A COMMUNITY IN PRAYER
BEING VISIBLE, BEING VOCAL
HOLY REDEEMER PARISH
ONLINE PRAYER PROGRAM FOR 2021
Holy Redeemer Parish has created a monthly on-line prayer platform to help our parishioners link together in faith and prayer.
Holy Redeemer Parish has developed many ways that parishioners can come together in prayer. Here are just some that you can explore:
Saint of the Month
Devotions of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Lenten Journey and Downloadable Resources
1. SAINT OF THE MONTH
Once a month, we will highlight a specific Saint.
We will journey together to learn about the Saint’s contributions to the Church, what the Saint patrons and pray a Novena requesting their intersessions.
You might be wondering what are novenas and what are they all about. Before we start, let us explore what this is all about.
2. NOVENA PROGRAM 2021
What Are Novenas?
Novenas enjoy a firm place in the hearts of billions of faithful Catholics, and this unique devotion developed organically in the Church over centuries. It was a grass-roots type of growth, rather than the Church making a decree that “thou shalt pray novenas.” Quite the opposite in fact, novenas have only in the relative recent past received any sort of formal recognition in the Church.
Novenas are a form of prayer where, typically once per day for nine days, a person asks God for a specific request or intention. Usually novenas are directed to God through a particular saint’s prayers; hence, the St. Joseph Novena, or the St. Michael Novena, but some novenas are addressed directly to God. (Novena comes from novem, which means nine.)
The very first novena that ever occurred is found in the Scriptures: in the beginning of the book of Acts, just before His ascension to the Father, Jesus gives this direction to the Apostles:
“The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up.
To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth.
For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.
They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power:
But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:1-8)
Nine days later, on the feast of Pentecost, as the Apostles prayed in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, God sent the Holy Spirit upon them. This “novena to the Holy Spirit” thus became the first novena, and the model of all that would come after it.
What’s the History of Novenas?
While this first novena occurred at the beginning of the Church’s existence, novenas as a nine-day prayer as we know them today arose later on in the Church’s history. The first evidence we have of a novena-like prayer is found in the nine days of mourning after someone died, where a “novena of Masses” was offered for their souls, which began at least as early as the fourth century. This custom became enshrined in the medieval period for cardinals and pontiffs.
Alongside these novenas of mourning, in Spain and in France in the 600s arose a novena of preparation before Christmas, where each day symbolized one of the nine months that Jesus was in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A similar devotion was privately revealed in the 1600s to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, where He directed her in nine successive first Friday celebrations to honor His nine months in His Mother’s womb. Further, in religious communities were seen novenas of Masses offered in preparation for the feast day of that community’s saintly founder.
The Church in the nineteenth century gave formal recognition to novenas when it attached indulgences to certain ones, especially novenas in preparation to specific saints’ feast days (e.g. St. Francis Xavier, St. Joseph). Recall that an indulgence is where the temporal punishment due for sin is remitted. These are sins that you are already forgiven of through Confession, but which have a temporal punishment associated with them that must be dealt with (either through indulgences, through offering of your sufferings to Christ, or in Purgatory after you die).
In our own day, we see the flourishing of countless novenas to almost every saint you can think of. The beautiful thing about them is that regular people often have come up with the novena prayers, which over time morph and diverge and combine, so that for any given saint you may find several different novenas, either for different intentions (St. Joseph for fatherhood or for protection or for one’s work) or just a unique set of prayers.
How to Pray a Novena
No one dogmatic way exists to pray a novena. However over the course of history in the Church, standard traditional practices have developed.
1. Choose a Novena
Holy Redeemer Parish has made this easy for you. We have chosen one Novena per month based on a specific Saint. You can easily follow along by clicking on the Novena and the Day from our website. You can also explore the life of the monthly selected Saint by clicking on the links on the website.
2. Pray Once Per Day with Your Intention
Once per day, join me in praying the novena prayer, asking God for your particular intention. Holy Redeemer Parish has made it easy for you to pray long with me. Just click the daily link on the website that is associated with the Novena.
Missing a day happens to everyone at some point and should not be cause for alarm.
Novenas are not superstitious: our Lord hears your prayers and grants the requests through His perfect Wisdom and Love.
3. Meditate on the Prayer
A beneficial practice used by all the saints is to meditate on some truth of the Faith once per day for at least five minutes.
Meditation is not magical, and is not Eastern Mysticism. Instead, you simply raise your heart and mind to God and contemplate some truth of Catholicism. For instance, you could meditate upon the suffering of Jesus during His Passion (betrayal, agony in the garden, scourging, crowning with thorns, carrying His Cross, Crucifixion).
You could meditate on the four marks of the Church (one, holy, Catholic, Apostolic), or her three attributes (authority, infallibility, indefectibility (that she will never be destroyed or defeated)).
Meditation goes perfectly with novena prayers because you can meditate on the prayers of the novena: for example on the goodness of God as manifested by His saints and especially by His Blessed Mother.
Novenas are a wonderful way to grow closer to God in your faith. We are blessed in the Catholic Church to have access to the communion of saints, God’s family. We are not alone but can help each other through prayer to God. Further, because death does not separate us from God in the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church), we can pray for God’s mercy on the souls of those who have died, and ask for the prayers of the saints, whom the Church infallibly declared to be with God in Heaven.
3. Online Rosary
We have made the Rosary easy for you to pray. In the Online Rosary section, you will find all the 20 Mysteries. You will also find when to say the specific mysteries based on the day of the week. If you rather pray the full Rosary (all 20 mysteries), the text is also there to help guide you through the Holy Rosary. There is also a full Rosary for Life. This Rosary has Pro-Life reflections based on mysteries. We hope you enjoy this section and visit it frequently to pray along with other parishioners.
4. Prayer Pals
Holy Redeemer Parish has had a Prayer Pal program in place for many years now. This online version of the PrayerPal Program will allow our parishioners to submit a prayer request. Much like the paper versions that are placed in the prayer box in the church, this webpage allows the requests to get to our PrayerPal team. This team of dedicated parishioners prays for your requests daily. Also, if you would like to become a PrayerPal, you can join the team by submitting your information. Please let everyone know about this platform. The prayer requests can come from anyone anywhere in the world. Remember that prayer doesn’t have boundaries, it can come from anyone of any religious denomination or even from those that are searching for a higher power.
5. Our Mother of Perpetual Help Devotions
In order to make your prayer life more enjoyable, Holy Redeemer parish placed Our Mother of Perpetual Help Devotions online. You can pray these intercessions at any time that is best suited for you. Please take a few minutes to review the website and place yourself in the presence of Our Lady.
6. Lenten Journey 2021
Lent has always been a time of reflection and preparation. In 2020, COVID protocols prevented us from gathering. In 2021, COVID protocols are still in place (with lesser restrictions for some areas of the province) but still prevent us from gathering in large numbers for obvious safety reasons. This year, instead of having a large gathering (Retreat), we will be exploring Lent through covenantal theology.
“I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you,.” (Genesis 9:8)
Each week Father Sam will be building upon the theme “I am establishing my covenant with you and yoru descendants after you …” (Genesis 9:8) and using specific images to reinforce the theme. To make things easier, we will also be providing these weekly reflections online as well as in downloadable format so you can keep the journey for prosperity. Don’t forget to check out the webpages for the weekly updates!