St. Paul mentioned the Church in the household in his letter to the Corinthians (1Cor.16.19) to show that the ecclesia gathering starts from the private houses. The home of Aquila and Priscilla can be seen as an example of the Church that is in the house. Every Christian home is also a domestic Church – where we offer prayers, light, and love. St. John Vianney says it is the noble task of man, “to pray and to love, that is the happiness of man on earth”. At home we raise our hands in thanksgiving, plead for God’s mercy, and pray for God’s providence. The novena prayer is also a family way of seeking divine assistance, and it is quite efficacious. In this way, the novena becomes a private devotion in the home for the obtaining of special graces.

The novena for Scott P. Richert, “is a series of prayers that are said for nine straight days, usually as a prayer of petition but sometimes as a prayer of thanksgiving. They are, often times, long series of prayers contained in small prayer books or made up of the recitation of the Rosary. The novena is a popular prayer in parishes – associated with the elevation of statues, processions, singing of hymns, and a get- together on the last day. Though, novena in the families is less elaborate in comparison to the public way of having it.

The Church has a number of traditional novena, like St. Andrew Christmas novena – November 30 to December 25; the awaiting of the Holy Spirit – Ascension Thursday to Pentecost Sunday; the Divine Mercy novena: Good Friday to the Divine Mercy Sunday; the 54 Day Rosary novena, among others. The Church also encourages novena to the saints, for example – novena to St Joseph, novena to our Lady of Perpetual Help, novena to St. Anthony of Padua, novena to St Jude-Thaddeus and the novena to St. Rita of Cascia. The Greek and Romans used to observe nine days of mourning after the death of a loved one, which was concluded with a feast – a kind of a novena.

The home therefore, as our base, is where we set out from and return to. It should be our Church in the house – where we abide with the Lord and bond with one another. A quarterly novena can be observed as the building of our home upon the rock and it will stand all challenges from wherever – for the Lord abides with His children.

Fr. John Olaniran