May 28: Corpus Christi Novena

For many of us locally and for Catholics around the world, this past year was a time where we were “separated” from the Eucharist, perhaps for the first time in our lives. We are all invited to join in praying a Corpus Christi Novena this year as a way to mark our return (soon) to the full, active, and conscious celebration of the Eucharist – in church. The two Novenas below offer particular ways for a renewed personal devotion to the Holy Eucharist at this time when more and more parishes will continue to open up. These Novenas are scheduled to begin Saturday, May 29:

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The Feast of Corpus Christi, or the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (June 5-6), celebrates the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Christ’s Body and Blood in Holy Communion are our true food and drink. They give us strength and hope to live our lives in union with God and to do God’s will.

For those unfamiliar with 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.

There are at least a few reasons why the number nine is significant. One 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 that nine is significant is 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!

Let us pray for the willingness to make present in our world the love of Christ shown to us in the Eucharist. “Lord Jesus Christ, we worship you living among us in the sacrament of your Body and Blood. May we offer to our Father in heaven a solemn pledge of undivided love. May we offer to our brothers and sisters a life poured out in loving service of that kingdom where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.”

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