This “novena of novenas” is 81 days of intercessory prayer, reflection, and ortho-praxis (“right action”) for peace among nations, justice for all people, and the care of Creation. We start the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, June 28, 2014 and end on the day after Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 16, 2014. (Courtesy of JustPeace.org)
A novena is 9 days of prayer, and recalls the 9 days that the Apostles spent in the “Upper Room” between the Ascension and Pentecost. This call to prayer consists of nine consecutive novenas — 81 days! Each novena has a general intention, the prayers, thoughts for the Journey, and an act of caring for Creation. Each novena is dedicated to one of the titles of Mary and some of the saints of justice and peace.
Each of the 81 days we will also pray the Novena to St. John Chrysostom on behalf of the conversion of the United States Catholic Bishops so that they will begin to practice what they preach (ortho-praxis of the Gospel). We dedicate all of this prayer and action as reparations for moral cowardice of the United States Catholic Bishops regarding the unjust wars of the United States.
The purpose of a novena is not the mechanical recitation of words, but the creation of a genuine time of prayer, a prayer of the heart. “. . . the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)
The spirit of this novena may be found in these words of Oscar Romero. . . “It is very easy to be servants of the word without disturbing the world: a very spiritualized word, a word without any commitment to history, a word that can sound in any part of the world because it belongs to no part of the world. A word like that creates no problems, starts no conflicts.
“What starts conflicts and persecutions, what marks the genuine church, is the word that, burning like the word of the prophets, proclaims and accuses; proclaims to the people God’s wonders to be believed and venerated, and accuses of sin those who oppose God’s reign, so that they may tear that sin out of their hearts, out of their societies, out of their laws – out of the structures that oppress, that imprison, that violate the rights of God and of humanity. This is the hard service of the word.
“But God’s Spirit goes with the prophet, with the preacher, for he is Christ, who keeps
on proclaiming his reign to the people of all times.”
Begin each novena prayer with a time of quiet centering. You may find it helpful to pray some repetitions of the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner), a decade of the Rosary, the Chaplet of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, or a time of spiritual reading or lectio divina.
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June 28 – July 6 : Immaculate Heart of Mary and Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin
July 7 – 15: Our Lady of Guadalupe and Martyrs of Latin America
July 16 – 24: Our Lady of the Precious Blood and St. Franz Jagerstatter
July 25 – August 2: Our Lady of Good Counsel, and Matthew Talbott
August 3 – 11: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Sts. Vincent de Paul and Louise Marillac
August 12 – 20: Our Lady of the Assumption and Sts. Isidore and Maria
August 21 – 29: Our Lady Queen of Peace and St. Joseph
Aug 30 – Sept 7: Our Lady of Charity and Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange
September 8 – 16 — Our Lady of Sorrows and Oscar Romero