Ancient Relic of St. Jude the Apostle to Tour US Beginning in September

“It’s the first time the arm of the saint — the major relic of [St. Jude] — has left Italy,” Father Martins said.

A candle of St. Jude
A candle of St. Jude (photo: Francesca Pollio / CNA)

The arm of St. Jude, a relic of “one of Jesus Christ’s closest collaborators,” will be touring the U.S. for several months beginning in September, a Catholic evangelization ministry announced this week. 

Father Carlos Martins, the director of the ministry Treasures of the Church, told “EWTN News Nightly” host Tracy Sabol on Monday that the relic “is coming to America for a nine-month tour,” with its first stop scheduled for St. John Cantius Church in Chicago on Sept. 9. 

“It will be hosted in various churches, schools, prisons, across different states, from now until May 2024,” Father Martins told Sabol. 

“It’s the first time the arm of the saint — the major relic of [St. Jude] — has left Italy,” Father Martins said. 

In a press release on Monday, Treasures of the Church said the tour “offers a unique opportunity for devotees and the curious alike to experience a connection with one of the most venerated figures in Christian history.”

“Regarded as the patron saint of lost causes and desperate situations,” Father Martins said in the release, “the visit provides an opportunity for individuals to experience intimacy with someone who dwells in heaven and beholds God face-to-face. It allows devotees to receive his blessing and entrust him with their petitions.”

The tour, Father Martins said, comes amid “the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic,” offering the faithful a unique opportunity for healing during a time of continued suffering. 

“Many still grieve a loved one claimed by the virus, numerous folks suffer the effects of long COVID and other pandemic-related medical conditions; long-term isolation has led to depression for many and deterioration in mental health; there is widespread distrust of public policy and media reporting; and many face economic hardship due to closed businesses and inflation,” Martins said.

“The apostle’s visit is an effort by the Catholic Church to give comfort and hope to all who need it.”

Jude is identified as “the Lord’s first cousin,” according to Treasures of the Church; he was one of Christ’s Twelve Apostles and is believed to have been martyred in Beirut several decades after Christ’s death and resurrection.

History records his body as having been transferred to a tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica centuries after his death; his arm was subsequently removed and placed in a reliquary in the shape of a priest’s hand giving a blessing.

Treasures of the Church notes in its press release that the long-standing Catholic tradition of relic veneration “is not worship but a way to honor and draw near to the saints and to petition for their prayers since they are with God.”