What is a Novena?
The Catholic Encyclopedia, available on our site, defines a Novena as "nine days' of private or public devotion in the Catholic Church to obtain special graces." While the number eight in the Judeo-Christian tradition was always thought of as a festive number of new beginnings, the number nine seemed to be often linked with suffering.
On the tenth day, Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon them and the Church was born.
The heart of any Novena is the same as the first one, called by our Lord Himself. "He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father." (Acts 1:4, emphasis mine)
When we pray a Novena, we either pray the same prayer for all nine days or follow a list of prayers to be prayed for each day. Every novena is a bit different in the intention, formation of prayers and practice.
We invite you to join us at Catholic Online in these times of focused prayer called Novenas.
By Father Randy Sly
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