Saturday, October 29, 2016


St Jude Procession in the late 1950s or early 60s with Fr Kieran

A lot of what I am about to say cannot be proven with documents.

It's what I heard from a few older people, but older people who I believe, because they were in positions at the time that lend credibility to their story.


It's a mysterious thing, because, prior to the founding of Saint Jude's in Sinajaña after the war, the Chamorros had no devotion to Saint Jude. Most never even heard of him, except perhaps when they would, at times, hear or read of the full list of Twelve Apostles.

Before the war, the Chamorros had no nobena to Saint Jude. No one had ever seen a statue of Saint Jude on Guam before the war. The Chamorros didn't even have a Chamorro hymn to Saint Jude.

How, then, did this saint, unknown to the Chamorros, get to be the patron of the new parish in Sinajaña after the war?


It wasn't just the Chamorros before the war who didn't know much at all about Saint Jude. The great majority of Catholics all over the world in those days knew almost nothing about him. This was the case for two reasons.

First, most of the individual Twelve Apostles were given little attention. What do you know, for example, of Saint Bartholomew or Saint Simon?

No; most of the attention went to the "biggies" among the Twelve Apostles. Saint Peter, Saint John and then in decreasing order, Saint Matthew, Saint Andrew, Saint James (two of them) and so on.

The second reason is due to another "biggie" among the Twelve Apostles, but a biggie in a bad way. Judas the Traitor. Because Judas Iscariot the Traitor and Jude Thaddeus have the same first name (Judas; Jude is just another version of the name Judas), poor Jude Thaddeus suffered from negative association with the bad Judas. It's something like unfortunate people who had the last name Hitler, who were not even related to the bad Hitler (Adolf) but who had to change their name after World War II because of Adolf.

In a similar way, people tended to ignore Saint Jude Thaddeus, so as to avoid the whole topic of Judas Iscariot.


But Jude Thaddeus was a separate person, the opposite of the bad Judas. Jude Thaddeus became a martyr and saint, and not a traitor like the other Judas.

Jude Thaddeus preached in Armenia, and he is highly venerated by the Armenians to this day. Many centuries later, the Dominican priests went to Armenia as missionaries and there they saw the great devotion of the Armenians towards Saint Jude Thaddeus. The Dominicans started to promote the veneration of Saint Jude all over the world, wherever the Dominican Order was present. If Saint Jude is better known today in the Church, it is due in large part to the Dominicans.


One place the Dominicans were was Hong Kong, a British colony at the time.

In the 1930s, a man from Guam, with Manila connections, found himself in Hong Kong doing business. His name was Francisco (Paco) Muña de la Cruz, son of Eulogio de la Cruz. Eulogio was a Filipino living on Guam, married to a Chamorro. Eulogio seems to have engaged in business and had Manila connections. Paco went to Manila in the 1920s and 30s to also engage in business. He then branched out into Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, Paco became acquainted with Saint Jude, thanks to the Dominicans who were in Hong Kong. Paco personally began a devotion to this saint during his time in Hong Kong.

Dominican Priory in Hong Kong


After World War II, Sinajaña changed from a small, agricultural village of 1300 people to a crowded town of 9000 people in 1950. It was the biggest village on Guam for many years, competing with Barrigada which at times was also the biggest village depending on what year in the 1950s and 60s.

The Church decided to establish an actual parish in this new main village of Guam. The old and small chapel before the war had been under the title of Dulce Nombre de Maria, the same as the Hagåtña Cathedral. The Church wanted to build a bigger church and give it a new patron.

From a small group of elders, I learned that Paco de la Cruz, and his half-sister Ana Pérez Torres (wife of Judge Vicente "Ben" Reyes), suggested that Saint Jude be chosen as the patron of this new parish. Ana had also spent time before the war in Hong Kong with Paco, and may have become acquainted with Saint Jude that way.

Ana Reyes was a resident and parishioner in Sinajaña. Paco was, as well, till he moved to Hagåtña, where he opened the Guam Academy of Music and Arts, with his Filipina wife, Carmen (Meling) Romuladez de la Cruz.

A nobena to Saint Jude was translated into Chamorro, but a Chamorro hymn to Saint Jude was not composed until the early 1970s by Jesus Arriola Sonoda of Saipan, who was, at the time, a Capuchin brother named Brother Marion. I was told that it was Paco de la Cruz's copy of the English novena to Saint Jude that someone translated into Chamorro.

In the photo above, you can see Paco de la Cruz on the far right. There are also people connected to his half-sister Ana Reyes. Ana's sisters Asunción Torres and María Limtiaco are seen, as well as Ana's brother-in-law Antonio Artero. Photo was taken in Sinajaña right after the war. American military men are also in the pic.

Paco's half-sister, Ana Reyes, and yours truly

As I mentioned, I have no documents to prove any of this. But the older people who told me this information are credible. And it does explain why this unknown saint became Sinajaña's patron. The dots are all connected.

Saint Jude - Armenia - Dominicans - Hong Kong - Paco de la Cruz - Sinajaña

It's just that few people knew the story. It wasn't considered a big deal who made the suggestion. People didn't take "credit" for those things in those days. So people didn't talk about it, and thus the information was not passed down except to a few.

If this story is right, and perhaps we will never know while here on earth, at least I won't die and not pass on this story.