What is a novena?

The novena is a Catholic practice of prayer that’s done over the course of nine days. Its practice goes back to the time of the apostles. The first novena was inspired by Christ Himself who, at the time of His Ascension into Heaven, told the Apostles to prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit (at Pentecost); the Apostles went to Jerusalem and prayed with our Blessed Mother for nine days, awaiting the gift of the Spirit (Acts 1). The Holy Spirit then descended upon Mary and the Apostles in the Upper Room. The Novena to the Holy Spirit is the first novena.

Why pray a novena?

The novena is prayed to obtain a special grace or intention, you ask our Lord to answer a specific need or prayer request. It’s generally a petition that needs to be taken to God’s ears, for when we need to trust that it’s being heard and to persevere in our prayer, that’s why there are nine days of repetition. Novenas are a wonderful way to grow closer to God in your faith. We are blessed to have access to the communion of saints, God’s family. We are not alone but can help each other through prayer to God.

When should a novena be prayed?

A novena can be prayed at any time. There are well-known novenas that are prayed at specific times and there are also novenas to the saints that are prayed nine days before their feast day, but you can also pray a novena with a personal intention any time of the year.

A novena is not magic

In all pray we let our petitions be known to God, including a where novena the first thing we ask for is God’s will to be done. God is always watching over us and His wisdom and mercy are infinite. The novena is not a magical charm to automatically obtain what we want. A novena is us praying to our Father and leaving our petitions in His hands to grant us His graces.

 
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Our next novena, the Saint John Paul II novena begins October 13, 2019. You can learn more and sign up here!