St Leo the Great became Pope in 440. His famous meeting with Attila the Hun outside Rome saved the city from destruction then, although, despite his efforts, it was pillaged by Vandals in 455. His theological writings earned him the title of Doctor of the Church.
Having celebrated the saints in Heaven, the Church today turns her attentions to the Holy Souls in Purgatory – holy because Heaven awaits them but suffering the pain of purification in the crucible of God’s love. The process of purgation can also be assisted through our prayers, penances and good works.
On All Saints, the Church celebrates all those who are in Heaven – both those recognised by the Church as saints and those known only to the Lord.
The saints are not just heroic people who live in history books. They are ordinary Christians who tried to love God with their whole hearts. We can ask them to pray for us. Why would we do that?
Thaddeus, better known as Jude and most famous as the patron saint of lost causes, may have been Simon’s companion in death. They are venerated on the same day. There is a tradition to connect them - that they travelled together to Persia where they were martyred, after earlier and separate missionary journeys: Simon’s to Egypt and Jude’s to Syria.
One of the twelve apostles, St Jude is possibly the least well known, though famous for his power of intercession on behalf of those in difficult circumstances. Here Glynn MacNiven-Johnston pieces together his fascinating story.