St. Jude Prayer Book
Text: by Charles W. Dahm, O.P.

Novena Dates

Prayer to St. Jude Thaddeus

Most Holy Apostle, St. Jude Thaddeus, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered your beloved Master into the hands of his enemies has caused you to be forgotten by many. But the Church honors you, and I invoke you as the special advocate of those who are in trouble and almost without hope. Help me to realize that through our faith we triumph over life's difficulties by the power of Jesus who loved us and gave his life for us. Come to my assistance that I may receive the consolation and succor of heaven in all my needs, trials, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request) and that I may praise God with you and all the saints forever.

St. Jude, apostle of the Word of God, pray for us.
St. Jude, follower of the Son of God, pray for us.
St. Jude, preacher of the love of God, pray for us.
St. Jude, intercessor before God, pray for us.
St. Jude, friend of all in need, pray for us.
St. Jude, pray for us, and for all who invoke your aid.

St. Jude Hymn

Apostle of Jesus,
A witness to his Word
As helper of the needy,
Jude's name is ever heard;
A preacher of the Gospel
To poor and blind and lame,
A worker great of wonders
In Jesus' Holy Name.
All praise to the Father
And to his Son, Our Lord,
And to the Holy Spirit
Whose strength we have implored,
With all the saints in heaven
We join our voice as one
To pray as Jesus taught us,
Thy will be ever done.

Prayer for the Sick

Loving God, your Son accepted our sufferings to teach us the virtue of patience in human illness. Hear our prayers for our sick brothers and sisters. May all who suffer pain, illness, disease, and the frailty of old age realize that they have been chosen to be saints and know that they are joined to Christ in his suffering for the salvation of the world. Amen.

Prayer for a Happy Death

Lord Jesus, we are to appear before you after this short life to render an account of our works. Grant us the grace to prepare for our last hour by always living according to your commandments. Protect us from a sudden and unprovided death by teaching us to watch, to pray, and to wait in joyful hope for your coming as our Savior. If we are unable, at our last moments, to hear or understand the prayers of the Church, we wish to hear and rejoice in them now.

(In the prayers for the dying the priest says:)

We commend you, our dear brothers and sisters, to almighty God and entrust you to your Creator. May you return to God who formed you from the dust of the earth. Amen.

May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints come to meet you as you go forth from this life. Amen.

May Christ who was crucified for you bring you freedom and peace. May Christ who died for you admit you into his garden of paradise. May Christ, the true Shepherd, acknowledge you as one of his flock. Amen.

May the Lord forgive all your sins and set you among those he has chosen. May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the vision of God for ever. Amen.


St. Jude, Powerful Healer

(Day One)

St. Jude undoubtedly traveled with Jesus from village to village and witnessed Jesus' healing power. He may have seen his master cure the ten lepers, heal the woman suffering from hemorrhages and raise the dead to life. To the blind beggar who cried out, "Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!" he may have heard Jesus answer, "Receive your sight. Your faith has made you well." (Lk 18:39-43)

St. Jude was one of the disciples to whom Jesus "gave power and preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick." (Lk 9:1-2) He sent them out two by two, and to their amazement, "They drove out many demons, and rubbed oil on the sick and healed them." (Mk 6:13)

We may doubt that God wants what is best for us. We sometimes mistakenly think all suffering and sickness are punishment for sin. We forget how Jesus worked tirelessly to heal the infirm. When Jesus cured the man born blind, he explained, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him." (Jn 9:3)

St. Jude understood the Lord's desire to make people whole. After Jesus' ascension, St. Jude and the other apostles preached everywhere, and "the Lord worked through them and proved that their preaching was true by the miracles that were performed." (Mk 16:18) Jesus' words at the Last Supper were fulfilled in St. Jude, "Whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself and will perform even greater works." (Jn 14:12)


St. Jude, you witnessed the healing power of our Lord Jesus. You saw his compassion for the sick and dying. You yourself touched the sick, shared the sorrows of the mournful, and encouraged the despairing. You received this authority and healing power to work wonders, to cure the incurable, to make people whole. We ask you to intercede with our brother, Jesus, to send his saving grace to heal the sick and suffering, to uplift their despondent spirits, and to instill hope in their hearts. Amen.


