Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What does this mean?

This sentence can be found at the end of a biography of St. Jude Thaddeus from a shrine to the saint in San Francisco:
"A new booklet of devotions to Saint Jude has been written and prepared in accord with the mind and wishes of Vatican Council II.  This booklet is available through the Shrine."
Now, if you're like me, you read that line and say to yourself, "Uh oh, wacky lib alert!"  I have found that, usually, any time someone wants to cite the "mind and wishes" of V2, rather than the actual words of V2, then something smells funky.  But then, I present to you another item from their gift shop:

Sure enough, I looked in the Book of Blessings, and under the section dealing with the "blessing of food or drink or other elements connected with devotion".  Paragraph 1795 gives an assortment of blessings, and among them is a blessing for oil which says, "May all who use this oil (in honor of Saint N.) be blessed with health of mind and body."

So apparently a clergyman can bless oil for use of anointing in honor of any saint you want.  I never knew that.


Unknown said...


Given the vast number of beati awaiting a miracle for full canonization as saints... I immediately was left to wonder if the same can be done for them.

If it is the case, I am going to move hell and highwater to get some oil blessed in the name of Bl. Theodore Romzha!

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

My great-aunt stocks up on St. Anthony's Oil at St. Anthony Shrine in Paterson. That was the first I'd heard of this practice. I had no idea until now that it was extended to other saints as well! I just thought it was a St. Anthony thing, like the blessed bread.

John said...

The Saint Jude Shrine is in our church, St Dominic's, in San Francisco. (Oils and statues and stuff are sold from the shrine office across the street, and I haven't any knowledge of them.)

But the shrine and its pilgrims are, to me, endlessly fascinating and charming. I'm an usher, and I've come to be able to spot shrine people approaching, and spare them the slight embarrassment of refusing a Mass program.

It is especially Hispanics who are devoted to St Jude. I don't know why. We have a pilgrim mass in Spanish every Sunday. People, often extended families, come long distances to pray here. Candles are lit by the thousands. I've been told that they actually make it unnecessary to heat the church itself.