Novena urged to heal families: Bishop calls faithful to participate in 54-day devotion

The Reynold family prays the rosary before the traveling pilgrimage statue of Our Lady of Fatima in St. Paul Church in Sellersburg, Ind., in this 2016 file photo. They are Elizabeth, left, Barbara, Rebecca, Anna Kate, William and Joseph. (CNS photo/Natalie Hoefer, The Criterion)
54-Day Novena Kick-off Solemn Vespers

When: 5-6 p.m., Aug. 21

Where: Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, 6351 N. 27th Ave.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted will lead Solemn Vespers to publicly begin the 54-Day Novena to Our Lady of Fatima.

Text “fatima100” to 84576 to receive messages from Bishop Olmsted during the Novena.

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At a time when families are suffering because of the sins of abortion, divorce, abuse, pornography and other attacks on the family, Our Lady of Fatima offers a ray of hope through her Son. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted is calling everyone in the Phoenix Diocese to join him in praying a 54-day Novena to Our Lady of Fatima.

The novena begins Aug. 21 on the feast of the Queenship of Mary and ends Oct. 13, the 100-year anniversary of the Virgin Mary’s final apparition at Fatima. Bishop Olmsted will publicly consecrate the diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at a Mass closing the novena at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral.

For many Catholics, the concept of a 54-day Novena is unusual since typically, a novena is a nine-day period of prayer. This is an old tradition in the Church, one that hearkens back to the Apostles and Mary who waited nine days in the Upper Room for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The 54-day Novena entails praying three novenas of the daily Rosary in petition over a 27-day period followed by praying three novenas of the daily Rosary in thanksgiving for a second 27-day period.

Dorothy Westfall, who first conceived of the idea of the Arizona Rosary Celebration decades ago and who is still deeply involved in Radio Family Rosary, called the 54-day Novena “powerful.”

“It is a challenge, but with the help of the Holy Spirit and perseverance, it is possible,” Westfall said. “Many have attributed this Novena to have changed the course of events, hearts and history.”

At Fatima, the Blessed Mother spoke a message of conversion and reparation for sin; she also asked for the praying of the Rosary. Warning that God was already much offended by mankind’s sin, she said that through prayers, wars could be avoided.

EN ESPAÑOL: Novena sanará a las familias: Obispo llama a las familias a participar en devoción de 54 días

 

The appearance of Mary to three shepherd children in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, is depicted in a stained-glass window at St. Mary Church in Manhasset, N.Y. Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, received the first of several visions May 13, 1917. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Phil Hicks, a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, said he and his wife, along with their five children, will be participating in the novena. Hicks grew up the 11th in a family of 14 children where the daily Rosary was integral. Now as a father of his own family, he sees the fruit.

“Praying the Rosary has brought us peace, joy and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It’s kept us faithful and it’s kept us married — it’s kept us through thick and thin,” Hicks said. “Once you’re in the rhythm of saying the Rosary, it’s just easy to do.”

Memorie Ybarra of St. Clare Parish in Surprise said she and her husband along with their three children will be praying the 54-day Novena too. The Rosary, Ybarra said, helps them to know and stay close to Christ. “You have to talk to Him and you have to pray,” Ybarra said. “The best way, I think, is meditating and praying the Rosary because that’s all of His life — the whole Gospel is in it.”

Fr. John Muir, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Avondale, said participating in the novena will help build hope and that the prayers of reparation will move the faithful beyond concern for themselves.

“It’s rare to have a prayer initiative like this, and the Fatima centenary is a marvelous opportunity to be united with our brothers and sisters across our large diocese,” Fr. Muir said. “Praying a novena in a historical moment like this reminds us that we are part of history, of God’s story for the world.”

Hear more about the Miraculous 54-Day Novena

Fr. Chris Letikirich, CSC, associate director at André House, discussed the 54-Day Novena on Radio Family Rosary last fall.

Part 1: CUE UP 20:53

Part 2: CUE UP 19:36

 

Bishop Olmsted said the Novena offers a grace-filled means of prayerfully pondering the messages of Fatima, sent at a pivotal time in human history — in the midst of World War I and before World War II.

“The urgency of her message of prayer and penance remains equally relevant today,” Bishop Olmsted said. “The primary response remains within the reach of every family: to pray the Rosary together and to offer the Lord personal sacrifices for peace.”

Families that take the time to pray together grow in unity, the bishop said. “When we encourage one another to do little sacrifices with great love, we grow in mutual affection and are beacons of hope for our world.”

A statue of Mary is carried through the crowd in 2013 at the Marian shrine of Fatima in central Portugal. (CNS photo/Paulo Cunha, EPA)

Family Prayer of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Centenary of Our Lady of Fatima

Mother Mary, we consecrate our entire family to your Immaculate Heart. We desire to renew the promises of our baptism and place each member of our family, through this consecration, into loving union with your Holy Family.

At Fatima, dear Mother of God, you appeared with St. Joseph and the Child Jesus, blessing the world. Intercede for our family that each of us grow in the virtues and joy which you lived as a family. Help us to grow as faithful disciples of Jesus; help our domestic church to grow as a light which gives your Son glory from our home.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for Jesus’ peace to fill each member of our family. (You may wish to name each family member, or a particular family member, at this point if it seems right to do so.) Never permit any member of our family to stray from the Catholic Faith. For any member of our family who is beset by doubts, we beseech you to be their guide through the darkness back to the light of your Son. Watch over our perseverance so that we may all one day be reunited with you and the whole family of God in our Father’s house. Amen


How to Pray the 54-Day Novena

Aug. 21-Oct. 13

  1. If possible, pray as a family at the beginning or end of each day, or during a meal
  2. Pray a Rosary, meditating on the mysteries prescribed for the day
    • Joyful (Monday and Saturday)
    • Sorrowful (Tuesday and Friday)
    • Glorious (Wednesday and Sunday)
    • Luminous (Thursday)
  3. Families can pray a decade or a full Rosary, depending on the age/attention span of young children
  4. Recite the Family Prayer of Consecration
  5. Include any special intentions that your family may have.