Today we begin a prayer novena to St Joseph. As we begin let’s find out what this is about and how we can join others in taking part.
What is a Novena?
A novena is a nine day period for prayer focused on a particular topic or saint. The nine days may lead to a feast day at the end, or some other celebration. So our St Joseph Novena begins on 10th March and finishes on 18th March, and the next day March 19th is St Joseph’s Day.
Why nine days?
The gospels tell us that the Mary and the disciples prayed for nine days after Our Lord ascended into heaven and on the tenth day the Holy Spirit came upon them – at Pentecost. This nine day period of prayer by Our Lady and the disciples is then a model of one type of prayer – the first novena.
What do I do in a novena?
That is up to the individual but usually the church will help by making suggestions for prayer and providing some material to stimulate thought and prayer. At the same time we have our own concerns on our heart and we will particularly wish to pray over these things during the novena. Sometimes people write these things, often called ‘our intentions’ down and pray about them through the novena.
Why St Joseph?
In 2020 Pope Francis, who has proved to be such a great Christian leader in these difficult days, encouraged Christians, and especially, but not exclusively, Roman Catholics to consider the example of St Joseph, and his role as Patron of the Church. Pope Francis suggested this be a year of St Joseph and so it seemd a good idea for us, during this time to have a special focus on him in a Novena. In addition some of our church members have a particular devotion for St Joseph, so we do, already, honour him – we have a statue of him in church.
How does our prayer novena work?
Each day a blog will be posted in the morning. Several are written by church members. They will focus on an aspect of Joseph’s life or on his qualities. The post will encourage reflection and prayer. At the end you are invited to pray quietly, then offer your own intentions, then say the Novena prayer or another. It is as simple as that. You pray alone, but know also that others at church are praying with you, we are joined in prayer.
Is there more I can do?
Of course. You can find out more about St Joseph. Look at artwork depicting him, and join in our celebration of St Joseph’s Day.
… and now?
This is the first of our novena blog posts. Now you are invited to pause to pray your own prayers and intentions quietly, pray for God’s blessing for this novena. Be still for a few moments and then say the Novena prayer:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil.
St Joseph, pray for us.