SALT LAKE CITY – In the Roman Catholic Church, St. Jude Thaddeus is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes. A group of Utah Catholics devoted to the saint began congregating 11 years ago to celebrate a Mass honoring the saint on the 28th day of each month.
In 2010, the St. Jude devotional group started going to the old St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church in Murray and praying a rosary to the saint.
“Monsignor Bill [Bonczewski], who back then was the pastor there, opened the doors to us,” said Martin Alcocer, a parishioner of the Cathedral of the Madeleine who has a devotion to St. Jude Thaddeus.
At first the devotion drew about a dozen people, but the next month there were 30, and the third month about 50 people gathered to pray to the saint, Alcocer said.
When Alcocer learned that the Maronites have a different rite from the Roman Catholic Church, although they both are in union with Rome, he went to Father Eleazar Silva, now the temporary sacramental minister of St. James the Just Parish, for advice, he said. When he told the priest that about 50 people were gathering each month to honor St. Jude, “he told me that he was going to start celebrating a Mass for him at this parish with us. It was great,” Alcocer said.
Since then, Fr. Silva has been the spiritual advisor of the St. Jude devotional group.
The monthly Masses were cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When they were restarted, rather than moving to the new St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church in Taylorsville, the St. Jude devotional group began a pilgrimage among the parishes around the diocese.
At the Mass in April at St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Midvale, Fr. Silva said he likes celebrating the Mass at different parishes “because we are sharing the devotion with all. St. Jude preached the Gospel to all, and so are we.”
The celebration in April also was marked by the presentation of a special banner of St. Jude.
“We know we are far away from many things here in Salt Lake City but we are very close to God because of the intercession of St. Jude,” said Fr. Silva as he presented the banner. “Today is a very special day because we are blessing our banner and we are going to venerate it for the first time.”
The banner, which was sewn by hand in Mexico and brought to Utah by faithful St. Jude devotees, depicts the image of the saint and the words in Spanish “Devotion to St. Jude, Salt Lake City.”
“Little by little, we are solidifying this devotion,” said Fr. Silva as he blessed the banner. “We are solidifying our ministry.”