It’s a sort of chain-letter kind of thing:
- Make this Novena to St. Jude
- Publish in a newspaper the results OR leave a copy (or LOTS of copies) of this novena in Church
Lots of church vestibules constantly see these sorts of things, sometimes with stern warnings to not remove the novena material and so forth.
Why do some Catholics do such a thing? Well, in a word, superstition. There are lots of superstitious things that well-meaning (although mistaken) Catholics do.
For example, even more popular than the St. Jude Novena (NEVER KNOWN TO FAIL, BY THE WAY!) is the goofy practice of burying a statue of St. Joseph in order to sell your home (HE WORKS FASTER IF YOU BURY HIM UPSIDE DOWN!).
And, of course, often enough the home is sold, or the novena request is granted, thus reinforcing through lived experience and the resulting word-of-mouth how effective such activities are.
Thankfully Joseph and Jude are both Jewish; so they can smile when I say, oy vey!
Leave the propaganda at home and just pray the novena, people. And for God’s sake quit burying St. Joseph in the ground – not only disrespectful, but a violation of the First Commandment for sure, and likely the Fourth Commandment to boot.