Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Novena for the Papal Visit

Today is the start of the Novena of prayer for the visit of the Holy Father to England and Scotland. A Novena is a nine day period of prayer before an event or a feast in the Church year. Whereas an Octave (the eight days following a feast, like Christmas) is a continuation of the joy of the celebration, a Novena has a sense of longing, of hope and of prayer.

The Roman author Livy speaks of a similar pagan ceremony as a time of fasting and prayer to avoid evil or disaster. As with much of Roman culture, Christianity has taken this idea and 'baptized' it for proper use. The nine days of prayer before Christmas can be seen to represent the nine months of pregnancy before Our Lord's birth - in that sense there is an expectation, and an anticipated joy in our Novena prayers.

From today until the end of the Holy Father's visit we will pray the Novena Prayer at Mass. For those who cannot be with us in person, it would be good to know that you are uniting yourselves with us and countless others in prayer for this important event in the life of the Church in these isles.

And so we pray:

God of truth and love,
your Son, Jesus Christ, stands as the light
to all who seek you with a sincere heart.
As we strive with your grace
to be faithful in word and deed,
may we reflect the kindly light of Christ
and offer a witness of hope and peace to all.
We pray for Pope Benedict and look forward with joy
to his forthcoming visit to our countries.
May he be a witness to the unity and hope
which is your will for all people.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.

Our Lady, Mother of the Church: pray for us.
St Andrew: pray for us.
St George: pray for us.
St David: pray for us.

It is also possible to download the Magnificat booklet for the Papal Visit here. This gives many of the resources used during the visit and, also, some guides to prayer and preparation for the visit. Magnificat is a wonderful resource that is available all year round with the readings for the Mass (daily and Sunday) and catechetical materials to help deepen our devotion and love of the Lord.

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