I promise that in some way I will bring the good news of God's love to someone who is sick or infirm.

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St. Jude, Apostle of Prayer

(Day Two)

Jesus taught St. Jude how to pray with a faith that could move mountains. His prayer was inspired by Jesus' words: "Ask and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you." (Lk 11:9-10)

We sometimes think that God has abandoned us or that our prayers have fallen on deaf ears. St. Jude prayed with the confidence instilled by Jesus' teaching: "Look how the wild flowers grow; they never have to spin or weave; yet not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. How much more will God look after you?... Don't worry... Your Father knows what you need. Instead, set your hearts on God's kingdom, and these other things will be given you as well." (Lk 12:22-31)

Although we do not totally understand God's ways, we confidently place ourselves in God's hands, as Jesus himself did. St. Jude was with Jesus the night he prayed in the Garden. There, in agony, Jesus taught us how to pray: "Father, if it be possible, take this cup of suffering from me. Yet, not my will but yours be done." (Mt 26:39)

When we are insistent and confident in prayer, we also allow our prayer to transform our lives. We open our hearts to God's spirit, willingly accept the challenges God allows us and generously recommit ourselves to imitate Jesus. St. Jude understood the Lord's words, "It is not those who say to me 'Lord, Lord' who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father." (Mt 7:21)


St. Jude, through prayer you praised God for the wonderful works of Jesus. You asked God for the strength to meet the challenges of your apostolate. You put your trust in God's mercy, believing firmly that God loved you and understood your joys and sorrows, your hopes and fears, and your triumphs and failures. You understood that nothing is impos-sible for God. We ask you to pray for us now before the Most High so that we too might be filled with God's saving power, understand God's will for us and faithfully place ourselves in God's loving hands. Amen.


I recommit myself to pray daily with greater confidence and faith that God's will be done in me.

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St. Jude, Suffering Christian

(Day Three)

Like the other apostles, St. Jude suffered a martyr's death because he was committed to carry out the mission of our Lord. He accepted Jesus challenge, "If any want to follow me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me." (Lk 9:23)

In the midst of his difficulties St. Jude trusted the Lord, who said, "Come to me all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden light." (Mt 11:28-30)

St. Jude undoubtedly understood that his sufferings were joined to those of Jesus and therefore were also redemptive. St. Paul declared, "I am happy to suffer for you, for by means of my sufferings, I help complete what still remains of Christ's sufferings on behalf of his body, the church." (Col 1:24)

St. Jude was human. He felt pain as we do. But he remembered the suffering of Jesus, his sense of abandonment on the cross, when he cried out "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" (Mt 27:46) These memories helped St. Jude endure his pain because he knew he suffered in union with the Lord.

In our sufferings we reflect on those of our Savior, Jesus. He was spit upon, beaten, and nailed to the cross where he hung in agony for three hours. Perhaps the most painful suffering that pierced his heart was the rejection by the people's leaders and the abandonment by his friends. Nevertheless, Jesus was faithful until the end when he cried out, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." (Lk 23:46)


St. Jude, you remained faithful to our Lord, even unto death. You gave your life so that others might live. You endured physical pain and emotional abandonment. But you gladly joined your sufferings to those of our Savior, Jesus, and thus shared in the redemption of the world. We ask you now to intercede with our brother, Jesus Christ, so that we too might be faithful in the face of our suffering. Help us to trust in God and put our life in his hands. Amen.


I will join all my sufferings to those of Jesus for the redemption of the world, and I will encourage someone who is suffering.

