AP PHOTOS: Mexicans seek help from saint of lost causes

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AP PHOTOS: Mexicans seek help from saint of lost causes
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Lucero Lima, left, and her husband Julio Apaseo pose for a portrait with their statues of San Judas Tadeo, or St. Jude Thaddeus, at San Hipolito Church in Mexico City. Lima, who sports a tattoo of San Judas in child-like form on her cheek, and Apaseo said they've been following the saint that's known as the Saint of Lost Causes, for 20 years. (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Rafael Berzunza poses for a portrait with his statue of San Judas Tadeo, or St. Jude Thaddeus, at San Hipolito Church in Mexico City. Berzunza, who also wears a T-shirt featuring the patron of lost causes, said San Judas helped him kick his drug addiction. (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Derek Martinez poses for a portrait with this statue of San Judas Tadeo, or St. Jude Thaddeus, at San Hipolito church in Mexico City. The saint known as the patron of lost causes has built a large following among the pierced and tattooed urban youth. (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Sandra Hernandez poses for a portrait with her statue of San Judas Tadeo, or St. Jude Thaddeus, tucked into her backpack, at San Hipolito church in Mexico City. The patron of lost causes draws believers from among the most desperate corners of society. Expecting parents ask for blessings for their unborn children. The relatives of the sick ask that their loved ones be cured. Once desperate believers thank him for ending their addiction to drugs. (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Diana Garcia poses for a portrait holding her statue of San Judas Tadeo, or St. Jude Thaddeus, at San Hipolito Church in Mexico City. Garcia has followed the patron of lost causes for five years, she said, "ever since my father's cancer became terminal. Although he died, San Judas has given me many miracles." (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Salomon Aburto poses for a portrait with his statue of San Judas Tadeo, or St. Jude Thaddeus, both of them wearing devotional scapulars, at San Hipolito Church in Mexico City. Aburto's devotional scapular bares an image of San Judas, the patron of lost causes, which he wears for protection. (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Ricardo Gonzalez poses for a portrait with his two statues of San Judas Tedeo, or St. Jude Thaddeus, at San Hipolito church in Mexico City. Gonzalez said he came to the church with his mother and two sisters in hopes that the patron of lost causes would bring them financial help. (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Alfredo Jimenez poses for a portrait with his statue of San Judas Tadeo, or St. Judas Thaddeus, at San Hipolito church in Mexico City. Jimenez said he came to the church to ask the patron of lost causes for his son to be born in good health. (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Carolina Noleisco poses for a portrait with her two statues of San Judas Tadeo, or St. Jude Thaddeus at San Hipolito church in Mexico City. Noleisco, who's pregnant, said she came to the church to ask Thaddeus, known as the patron of lost causes, for her child to be blessed with a happy and healthy life. (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Maria Hernandez poses for a portrait with her statue of San Judas Tadeo, or St. Jude Thaddeus, at San Hipolito church in Mexico City. Hernandez's started following the saint of the hopeless when one of her grandsons was born one month early with health issues. (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Viridiana Romo poses for a portrait with her statue of San Judas Tadeo, or St. Judas Thaddeus, at the San Hipolito Church in Mexico City. For the faithful, he's the saint of the hopeless, patron of lost causes and the deliverer of the impossible. On the 28th of every month, his followers gather in remembrance of his Oct. 28th feast day, to pray for miracles or give thanks for an answered prayer. (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
In this July 28, 2015 photo, Juan Maldonado poses for a portrait with his decorated statues of San Judas Tadeo, or St. Judas Thaddeus, at San Hipolito church in Mexico City. Maldonado said the Saint of Lost Causes saved him from homelessness after he prayed to the saint and found work soon after. (AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo)
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MEXICO CITY (AP) — For the faithful, he is the saint of the hopeless, patron of lost causes, the deliverer of the impossible. Each month at a chapel near the heart of Mexico City, San Judas Tadeo's status as a performer of miracles draws believers from among the most desperate corners of society.

Bearing statues of the green-cloaked saint, some even dressed in his image, old and young alike gather on the 28th of every month — a remembrance of his Oct. 28 feast day — to stream through the San Hipolito Church in an unending procession of requests for intercession and appreciation of miracles received.

Ramon Perez Oseguera carried a 4-foot-tall statue of the bearded saint, known as St. Jude Thaddeus in English, as a gesture of his devotion. When he first visited the chapel to seek financial help, he said, he had only 50 pesos in his pocket but somehow found 250 pesos when he returned home.

Juan Maldonado bore red and white roses to thank the saint for helping him find work just as he was about to lose his home.

Expecting parents ask for blessings for their unborn children. Relatives of the sick ask that their loved ones be cured. Once desperate believers thank him for ending their addiction to drugs.

The saint has attracted a large following among the pierced and tattooed young people in the urban core, who gather at a nearby park to drink and dance to the syncopated rhythm of reggaeton music. Some clench their fists to inhale solvents, a cheap way to get high.

Monica Jessica, a slim, young woman in a white San Judas T-shirt and carrying an image of the martyr with child-like features, says the saint has saved her from darkness.

"San Judas Tadeo helped me improve my health and happiness," she said. "I prayed to him and found the strength to stop cutting myself."

Lucero Lima said she and her partner, Julio Apaseo, have been devoted to the saint of lost causes for 20 years. The woman bears on her right cheek a tattoo of the saint in child-like form under the words "San Juditas,"

Outside the church, faithful cram together in a line snaking around the building. Vendors sell icons, religious medallions, costumes, key chains and candles. Those arriving to give thanks for miracles hand out "mandas," tokens of appreciation such as flowers or treats, to anyone near.

Reina Castro fulfills her promise to San Judas every month by bringing cookies to give away at the procession.

The chaos gives way to calm inside the sanctuary, where the faithful pray and celebrate Mass. The woodsy scent of incense fills the air.

Diana Garcia has followed San Judas for five years. "Ever since my father's cancer became terminal," she said. "Although he died, San Judas has given me many miracles."

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