Saints of the Day ~ October 28

SAINT SIMON (?-1st century), Apostle and martyr
Patron saint of curriers and tanners
SAINT JUDE (?-1st century), Apostle and martyr
Patron saint of hospitals, hospital workers and impossible causes

Today, the universal Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Simon and Saint Jude, members of the original Twelve chosen by our Lord, whose names occur together in the Canon of the Mass and are also celebrated on the same day.

Saint Simon was surnamed the Zealot, possibly due to his rigid adherence to both the Jewish and Canaanite laws. Western tradition also states that he preached in Egypt and then went to Persia and surrounding areas with Saint Jude, where it is believed by many scholars that Saint Simon suffered martyrdom.

Saint Jude, known as Thaddeus, is believed by some researchers to be the brother of St. James the Lesser, and a relative of Jesus. He is introduced in the Gospel of Luke as “Judas, the son of James” (Luke 6:16a). Evidently because of the disgrace of that name, due to the betrayal by Judas Iscariot, his name was shortened to “Jude” in English.

And in Saint John’s Gospel, it is Jude who asks a question of Jesus at the Last Supper, “Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” (John 14:22b). And even though there is an Epistle written by Jude, many Biblical scholars do not believe that Saint Jude the Apostle was its author. And tradition states that Saint Jude was bludgeoned to death with a club while preaching and witnessing to the true faith in Persia.

Today, we honor Saint Jude as the patron of desperate situations and impossible or forgotten causes. He is also the patron saint of hospital workers and hospitals. He is represented as a bearded man holding an oar, a boat hook, a club, an axe or a book. And nearly every image of him depicts him wearing a medallion with a profile of Jesus. He is also depicted as having the flame of the Holy Spirit above his head.

As we find with the written accounts of the lives of many of the Apostles, we are faced today with men whose lives are, for the most part, basically unknown to us, except for pieces of information which have been handed down through the centuries and have become a part of oral and written traditions. In the end, we are faced with the fact that their holiness is simply taken to be a gift of Christ – holy and dedicated men who brought the Gospel message to the world at the risk of even their own lives.

We commemorate their joint Feastday on October 28.

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(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saints Simon and Jude)

“Father, You revealed Yourself to us through the preaching of Your holy Apostles, Simon and Jude. By their prayers, give Your Church continued growth and increase the number of those who believe in You.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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