28 October: Feast of Saints Simon and Jude. Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saints Simon and Jude whose names occur together in the Canon of the Mass. These Apostles of Jesus were both early missionaries of the Church. Saint Jude, also named Judas Thaddaeus or just Thaddaeus, had the abbreviated forename of “Jude” to be clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot. Saint Jude was the Apostle who asked the Lord at the Last Supper why He had manifested Himself only to His disciples and not to the whole world (John 14:22). Tradition holds that Saint Jude preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Syria, Mesopotamia and Libya. The Apostles Jude and Bartholomew are believed to have been the first to bring Christianity to Armenia. St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Bernard had visions from God in which they were shown St. Jude as “The Patron Saint of the Impossible.” Saint Simon, also known as Simon the Zealot or Simon the Canaanite, was one of the most obscure among the apostles of Jesus. Not much is known about him; but he is thought to have been a fisherman. Born at Cana in Galilee, St. Simon was surnamed the Zealot because of his affiliation with “the Zealots” (a Jewish political party in opposition to pagan Rome). After Pentecost, Simon preached the Gospel in Persia, Asian Minor, and Egypt. He joined St. Jude in Syria and they were martyred there together. Simon is represented in art with a saw, the instrument of his martyrdom. Ancient tradition says St. Simon was sawed in half and St. Jude was beheaded with an axe. Saint Simon is the patron saint of curriers, sawyers, sawmen and tanners. Saint Jude is the patron saint of desperate situations, lost or impossible causes, hospitals and hospital workers.
O God, who by the blessed Apostles have brought us to acknowledge your name, graciously grant, through the intercession of Saints Simon and Jude, that the Church may constantly grow by increase of the peoples who believe in you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (from The Roman Missal)
Ideas for celebrating this feast day at home:
- An idea for making “Apostle Cookies” can be found here.
- Recipes for Egyptian foods (remembering the work these saints did in Egypt) can be found here. Another recipe for Koshari (an Egyptian comfort food) is here. As a nod to Simon the fisherman, fish would be another fitting menu idea for today.
- Remembering the zeal and missionary work of Saints Jude and Simon, discuss these questions around your family table: What does service to Christ mean? How can each of us serve others in the name of Jesus? What small sacrifices can we make for the happiness of others? Can we work together toward a common good as Simon and Jude did?
- In honor of Saint Jude and his powerful intercession, make a family “Prayer Board” – a place where everyone in the family can put prayer requests in a visible spot. Prayer board ideas here.
- Pray a novena to St. Jude: bring him your biggest, most stressful concerns.
- The word apostle means ‘one sent on a mission’ or ‘a person who first advocates an important belief.’ How can you be a Christian apostle? Use this feast day as a reminder to boldly share your faith; possibly with someone you already know.