Today starts the Solemn Novena of St. Jude through February 20. Novenas have a rich history in the Catholic church. A novena is a prayer petition said over a course of time. The following is from the National Shrine of St. Jude's website:
St. Jude is traditionally depicted carrying the image of Jesus in his hand. This represents the imprint of the divine Countenance that was entrusted to him by Jesus. King Abagar of Edessa asked Jesus to cure him of leprosy and sent an artist to bring him a drawing of Jesus. Impressed with Abagar's great faith, Our Lord pressed his face on a cloth and gave it to St. Jude to take to Abagar and cure him. The King was cured and converted to Christianity along with most of his subjects.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, St. Jude traveled throughout Mesopotamia, Libya, and Persia with St. Simon preaching and converting many to Christianity.
St. Jude died a martyr's death. Later, his body was brought to Rome and placed in a crypt under St. Peter's Basilica.
PRAYER TO ST. JUDE
Most holy apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant
and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and
invokes you universally, as the patron of
hopeless cases, of things almost despaired
of. Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone.
Make use I implore you, of that particular
privilege given to you, to bring visible and
speedy help where help is almost despaired
of. Come to my assistance in this great need
that I may receive the consolation and
help of heaven in all my necessities,
tribulations, and sufferings, particularly
(here make your request) and that I may
praise God with you and all the elect
forever. I promise, O blessed St. Jude, to be
ever mindful of this great favor, to always
honor you as my special and powerful
patron, and to gratefully encourage
devotion to you. Amen.
Saints are our intercessors in heaven. We pray to them not in replacement of God or Christ, but as a trusted friend. Tell St. Jude (or any saint that you feel a bond with) to tap our Lord on the shoulder and ask Him to hear your prayer.