So, what is a Novena, anyway?

Even though I was raised Catholic, there are many things I don’t know about the Catholic faith and practices.

For example, what really is a Novena?

I’m not sure where I was when this was taught. My guess is this was another one of those Saturday morning catechism classes where I sat in the back row, twisted in such a way I would appear to be listening to Sister Mary Ann. In reality, I’d be angling my head toward and leaning into my friend, trying to look like I understood and already knew all that she was talking about as she pointed and scribbled little pictures onto the corner of her notebook. She’d jab her elbow into my side, emphasizing the important “parts,” making sure I understood all she was trying to teach me about “the birds and the bees.”

Oh, the lessons learned in the back row those Saturday mornings.

For those of you who, like me, are unclear about what a Novena is, let me share what I’ve learned today.

According to Paul and Annie Deddens website,, it is nine days of prayer and meditation used to ask certain saints to pray for us.

The word, Novena, comes from the Latin word, “Novem,” meaning nine. It is a tradition that goes back to the days of the first Apostles when Jesus told them to pray together after he ascended into heaven. The Apostles did as Jesus requested, going to an upper room where they prayed together for nine days. At the end of these nine days, the Holy Spirit came to them and appeared as “tongues of fire” above each Apostle.

Since those early days of the church, Novenas have been prayed as a way to re-enacting Jesus’ request to go and pray together.  For nine days, prayers are said for the requested special intentions.

That’s it. Nothing more complicated than that–saying prayers–which Paul and Annie Deddens will send right to your inbox if you’d like to join their community of prayer.

The only requirement for praying a Novena is you pray with a sincere heart.

Novenas do not need to be done at a certain time or at the same time every day. You do not need to fast or say the rosary along with the other prayers you say as part of your Novena. If there is something else that needs to be done for a certain Novena, the email sent as part of being in the prayer community will have information on that practice.

Novenas are not magic nor do they guarantee better results in getting your prayer request answered. Paul cautions members to remember we need to be ready to accept the wisdom of God. Our prayers may not be answered in the way we wish. I think we all have looked back on our lives and praised God for those unanswered prayers.

Facebook has become a platform for many of us to ask for prayers when we need them for ourselves or for our friends and family. There are not many things I am sure of these days. The power of prayer is one of those rare things I know and believe without a drop of doubt.

One of the other things I know for sure is, we all need the power of prayer, now more than ever before.

If you are curious, like I am, check out Paul and Annie’s website and explore a different method of prayer and meditation.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.


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