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What is a Novena?

(From novem, nine.)

A nine days' private or public devotion in the Catholic Church to obtain special graces. To the novena belongs that of hopeful mourning, of yearning, of prayer. "The number nine in Holy Writ is indicative of suffering and grief" (Saint Jerome). The novena is permitted and even recommended by ecclesiastical authority, but still has no proper and fully set place in the liturgy of the Church. It has, however, more and more been prized and utilized by the faithful. Four kinds of novenas can be distinguished: novenas of (1) mourning, of (2) preparation, of (3) prayer, and the(4) indulgenced novenas, though this distinction is not exclusive.

pentecost1.jpg (55073 bytes)mary_tabernacle.jpg (9919 bytes)The novena of preparation had its origin in the nine months Our Lord was in His Blessed Mother's womb from the Incarnation to the Nativity. At the same time as the novena of preparation, the proper novena of prayer arose, among the faithful, it would seem, who in their need turned to the saints with a novena, especially to recover health. Catholics know from their own experience that the novena is no pagan, superstitious custom, but one of the best means to obtain signal heavenly graces through the intercession of Our Lady and all the saints. The novena of prayer is thus a kind of prayer which includes in it, so to speak, as a pledge of being heard, confidence and perseverance, two most important qualities of efficacious prayer.

The number ten is the highest, the numerus maximus, simply the most perfect, which is fitting for God; the number nine, which is lacking of ten, is the number of imperfection, which is fitting for mortal kind.  For this reason it was adapted for use where man's imperfection turned in prayer to God.

As has been said, the simplest explanation of the novena are the nine months of Christ in the womb. But for every novena of preparation, as also for every novena of prayer, not only the best explanation but also the best model and example was given by Christ Himself to the Church in the first Pentecost novena (i.e. the nine days from Ascension Thursday until Pentecost). He Himself expressly exhorted the Apostles to make this preparation. And when the young Church had faithfully persevered for nine full days in it, the Holy Ghost came as the precious fruit of this first Christian novena for the feast of the establishment and foundation of the Church. If one keeps this in mind and remembers besides that novenas in the course of time have brought so many, even miraculous, answers to prayer, and that finally Christ Himself in the revelation to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque recommended the special celebration of nine successive first Fridays of the month.


Popular Novenas

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Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows

At times, it seems that life is threatened on all sides. 
Please join with others across the nation in prayer.
For the nine days between September 7 (the vigil of the feast of the Birth of Mary) and September 15 (the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows), we pray for the intercession of Mary, the Mother of our Life, our Faith and our Hope. May be said any time,also.

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Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

According to tradition, in the 13th century Our Lady appeared to Saint Simon Stock, Superior General of the Order, and gave him the brown scapular saying that whoever wore it would be preserved from eternal damnation and on the 1st Saturday after their death, would be taken by her to heaven.

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Novena to the Three Hail Marys

In honor of the Power, Wisdom, and Loving Mercy of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Novena of the Miraculous Medal

The current Marian times had their beginning in 1830, when Our Blessed Mother appeared to Catherine Laboure in the convent at Rue de Bac, in Paris, France, as the Mediatrix of all Graces, and gave the Miraculous Medal to the world.

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Novena to Our Lady of Hope

The Oblate Fathers introduced the devotion to America in 1952. Novena devotions are maintained at the Shrine of Our Lady of Hope, Oblate Fathers' Novitiate and Infirmary, Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

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Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes

In 1858, Our Blessed Mother appeared to a peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France, announcing herself as the Immaculate Conception -- confirming the dogma proclaimed by Pius IX. Bernadette had never heard the term until told by Our Blessed Mother.


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Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Many names have been given to me. I have been called the "Virgin of the Passion", the "Golden Madonna", the "Mother of the Redemptorist Missionaries", the "Mother of Catholic homes".

The name of my own choosing is "Mother of Perpetual Help".

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Novena to Our Lady of Fatima

In Her appearances at Fatima, the Mother of God solemnly promised us final victory over the forces of evil in our own time. "In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph," She told us, "the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me. Russia will be coverted and a period of peace shall be given to mankind."

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A Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe

The capital city of the Aztec empire falls under the Spanish forces. Less than 20 years later, 9 million of the inhabitants of the land, who professed for centuries a polytheistic and human sacrificing religion, are converted to Christianity. What happened in those times that produced such an incredible and historically unprecedented conversion?

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A Novena to Our Lady of Walsingham

Devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham is always centered on the Mystery of the Annunciation. It was at the Annunciation that Our Lady accepted God's invitation to be the Mother of God, the Theotokos. She gave herself over to God's will and conceived by the Holy Spirit. By this same Holy Spirit Mary always leads us to Jesus, and her prayers help us say "yes" to God's will in our lives even as she did at the Annunciation.

