The Purpose of the Novena
The recent news in the media has re-ignited great pain in our Church and in our communities. We want to respond to this as God has instructed us: to follow Jesus in all things and to seek strength and guidance from the Holy Spirit. To help our Church family with this, we invite you to pray the Novena for the victims of abuse. We prayed this as a parish Sunday, August 26 – Monday, September 03. However, you are invited to pray this Novena at anytime.
What a Novena is … and why we pray a Novena
In the study of Acts 1:14, we observe the apostles praying in a manner that has been called the first Catholic novena. Below is background on a what a Novena is and why we might pray one.
The word “novena” comes from the Latin “novem,” which means nine. Thus, novenas always include nine of something: months, weeks, days, hours or even the same prayer repeated nine times.
Novenas are an ancient tradition that goes back to the days of the Apostles. Jesus told His disciples to pray together after His ascension into heaven, so the apostles along with Mother Mary and other followers of Jesus gathered to pray in the Upper Room during the nine days between Ascension and Pentecost. (Thus, the recognition as the “first novena.”)
In the early Middle Ages, novenas were prayed in preparation for major liturgical events such as Christmas and Pentecost and later used as acts of reparation.
When we pray a novena, we focus our attention intently on a special intention in order to receive special graces and either the answer to our prayer or discernment on what we need to do.
Novenas can be made to God and any of His three Persons in the Trinity. They are also often made to the Blessed Mother or to saints, asking their intercession for our intention, thereby strengthening our petition to God. All of the holy men and women in Heaven (including our faithful loved ones) are good intercessors for any intentions.