What is a Novena?

What are Novenas and why are they 9 days?

The “first novena” is shared in the Acts of the Apostles. The disciples and Mary waited together, praying for the Holy Spirit to guide them. Finally, nine days later, the Holy Spirit came down on them. “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together” (Acts 2:1). When the disciples prayed together for nine days for the coming of the Holy Spirit, they modeled the novena prayer method that is so popular today.


We pray novenas before or after a funeral, praying for the soul of the person who has passed away and asking God to be close to those who mourn them. This could be a saint’s novena that they were close to or a novena to Christ, such as the Sacred Heart Novena.


These novenas are prayed as an act of penitence asking God for His mercy. The Church offers partial and plenary indulgences for more than 30 novenas, including one of the most recent, the Divine Mercy Novena.


We prepare ourselves for the nine days leading up to a sacrament or another important day with these novenas. For example, some couples might pray the Novena for a happy and faithful marriage prior to their wedding day.


Novenas in petition ask God to answer a prayer or ask a specific saint for their intercession. First, identify your petition or intention for prayer. Then, select a saint associated with the subject matter. You might pray the St. Joseph the Worker Novena  for employment.



Why are Novenas repetative?

Jesus Christ calls us to pray. He tells us to “pray always without becoming weary” (Lk 18:1), to pray with persistence.

What role do Saints play in Novenas?

Saints and holy people have had novenas revealed to them by Christ or the Virgin Mary. The Surrender Novena  was revealed by Christ to Father Dolindo Ruotolo. Mary revealed the 54 Day Novena to a young girl suffering from an illness, Other novenas have been prayed for centuries with no author attributed to them, such as the Holy Spirit Novena. 

Now that you know, pick a favorite!

Here are some of ours:

The Little Flower here 

(St. Therese said, “When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens. I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth.” Hence she earned the title of “the Little Flower” because, true to her word, she is known to send roses to those who call on her intercession. Always ask (among other intentions) that you receive a rose!

Novena to St. Jude here

(St. Jude, was one of the 12 Apostles and he wrote the Epistle of Jude in the Bible. He’s the patron saint of desperate or lost causes – so you can bet his intercession is powerful.)

Novena in Urgent Need to the Infant Jesus here 

(This is a novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague that you can pray for an extremely urgent intention. It can be prayed for the traditional nine consecutive days, or it can even be prayed for nine consecutive hours.)

St Anne (Mary's mother ) here 

(St. Anne is the mother of Mary and your spiritual Grandmother. She’s the patron saint of single women, married women, mothers, expectant mothers, and women in labor.)

Maria Esperanza (Servant of God ) here

(Maria passed at the Jersey Shore in 2004. Recently the Vatican opened the Cause of Beatification and Canonization and are taking reports of miracles attributed to Maria!)