Fr. Michail Ford, O.P.
Dominican Friars, Central Province
Our Mission at the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus in Chicago is twofold. First, we pray. For 85 years now, the Shrine has been interceding for millions of people who have asked for our prayers. We pray over each request and offer Masses on request. We celebrate five Solemn Novenas to St. Jude Thaddeus each year in different locations all over the country.
Second, we are on our way to becoming a center for the revival of Catholic devotions in the United States. In particular we reach out to our neighbors around the country by preaching and teaching our Catholic traditions regarding patron saints, novenas, and veneration of relics in a way that makes sense in today’s world. The response so far has been tremendous.
We began this new outreach during our Solemn Novena in October at St. Vincent Ferrer School in River Forest, Illinois by speaking with the 8th grade confirmation classes. During the January Solemn Novena in St. Louis, Missouri, we brought our message to five different parishes, reaching well over a thousand people. A later visit to Peoria, Illinois, allowed us to speak with 120 grade school children about a valuable Catholic tradition – asking Saints to pray with us and for us. Over 400 people attended the Blessing Mass later that evening.
In Ave Maria, Florida, we celebrated Masses, venerated the arm relic of St. Jude, and discussed the importance of Catholic devotions with hundreds of students and faculty at Ave Maria University, a college dedicated to forming Catholic leaders of the future, as well as at the Ave Maria Quasi Parish in the town center. At St. William Catholic Church in Naples, Florida, we reached an additional 300 people during and after a St. Jude Blessing Mass.
In March we celebrated a Solemn Novena at St. Jude Catholic Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and visited the University of New Mexico, four grade schools and one home-school coop.
We don’t see the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude in Chicago as a destination, but rather as a launching point for our ministry of hope. We hope you will continue to join us in this ministry and we look forward to making new neighbors along the way!