred in Beirut. Thus, since the 8th century, the Western church has commemorated St. Simon and St. Jude together on October 28.

Who is our preacher for the St Jude Novena? We are excited to have Fr. James Moore, OP return to St. Dominic’s to preach the 2018 Novena.  Fr. James is was born in Coalinga, California and was ordained to the priesthood in 2008.  A graduate cum laude of Santa Clara University in California, majoring in music, Fr. James earned his Master’s degree in music from the University of Notre Dame in 2000, and his doctorate in Musical Arts (DMA) from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 2015.  Whilst at Catholic University he directed a musical partnership that culminated in the release of two CDs of sacred music.  Fr. James, whose academic interests also include study of 17th- and 18th-century Mexican sacred music, has directed a number of Schola over the years including the Schola Cantorum of the Dominican seminary in Washington, D.C. and St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, CA.  Fr. James was the director of the Shrine of St. Jude from 2016-2017 before taking his talents to his new position as the Vicar Provincial for Advancement for the Western Dominican Province. Welcome back Fr. James!

Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.


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