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St. Jude Thaddeus is a popular saint around the world. Jude was one of the twelve apostles in the list given by St. Luke and in the Acts of the Apostles. Jude is the saint who has been honoured for many centuries as the Patron of Difficult Cases. When Brother Stephen Lucas O.P. arrived Yaba on the 17th October 1959 to begin a long missionary life among the people in Lagos, the thought came to him to ask St. Jude, a saint he was so familiar with, to bless his work, his life and encourage the faithful to support vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

It was that very month, 28th October, Feast of St. Jude, that Brother Stephen asked five or six newly made friends to pray with him to St. Jude on the evening of his feast. This was the beginning of the St. Jude Apostolate, and the Shrine of St. Jude in Yaba. Prayers to St. Jude were printed and recited every evening by the faithful after the evening rosary in the church. Father Michael Dempsey O.P., the then parish priest encouraged this devotion. In 1960, at the request of Brother Stephen the Dominican Shrine in Chicago sent a beautiful shrine of St. Jude to St. Dominic’s Parish. Petition slips were printed and distributed to the parishioners and carried into other parishes, and the devotion to St. Jude began to spread.

Rev. Bro. Stephen Lucas, O.P with Archbishop Adewale Martins

In March 1961, the first Triduum of Prayer to St. Jude was held at St. Dominic’s and in October of that year the first Solemn Novena of Masses began. In the year 1965, the Shrine of St. Jude in Yaba began sponsoring three novenas a year. It was years later (1969) that we witnessed the first preached Novena of Masses, our Novena Preacher being Father James McHatton O.P.

The years that followed the Shrine of St. Jude graciously grew with a mailing list of over 20,000 friends, all joining their prayers for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. In 1967 Archbishop Beradine Ganton, Archbishop of Cotonou, Dahomey (now Benin), invited the Shrine to promote St. Jude in his Archdiocese and a year later Bishop Sarpong of Kumasi asked that our Dominicans in Kumasi promote St. Jude and spread devotion to him. Shrine offices were opened in both cities.

To celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Shrine of St. Jude in Yaba, a Triduum of Masses was celebrated from the 26th to 28th October, 1984. Bishop Michael Dempsey, O.P. preached and Archbishop Anthony Okogie joined in the celebration with a beautiful good-will message which was read to the thousand of friends and benefactors of St. Jude on that day.

The Lord heard our prayers through the intercession of St. Jude, Our Wonder Worker. The total number of Dominicans from our newly formed Dominican Province of St. Joseph the Worker number 142 priests and Brothers, postulants, novices, simple and solemnly professed, ordained priests and our first Nigerian Dominican Bishop who was ordained to serve the people of Nigeria. St. Jude will also answer your prayers and petitions; knock and it will be opened to you.

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