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Hopelessly devoted to Jude.

What good fortune I have to be the director of two of the Claretians' thriving ministries: Claretian Publications and the St. Jude League. The two are intimately connected, in that U.S. CATHOLIC originally grew out of a devotional publication called The Voice of St. Jude.

It is when I am at our National Shrine of St. Jude in Chicago that I understand why we call it a place of hope and solace. People from all walks of life--young and old, Hispanics, African Americans, Caucasians, Filipinos--flock to the shrine seeking comfort through their devotion to St. Jude, the patron saint of seemingly hopeless or difficult cases. Hundreds of thousands of devotees around the world write to us about their devotion; these people form the St. Jude League as a community of believers who pray and journey together toward inner conversion and confidence in a God who walks with us.

During this time of war, attendance at the shrine is up, just as it was when the shrine first came into being 75 years ago during the Depression. Parents of soldiers in Iraq write letters and come to the shrine, seeking the peace that so many find in their prayer to St. Jude.

I have met people at the solemn novena services--nine days of prayer five times each year--who have been attending the novenas there for 40 years. Many have terribly difficult challenges in their lives. One letter I recently read from a devotee said that she would "continue to pray to St. Jude with hope, faith, and confidence." This is an expression of what the devotion is all about.

This month as we mark the 75th anniversary of the National Shrine of St. Jude and its St. Jude League, we celebrate the steadfast hope and faith that God--and St. Jude--is on our side. For a peek at the roots of this devotion (and of this magazine), check out the archival photos and story by John Kuenster, "St. Jude prays for us" (pages 38-41). Kuenster also is the author of a new book, How Saint Jude Came to Chicago (Claretian Publications).

Fast-forward to the present--and possibly history in the making--as the country prepares for next month's presidential election, in which religion and politics seem to be center stage. We offer several political perspectives in this issue of U.S. CATHOLIC, beginning with an interview with Catholic political commentator Mark Shields (pages 12-16). Robert J. McClory examines the controversial arena of prolife politics in "Irreconcilable differences?" (pages 18-23), while Michael J. Daley argues that "It's a sin not to vote" in Sounding Board (pages 24-28). Finally, Margin Notes columnist Kevin Clarke has a memo for John Kerry and George Bush (page 35).

Our political process may not be hopeless, but a few prayers to St. Jude probably wouldn't hurt.
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Title Annotation:editors' note
Author:Molyneux, John
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Previous Article:Alone with the alone.
Next Article:Religious fruitcakes.

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