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 February 9, 2020:  The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Shrine of St. Jude Director’s Corner

This Tuesday will commemorate the 162nd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at the Grotto of Massabielle outside the small village of Lourdes, France. The Virgin showed herself eighteen times to St. Bernadette Soubirous. At Lourdes our Lady said so little, but accomplished so much. Though in appearance a girl, the Blessed Virgin becomes a teacher and a guide, a physician and a healer. Above all, she guides the faithful closer to her Son. Her statements to Bernadette are few and not often what is remembered by history; Suffering and penance are her message as much as she seeks a chapel to be built at the place of her appearances. Above all she declares, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” This is a statement of identity as the Mother of God and of her own “approval,” so to speak, of the same Dogma declared only four years prior to the apparitions by Pope Blessed Pius IX. Her mission to Christians to become what they are truly called to be is so clear. Our mother seeks all humanity’s return home to her Son. 

To visit Lourdes as a pilgrim is a powerful and unique experience, but her maternity is not limited to one place. Throughout history she has been the pilgrim seeking those who cannot make pilgrimage. She prays for the lost and intercedes for all who call upon her name. This is true even here at our parish. Each February 3-11 she makes a special visit to the Shrine of St. Jude in San Francisco, where a nine-day novena of prayer and preaching is offered in her honor. For us it is a time of grace and healing in Christ her Son, by our Lady’s powerful mediation on our behalf. 

This year’s Lourdes Novena preacher is Fr. Bartholomew Hutcherson, O.P., a friar of our  Dominican Province of the Holy Name of Jesus. For more than 30 years, he has been very committed to working with the young Church. Since his priestly ordination in 1997, most of his pastoral assignments have been at Newman Centers or university parishes served by the Western Province: Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Tucson. In July 2018, he began a new phase of ministry as a member of Western Dominican Preaching, a team of itinerant preachers who take the Gospel far and wide offering retreats, parish missions, and special programs for evangelization. His retreats and missions are rooted deeply in his love for the Word of God and a deeply Catholic understanding of Sacred Scripture. Currently Fr. Bart is also an adjunct professor of homiletics at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley. Fr. Bart resides at St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland. You can learn more about him and his preaching ministry at FrBart.com.

This Novena is one of the three preached novenas hosted by the St. Jude Shrine and St. Dominic’s Church each year. Founded in 1935 to be a beacon of hope and prayer for a country gripped by the Great Depression, the Shrine of St. Jude the Apostle at St. Dominic’s Parish continues to be a source of comfort for many. The Shrine offices receive hundreds of requests for prayers and sacramentals each week. The Dominican Friars take these prayer requests very seriously remembering them in our chanting of the Divine Office, our personal intentions, and our celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Even if you have not been participating in the novena, you are most welcome to pickup midstream. The special Novena Masses are the 5:30 Vigil Mass on Saturday, the 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM (en español), and 5:30 PM Masses on Sunday, and the 8:00 AM and 5:30 PM Masses on weekdays. The Rosary is said before or after these Masses, the blessing with the relic of St. Jude is offered, and confessions are available. The homilies are also posted daily on our website stjude-shrine.org and on both Facebook and Twitter @stjudesf.

Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette, Pray for us!

Very Rev. Vincent M. Kelber, O.P.

Prior and Shrine Director

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