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St. Jude, Champion of Justice and Peace

(Day Four)

Like the other apostles, St. Jude learned to struggle for justice and peace by accompanying Jesus and listening to his teaching. He heard the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus taught, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God....Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers. Be happy and glad, for a great reward awaits you in heaven." (Mt 5: 9, 11-12)

St. Jude wrote in his letter, "I encourage you to fight on for the faith which once and for all God has given to people." (Jude 1:3) St. Jude struggled for all that Jesus worked to establish. As did Jesus, he preached the Good News to the poor, proclaimed liberty to captives, restored sight to the blind, and set free the oppressed. (Lk 4: 18)

We sometimes resist the Lord's challenge to work for God's reign of justice and peace. We fear criticism and conflict; we seek comfort and convenience. Not St. Jude! He fought non-violently for peace through reconcilation and compassion, and understood that without justice there is no true peace.

For his commitment to the reign of justice and peace, St. Jude suffered, just as Jesus had predicted, "You will be hated on account of my name." (Mt 10:22) Nevertheless, he enjoyed the peace promised by the Lord at the Last Supper when he said: "Peace I give to you, my own peace I leave you; a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you." (Jn 14:27)


St. Jude, you courageously preached the Word of God in the most difficult situations. Like Jesus, you defended the poor and oppressed and challenged the rich and powerful. When threatened with death, you did not resort to violence or despair but recalled Jesus' words of peace and forgiveness. Hear our prayer, today, for peace and justice in our world. Ask the Lord to give us the courage to stand up for what is right. Pray that we be effective peacemakers like you, especially in the world where there is war and oppression, in our communities where there is violence and strife, and in our families where there is conflict and tension. Amen.


I promise to act against some injustice and take some action that will restore peace somewhere in the world.

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St. Jude, Servant of God's People

(Day Five)

St. Jude was privileged to accompany Jesus nearly every day. He learned from the Lord how God loves us and how we must love one another.

At times we may want others to serve us, to do our bidding and to attend to our needs. Sometimes we compete with others in order to be first or the best. Like St. Jude, we need to learn from Jesus, "Anyone who wants to be great, must be the servant of the rest, and anyone who wants to be first, must be the slave of all, like the Son of Man, who did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life to redeem many." (Mt 20:26-28)

At the Last Supper Jesus showed St. Jude and the other apostles how they were to serve. He washed their feet and then said, "I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you." (Jn 13:15)

St. Jude did not look for a reward for doing good for others. Rather, he lived what Jesus taught, "When you have done all you have been told to do, say, 'We are merely servants; we have done no more than our duty.'" (Lk 17:10)

St. Jude fulfilled the greatest commandments identified by Jesus: to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, and our whole mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. (Mt 22:37-40) Jesus wants us to love like this, just as he does: "As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you do love one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples." (Jn 13:34-35)


St. Jude, although you were chosen by Jesus as one of the twelve apostles, you learned not to be proud, not to pursue honors or the highest places. Instead, you humbled yourself in the service of your sisters and brothers. We pray that you help us to serve with a more generous heart, to sacrifice our own interest for the good of others. Intercede for us with our crucified Christ, who humbled himself on the cross, who sacrificed his life that we might live. May we imitate him by a life of dedicated, selfless service to others. Amen.


I will do some service for those who need it most or expect it least.

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St. Jude, Compassionate Reconciler

(Day Six)

St. Jude was a human being like all of us, and forgiveness did not come easily to him. He learned how to forgive others from the Master, our Lord, Jesus. He probably was shocked to hear Jesus say, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," so that you may "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mt 5:44, 48) But that is just what he did, and so must we.

