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"Speaking of Miracles: The Faith Experience at the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Ann in Scranton, Pennsylvania," by Fr. Cassian Yuhaus, C.P. with Fr. Richard Frechette, C.P.

"Speaking of Miracles" is a very good introduction on the history of St. Ann's and the power that it has had in the lives of people who come to St. Ann's seeking healing and peace. Along with the history of the Solemn Novena the book also contains testimonies of Novena clients who tell of healings, reconciliation, new fond peace and an answer to prayers due to the intercession of St. Ann.

"Speaking of Miracles" is on sale at the Shrine gift shop for $14.95

What is a Novena?

Within the Church and its richtradition are the various forms of prayer that we have the opportunity toparticipate in. One form of prayer isintercessory prayer, where we ask Jesus, Mary or a particular saint or aspecific grace or favor for ourselves or for another person. A form of intercessory prayer is a Novena.The word Novena comes from the Latin word novem,meaning nine. Therefore a Novena is anine-day period of prayer, usually to a particular saint in preparation fortheir feast day.

In the New Testament the example of agroup gathering for prayer for a period of time is in the Acts of the Apostleswhere Mary the Mother of Jesus is gathered with the disciples after theascension of Jesus seeking the presence of the Holy Spirit as a newly formedcommunity. Whenthey entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying,Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew andMatthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.  All these devoted themselves with one accordto prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and hisbrothers. (Acts 1:13-14) Their gatheringtogether in prayer lead to the great gift of Pentecost and the birth of theChurch.

As the Church grew into a community ofprayer, most especially gathering for the Eucharist, the church also saw groupsforming for intercessory prayer as a vital aspect of its life and mission. This grew into many traditional forms ofprayers by honoring Saints and Mary for a particular title or grace and thesedays of prayer usually happened at a particular time. Along with the Novena tothe Holy Spirit nine days before Pentecost we also have the Novena to St. Anthonyin June and the Novena to St. Jude in October. Praying a Novena means that we set aside nine says of special prayer andask God for special graces and favors for our good and for the good ofothers.

In some shrines and churches there arealso along with the nine day Novena a weekly Novena’s to a specific Saint or inmemory of a specific title of the Mary the mother of Jesus. For instance many parish have a weekly Novenato Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal or Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

At St. Ann’s we have both the SolemnNovena to St. Ann every July 17th to July 26th and theweekly Novena to St. Ann and to the Passionists Saints every Monday.  TheSolemn Novena attracts thousands of people every July. It is for many people their annual retreat,their special time of prayer during the year. Each Monday many people also come and particulate in the weekly Novena.Along with the prayers to St. Ann and the Passionist Saint there is also ahomily given by one of the Passionists on a specific theme relevant for thespiritual life of those making the Novena.

Onthis web site we have provided the prayers for the Monday Novena. We hope that you will join us each Monday inthis great tradition. During July theprayers for the Solemn Novena will also be posted on the web page. May thisform of intercessory prayer help to strengthen your faith and give you thepeace of knowing that we truly have intercessors who make the journey of faithwith us and lead us to a deeper sense of God’s will for us.