What is a Novena

A brief description on the Novena

What is a Novena

What is a Novena?

The word “novena” is derived from the Latin word for nine, or “novem.” Typically, a novena refers to nine days of prayer, asking God for a specific intention, often through a Saint’s intercession. Novenas are a beautiful way to grow purposeful, consistent, and persistent in daily prayer.

Many of the most popular and widely-prayed novenas begin or end on a Saint’s feast day. And it’s important to note that while most novenas are indeed nine days long, there are some exceptions (like the St. Andrew Christmas novena, which is 25 days long!).

Why is a Novena 9 Days?

There are a few reasons why the number nine might be significant.

The first comes from the Acts of the Apostles, when Jesus told His disciples to gather together and pray after His Ascension into Heaven. Tradition tells us that the Apostles, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, went to the Upper Room and prayed together for the nine days between Jesus’ Ascension (believed to have been 40 days after His Passion/Passover) and Pentecost.

Another reason could be that nine is significant because of the nine months that Mary carried Jesus in her womb. In fact, people in the Middle Ages traditionally spent nine days in prayer leading up to Christmas to signify the nine months that Jesus spent in the womb of His mother!