Jesus extended his mercy and forgiveness to sinners and even to those who attacked him. Even when he was dying on the cross, Jesus forgave his executioners, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." (Lk 23:34)

Like Paul, St. Jude preached that we should not let the sun go down upon our anger. (Eph 4:26) If we have anything against anyone, we must first reconcile with that person before presenting our gift at the altar. (Mt 5:23-24)

Can we really forgive those who have offended us? And how many times can we forgive? When Peter asked Jesus that question, St. Jude probably heard about Jesus' answer: "Not seven times seven, but seventy times seven." (Mt 18:22)

When teaching St. Jude and the other apostles how to pray, Jesus explained, "If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you." (Mt 6:14) For this reason we ask for the strength to forgive those who have offended us as we pray the words Jesus taught us, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."


St. Jude, apostle of mercy and reconciliation, help us to forgive one another. You understand the depth of God's compassion and our hesitancy to forgive. You learned how to be merciful from Jesus, the Son of God. He taught you how to forgive those who persecuted you and put you to death. Intercede for us now before our compassionate God that we might forgive those who have offended us. Help us to remove every trace of hatred, bitterness or revenge from our hearts. May we have the strength to forgive as God forgives. Amen.


I will forgive someone who has offended me and try to reconcile myself with that person.

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St. Jude, Preacher of the Good News of God's Reign

(Day Seven)

Jesus trained St. Jude and sent him and others to outlying villages to preach the Good News and work for the Kingdom of God. After Jesus ascended into heaven, St. Jude continued the Lord's work and followed his command, "Go, therefore; make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I have given you. And know that I am with you always, even, to the end of time." (Mt 28:19-20)

We sometimes think that we are not called or sent; mistakenly we think we have nothing to offer to the world or that we lack sufficient knowledge or power to change anything. We forget that through baptism we were commissioned just like St. Jude, "You are the salt of the earth....You are the light of the world....Your light must shine before all, so that, seeing your good works, they may praise your Father in heaven." (Mt 5:13-16) Jesus warned us not to hide our light under a basket.

St. Jude knew how to bring the Good News of Jesus to others. He learned from the Lord that whenever we give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick or imprisoned, we befriend Jesus himself. (Mt 25:31-46)

St. Jude courageously announced the Good News of God's love and energetically preached the coming of God's reign of justice, peace, and love wherever he went. He remembered Jesus' words at the Last Supper, "In the world you will have trouble, but be brave; I have conquered the world." (Jn 16:33)


St. Jude, you left home and traveled afar in order to bring the Good News of God's love to all the nations. You preached enthusiastically about what you learned personally from the words and works of our Lord, Jesus. You courageously faced criticism, rejection and eventually martyrdom. Ask the Lord to send us his Spirit so that we might be faithful messengers of God's love, forgiveness and justice to our selfish, violent and unjust world. Help us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world by the loving and compassionate way we speak to and treat one another. Amen.


I will act on my faith and bring the Good News of Jesus Christ by word, deed and example to someone.

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St. Jude, Advocate of Difficult Cases

(Day Eight)

St. Jude was not only a follower of Jesus but probably his cousin and friend as well. His close relationship to Jesus not only changed his life but made him a powerful advocate on our behalf. From Jesus he learned about God's boundless compassion and infinite power. He learned not to doubt God's wisdom but confidently to trust divine mercy.

St. Jude understood how we all desire to be close to Jesus, to be his friend, to feel the warmth of his love and to experience his healing power. St. Jude heard the Lord say, "I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learned from my Father. You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and the Father will give you anything you ask in my name." (Jn 15:15-16)

At times we despair of God's love for us or at least doubt that God hears our prayer. We question: "Why has this happened to me?" "Where is the Lord when I need him?"

We come to St. Jude because we believe he is a man of faith and understands that nothing is impossible for God. He believed what Jesus had told him at the Last Supper, "If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it." (Jn 14:14) He heard Jesus say, "...with God everything is possible." (Mk 10:27)


St. Jude, you are Jesus' cousin and friend. Accompanying him on his journeys and watching him cure the sick, you felt his infinite compassion and experienced his saving grace. You believed that he has the words of eternal life and power over sickness and death. Intercede for us now so that we might feel the comfort of his friendship, the warmth of his presence, and the healing power of his spirit. Because nothing is impossible for our God, pray that the Spirit will make us whole in body and soul. Amen.


