On Saint Jude’s Day

I was free yesterday, Sunday, from having to be at the conference.  I had planned to see the sites and set out after breakfast to go to Mass.  The Google Maps app said that St Jude’s shrine was near walking distance.  So I went off for a nice walk.  It was a gorgeous day, and the sun was out.  I found St Jude’s Shrine and saw it was a small entrance where a few people were going through.  Mass would not be for another hour, so I went into the gift shop.  I heard a familiar language being spoken, and turned around to see a couple of Filipina women at the cash register by the door.  They saw me and I waved.  New friends!  I circled about looking at different items, and finally settled on a small statue of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  Then I wanted to get something else – and found this green bracelet that had St Jude’s medals.  Sold!  It was very appropriate to find yet a priest, from Africa, hanging around and so I approached him to ask him to bless them.  He did so with alacrity, and said a wonderful prayer for me, my family and friends, and then he traced a cross on my forehead.

I went upstairs to the Shrine, and where the chapel was – it was a bigger sized chapel, and was formed in a round configuration. The Shrine itself was in a side alcove, where many pilgrims were.  I stood off to one side, prayed for my intentions, and then went back to the chapel.  A rosary was being started so I joined in.  While the rosary was being prayed, a trickle of people started coming in to fill the pews. The trickle became heavy, and finally the chapel was packed.  It was amazing. The lady next to me said it was actually St Jude’s feast day! And busloads of pilgrims were coming to pray and help celebrate the Mass.  A beautiful chance that I happened on.  It made me feel quite misty eyed.

I think that chances like this must always be seen as a gift from God.  It tells of His love for people, His wish for people to want to love him back, and His wish to shower graces upon them.  One more thing I learned is that St Jude Thaddeus was a cousin of Jesus.  St Jude’s dad Cleophas was the brother of St Joseph.  I learned a lot yesterday.  And the little walking tour became a pilgrimage.

Getting ready

image I’m pretty excited – two of us at work are attending a conference for work.  I’m hoping that I’ll learn a lot, see the nice tourist spots (from the bus tour) and making new acquaintances, and might even see some coworkers from our other sister companies.  I’ve cleaned the house (still ongoing) so that I can rest easy knowing that when the pet sitter comes she won’t get freaked out by the mess.  I’ll be packing some books to read on the flight – there’s a really good one written by Pope Francis – Laudato Si, that I’m taking with me, and then keeping up with the book club I’m with by reading the required chapters of The Lamb’s Supper.  I have my Liturgy of the Hours on my cell phone as an app (I am grateful for this app – no more packing a huge book).  I’ll do a few more blogs while at the conference – hope there’s a chance for it! And maybe post some pictures of the occasional views and maybe a few selfies.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to go to this meeting.  We’ve already pledged to give a couple of talks (updates) when we get back to work!