Tuesday, April 05, 2005

how to observe the novendiales

As has been widely reported in the news by now, the novendiales are the "nine days" of official mourning for John Paul. This custom is related to the novena, a devotional practice by many Catholics wherein they devote nine days of prayer for sundry reasons: for healing, comfort, for the dead, for a particular petition, and so on. During the novendiales mourners pray for the repose of the soul of John Paul. And so what manner of prayer can you devote yourself to during the novendiales?

Well, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released over the weekend a novena to guide the faithful in observing the novendiales. Basically, the novena released by the US Catholic bishops is quite a simple form of prayer:

1) You begin with the sign of the Cross ("In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen").

2) Then there is one reading for each of the days, usually from Scripture, or from a document of the Church, or a homily of a Church father, and others.

3) The reading is followed by one prayer of the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the doxology ("Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit").

4) Then, the prayer: "Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him." (The second sentence may be uttered by another if more than one person is praying the novena).

5) A closing prayer is then offered. The prayers are based on the ones found in the Roman Missal, Various Prayers for the Dead, such as a priest, bishop, or pope, and in the Order of Christian Funerals,

It has been reported that the cardinals have announced that the official start of the novendiales is after John Paul's funeral. They have also announced that the conclave (the election for a new pope) begins the day after the novendiales: April 18.

So, beginning on Saturday, I will begin posting the readings and the prayers for each of the days for the novendiales if you choose to observe the novendiales in the manner prescribed by the Catholic bishops. By the way, you don't have to be a Catholic to observe the novendiales. So, stay tuned for those.

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