I promise to encourage someone who is facing a seemingly hopeless situation.

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St. Jude, Founder of the Church

(Day Nine)

As one of the twelve apostles, St. Jude is a part of the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ. (Rev 21:14) Wherever he traveled, he established communities of faith in which "the faithful lived together and owned everything in common... sharing among themselves according to what each one needed. Day after day they went as a body to the temple but met in their houses for the breaking of bread; they shared their food gladly and generously." (Acts 2:44-46)

St. Jude believed in unity and equality within the Church. Like St. Paul, he understood that "all of us are part of Christ's body." (I Cor 12: 27) Because we are all equal in Christ, St. Jude professed with St. Paul, "There is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free, between men and women; we are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3:28)

Jesus promised the apostles that he would send his Spirit, the advocate, "to lead them to complete truth." (Jn 16:13) On Pentecost, they received that Spirit "like a powerful wind from heaven," and began to make bold proclamations as the Spirit prompted them. (Acts 2:2,4) They overcame their fear and preached with wisdom and strength.

The Lord calls us to be active members of our parish communities, sharing our gifts and placing them at the service of others. We need to overcome our fears, timidity and selfish individualism in order to join with others to share our faith, unite in prayer, and work together to build up Christ's body, which is the church. Jesus longed that we all be one as he and the Father are one. May we work for that unity and equality among all believers in Jesus Christ.


St. Jude, you traveled far and wide to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to all nations. You gathered people into communities of faith so that they might live the Gospel of the Lord, sharing their lives and resources, joining their hearts and minds in the Lord. You recognized the dignity of all, the diversity of gifts, and the equality among all God's children. Pray to the Lord to send his Spirit to our church leaders and to each of us so that we might create unity and equality amid the division and discrimination in our church communities. Help us overcome our own fear, our timidity or self-centeredness in order to place our gifts at the service of our sisters and brothers in our local church communities. Amen.


I will do something to help build up my local church.

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What is a Novena?

As Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, he told the apostles to remain in Jerusalem until they had received the Holy Spirit. While waiting, they devoted themselves to prayer. (Acts 1:14) The Church celebrates the Ascension of Jesus on a Thursday and nine days later the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. The Church began to set aside prayer for nine days, or a novena, from the Latin word for "nine," in remembrance of those original nine days of prayer. But there is nothing magical about the number nine. We can pray for a special need for as many days as we wish.

Chain Letters

Some people receive chain letters promising good luck if one sends copies of the letter to other people. The letters also threaten misfortune if the receiver does not send the copies or breaks the chain. Who-ever writes or sends these letters is acting out of superstition or fear. To cooperate in this superstition, either out of a desire for money or out of fear, is a sign of a lack of faith in the wisdom and goodness of God and could do great harm to the faith and peace of mind of others.

The superstitious person thinks he or she can control God by the number of prayers said or letters sent. The faithful person knows that she or he is loved by God. The faithful person trusts in that love - not in "luck." Please destroy these letters! Do not be afraid! God does not play games with us.

Directions To The Shrine

Our Shrine of St. Jude is located in the Church of St. Pius V on the corner of 19th Street and Ashland Avenue, on Chicago's near southwest side. The St. Jude Gift Shop and parking lot are located directly across from the church.

Map to St. Jude Shrine

For times of Shrine services call us at 312-226-0020.

Devotion to St. Jude Thaddeus

It is uncertain how the devotion to St. Jude as the patron of difficult or hopeless cases began. Confusion between St. Jude and the apostle who betrayed Jesus, Judas Iscariot, may have discour-aged devotion to the former for many centuries. Although there seems to have been devotion to him in the Middle Ages, it was not until more recent times that the devotion became widely popular.

