The Shrine was founded by Carmelite friar, Fr. Elias Lynch, O.Carm, back in 1955, and I know some of our supporters have been with us since! As Fr. Elias said ten years later: “...[the Shrine] all started because [we] reproduced a quarter-of-a-million pictures of Saint Jude, with prayers in honour of Saint Jude, and sent them out to all who called on us…I got more than a surprise. I was caught in a tidal wave. People started sending in masses of thanksgiving to Saint Jude; donations to the Shrine of Saint Jude - which didn't exist...start dealing with a movement like that and you have got something on your hands [so] we decided to create a Shrine of Saint Jude, Apostle and Martyr..”
After the last two years of a pandemic, concerns over global warming, and with the recent invasion of Ukraine, we unfortunately remain in times of uncertainty. HOWEVER - Saint Jude is always a friend to each of us and is thus the patron saint of hope in Jesus Christ. No other saint has the same appeal: he knew Jesus and was one of his closest friends. We need your help to find more people to receive the newsletter via email or post and find out more about our friend, Jude.
Fifty years ago, the astronaut Jack Schmitt took a photo of earth from the Apollo 17 spacecraft. The photo has since been called the “Blue Marble" and was taken en route to the Moon at a distance of about 29,000 kilometres. This photo is so famous that it also happens to be the most reproduced photograph ever. No human has seen that perspective in person since the photo was taken, yet most of us feel we know how the earth looks – and it’s all because of the “Blue Marble” photo.
In many ways, the “Blue Marble” photo connected the world like no other photo previously, but since then, the world has changed forever because we are more connected than ever. Information is at our fingertips via a computer, tablet or phone. In 1998, the Carmelite Order were one of the first orders to have a website, and then the Shrine website followed in 2003. By 2012 more than a third of the world’s population had access to the web, which was a 566% increase from 2000 back when the Carmelites were still finding their website ‘feet’. Now over five billion people are on the internet.
When Fr. Elias first founded the Shrine of Saint Jude, what I have written above would have been the work of a science fiction novel, but this is where we find ourselves now. We have 7,326 likes on our Facebook page and around 800 users per week visit our website. Of course, we are not unique - it is now possible to listen to the Pope whenever you want, and you can go to his back catalogue or can listen to him at the Angelus each day. Back in 1955, you had to wait for one of his predecessor’s encyclicals to come along. I have a very faint memory of when the Pope visited Britain in 1982 – literally the first time that had ever happened and it was an amazing experience – and I was only two! Now, it’s much easier to hear Pope Francis wherever or whenever.
So here we are in 2023, and we need to ask you a favour. Please can you help us to spread the knowledge of the Apostle Saint Jude and his Shrine? Can you ask friends and family to sign up to our quarterly newsletter either on email or via the post?
All are welcome – no-one is turned away because, as you know, Jude is the saint of hope. Let’s tell everyone and use the Shrine as a tool for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. Thank you.