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For the town in Singapore, see Novena, Singapore.
For the open-source computer, see Novena (computing platform).
A group of pious women gathered for a novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, most likely a mourning event. circa 1940.

A novena (from Latin: Novem, meaning Nine) is an institutional act of religious pious devotion in the Roman Catholic Church, often consisting of private or public prayers repeated for nine successive days in belief of obtaining special intercessory graces.[1]

The prayers are often derived from devotional prayer books, or consist of the recitation of the rosary (a "rosary novena"), or of short prayers through the day. Novena prayers are customarily printed in small booklets, and the novena is often dedicated to a specific angel, saint, a specific Marian title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or it invokes one of the personages of the Holy Trinity.

Within the Roman Catholic discipline, novena prayers for public use must have an Imprimatur, Nihil Obstat, and Imprimi potest. These ecclesiastical sanctions are usually granted by a bishop or any ranking prelate for publication and approval.


The practice of saying novenas is not explicitly derived from Holy Scripture, but was rather influenced by an early Greek and Roman custom performed by families consisting of nine days of mourning after the death of a loved one, followed by a feast.[2]

The practice was later adopted by new converts to the Roman Catholic faith who associated the event of the Twelve Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Upper Room as they prayed for nine days until the Holy Spirit descended on the Feast of the Pentecost. In the New Testament, this biblical event is often quoted from Acts of the Apostles, 1:12 – 2:5.

There are four recognized categories of novenas which belong to more than one of these categories:[2]

  • Mourning, or in anticipation of a Burial
  • In anticipation for a Church Feast or ending in Vespers (often requires Church attendance)
  • Individual or Group Petition (Expiatory)
  • Indulgence for the remission of Sins (often requires Sacrament of Confession or Church attendance)

By standard liturgical norms, novenas are performed in church, at home, or anywhere where solemn prayers are appropriate, though some indulgenced novenas require church attendance. Sometimes, a special candle or incense is lit at the beginning of the novena which burns during the nine days of prayer.

The first chapter of the General Principles of Sacrosanctum Concilium, #13 is often cited as a guideline regarding the implementations of public novenas.[3][4]

Other Christian use[edit]

Novena prayers are also practiced by some Orthodox and Anglican Christians, who hold close or similar beliefs regarding its pious practice.

See also[edit]



  • Right Reverend Monsignor Joseph F. Stedman, The New Revised 'Triple' Novena Manual, Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 1975.
  • Barbara Calamari & Sandra DiPasqua, Novena, Penguin Studio, 1999. ISBN 0-670-88444-8.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novena — Please support Wikipedia.
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41878 news items

Dundalk Democrat

Dundalk Democrat
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:15:00 -0700

He was a technical director with the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin so had the expertise to brighten up the Facebook page and bring the novena to an even wider audience. Confessions are held throughout this time and hundreds of people find that they can.

Irish Examiner

Irish Examiner
Sun, 12 Oct 2014 17:00:00 -0700

Jennifer McEvoy-Caffrey took her selfie with her son Fionn, 13, and daughter Anaish, 11, as they went into the novena. She said: “It helps the Church appeal to younger people and my kids thought it was a great idea and they are growing up in this era.”.
The Straits Times
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:36:44 -0700

With the development of the Novena area into a "Health City", the authorities should make an effort to preserve the trees, rather than take the easy way out by felling them. Even if young trees are planted later, it would take years for them to grow to ...
Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:15:00 -0700

The following guest homilists are scheduled for the novena: Sunday, Oct. 19, the Rev. Thomas Maloney; Monday, Oct. 20, the Rev. Gerald W. Shantillo; Tuesday, Oct. 21, the Rev. Donald Williams; Wednesday, Oct. 22, the Rev. John S. Terry; Thursday, Oct ...
Patheos (blog)
Sun, 05 Oct 2014 12:07:30 -0700

How the Annoying Things Novena works: When something annoying happens, you offer it up for your intention. (Such as: My annoying thing.) The nine-day version is perfect for people who plan ahead, and who can count on at least one annoyance a day.

Patheos (blog)

Patheos (blog)
Thu, 02 Oct 2014 04:48:45 -0700

A recent medical crisis prompted me to write the following Novena for Asthmatics, and I thought I'd share it. I don't tend to like fussy novenas, so this one is short and sweet. Add as many thees and thous and Memorares as you see fit. bernadette4 ...

The Irish Catholic

The Irish Catholic
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 03:41:15 -0700

Catholics from across the island of Ireland and overseas have flocked in their tens of thousands to the annual novena to St Gerard Majella, offered by the Redemptorists in Dundalk, Co. Louth. Rector of St Joseph's monastery, Fr Michael Cusack told The ...
Manila Standard Today
Tue, 14 Oct 2014 00:07:30 -0700

QUEZON CITY – No less than the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Pio P. Catapang, Jr. led the novena prayer on Monday, October 13, for the safe visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines in January 2015. General Catapang directed ...

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