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Christmas Novena

This Novena should be started on 16 December and concluded on 24 December, a period of nine days.

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Novena of Divine Mercy, which Jesus asked Saint Faustina to begin on Good Friday, 1937 is for nine days from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday which is the first Sunday after Easter. Jesus told her: "By this Novena" [of Chaplets and particular intention each day] "I will grant every possible grace to souls."

However, it can be said more often than just from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday (the first Sunday after Easter), and is recommended often.

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Two (2) Novenas to Saint Peregrine
Patron Saint of Cancer Victims and Incurable Diseases

A novena to Saint Peregrine, begun on 23 April, would end on his feast day (1 May).

However, it can be said more often and is recommended at any time.

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Novena to Saint Joseph

Patron Saint of: against doubt, against hesitation, bursars, cabinetmakers, carpenters, confectioners, craftsmen, dying people, engineers, families, fathers, happy death, holy death, house hunters, interior souls, laborers, people in doubt, pioneers, Protector of the Church, social justice, travelers, Universal Church, wheelwrights, workers, working people.

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Novena to Saint Philomena

"My children, Saint Philomena has great power with God, and she has, moreover, a kind heart; let us pray to her with confidence. Her virginity and generosity in embracing her heroic martyrdom have rendered her so agreeable to God that He will never refuse her anything that she asks for us." -- Saint John Vianney

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Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Heart of Jesus never ceases to love us in heaven. He sanctifies us through the Sacraments. These are inexhaustible fountains of grace and holiness which have their source in the boundless ocean of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus

"I firmly wish that My face reflecting the intimate pains of My soul, the suffering and love of My heart, be more honored! Whoever gazes upon Me already consoles Me."
- To Sister Pierina by Our Lord Jesus.

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Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

All gifts, graces, and virtues of the Holy Spirit are distributed through the hands of Mary. The Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart begins with a drop of grace, ripples out gracefully touching many with hope, then pours out in a thundering roar of faith, until it swells into one gigantic tsunami of love that will engulf the world!

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Two Hearts Novena

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Annunciation Novena

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. Upon arriving, the angel said to her: "Rejoice, O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women."

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Novena to Saint Jude

Dear Apostle and Martyr for Christ, you left us an Epistle in the New Testament. With good reason many invoke you when illness is at a desperate stage. We now recommend to your kindness
{name of patient}
who is in a critical condition. May the cure of this patient increase his/her faith and love for the Lord of Life, for the glory of our merciful God. Amen.

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Novena to Saint Blaise

Many Catholics remember Saint Blaise's feast day,c1throat.jpg (2110 bytes) February 3, because of the Blessing of  the Throats that take place on this day. Two candles are blessed, held slightly open, and pressed against the throat as the blessing is said.


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Immaculate Conception Novena

O God,  Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son,  we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain, so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession,  to come unto You. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ,  Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

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littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes)Novena to the Holy Spirit
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Novena of the Holy Spirit -
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

The novena in honor of the Holy Ghost is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Ghost on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

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Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Novena

“Listen, my faithful children; open up your petals, like roses planted near running waters; send up the sweet odor of incense, break forth in blossoms like the lily. Send up the sweet odor of your hymn of praise; bless the Lord for all He has done.” (Sirach 39:13-14)

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Exultation of the Holy Cross Novena

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that all who believe may have eternal life in Him. Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

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Novena to the Precious Blood of Jesus

Too many graces, too many mercies
flow from Your Blood for me not to hope in Its efficacy.

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Novena for the Defeat of Satan

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Novena to Our Lady of Siluva

Our Lady of Siluva is invoked for fallen-away and lukewarm Catholics and for the conversion of non-Catholics.

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Novena to the Holy Helpers

Fourteen Holy Helpers, who served God in humility and confidence on earth and are now in the enjoyment of His beatific vision in Heaven; because thou persevered till death thou gained the crown of eternal life

Novena to the Most Holy Trinity

Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

"It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins" - 2Maccabees 12:46



Rules for the Observance of Novenas
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

1. The soul must be in the state of grace; for the devotion of a sinful heart pleases neither God nor the Saints.
2. We must persevere, that is, the prayers for each day of the novena must never be omitted.
3. If possible, we should visit a church every day, and there implore the favor we desire.
4. Every day we ought to perform certain specified acts of exterior self-denial and interior mortification, in order to prepare us thereby for the reception of grace.
5. It is most important that we receive holy communion when making a novena. Therefore prepare yourself well for it.
6. After obtaining the desired grace for which the novena was made, do not omit to return thanks to God and to the Saint through whose intercession your prayers were heard.


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