The Catholic Church believes that the Church on earth lives in union with the Church in heaven. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. As we pray to God for one another, we often ask the saints to intercede for us. The Church teaches that "true devotion to the saints does not consist so much in the multiplication of exterior acts as in the intensity of an active love, through which, for our greater good and that of the Church, we look to the saints for the example of their lives, a share in their fellowship and the help of their intercession." (II Vatican Council, Constitution Lumen Gentium, #51)

The Catholic Church also teaches that the Triune God is the source of all life and grace. Catholics pray to St. Jude as a brother, pleading with him to join in our prayer before the Most High. Many people believe, primarily through experience and the testimony of others, that St. Jude is a powerful intercessor with God. It is God, however, who answers our prayers and grants us all good gifts.

St. Jude's Life

The New Testament provides little information about the apostle and saint, Jude Thaddeus. It appears he was a close relative of Jesus. Mary Cleophas, the mother of two brother apostles, St. Jude and St. James the Less, was a cousin of the Virgin Mary. Many think that these two brothers together with two other brothers (St. Simon of Jerusalem and Joses) are those described by St. Matthew (13:55) as the "brothers" of Jesus. In many languages, including Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, the word "brother" also refers to cousins.

St. Luke's Gospel includes Jude in the list of the 12 apostles (6:16) and St. John mentions him (14:22). St. Matthew (10:3) and St. Mark (3:18) use the name Thaddeus without Jude. Catholic scripture scholars have long held that Jude and Thaddeus are the same person, and that is why the church speaks of St. Jude Thaddeus.

Although post-biblical traditions have described parts of his ministry, no reliable documentation exists to support those details. According to one popular story, Jesus entrusted his image to Jude after Jesus was called to heal King Abagaro of Edessa from leprosy. Impressed by the king's faith, Jesus pressed his image on a cloth and asked Jude to bring it to the king and cure him. After being cured, the king and his people became Christians. For this reason, St. Jude is often depicted carrying an image of Jesus in his hand. Also, his image usually includes a tongue of fire over his head symbolizing that St. Jude is an apostle who received the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

Another tradition relates that St. Jude traveled throughout Mesopotamia preaching the Good News of God's love. A letter, the penultimate book of the Bible, is attributed to him. According to another tradition, St. Jude was martyred in a most brutal fashion, clubbed to unconsciousness, his head shattered with an ax. Later his body was placed in a crypt in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Description of the Icon

This icon of St. Jude was painted by Vladimir Ters for the Church of St. Jude, Lakewood, Colorado.

The colors are of ancient use: the orange is taken from the earth and is very common in icon work; the green from the plants of the earth and an obvious symbol of hope. The grass on which St. Jude walks is clear because weeds do not grow where the saints walk; the brush strokes behind represent flowers.

St. Jude is leaning forward extending his hand, a gesture that points toward our common vocation to follow the Lord; his outstretched hand also represents the hope he offers for the discouraged and downtrodden. His shoulders are stooped because he carries the needs of so many.

He carries a shepherd's staff (not the club usually seen) because the artist wanted to emphasize his role as one of the twelve apostles. His eyes are full of compassion and, like so many other icons, look beyond us, leading us to the eternal union with the Trinity.

Nihil Obstat:
Reverend Charles R. Meyer, S.T.D.
Censor Deputatus
September 3, 1997
Imprimi Potest:
Edward M. Ruane, O.P., Prior Provincial
Province of St. Albert the Great, U.S.A.
October 2, 1997
Most Reverend Raymond E. Goedert, M.A., S.T.L., J.C.L.
Vicar General
Archdiocese of Chicago
September 5, 1997
© Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus
The Dominicans
1909 S. Ashland Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60608
October 28, 1997
The Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur are official declarations that a book is free of doctrinal and moral error. No implication is contained therein that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur agree with the content, opinions, or statements expressed.
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