ALL SAINTS DAY
When a Catholic is baptized, he or she is given a saint’s name, and that saint becomes his or her patron. Also, at confirmation, a saint’s name is selected as one’s confirmation name, preferably that of a saint one would wish to emulate.
This is a general novena to invoke the intercession of your particular saint. Novenas to your patron saint can be done at any time, but they are most appreciated on your saint’s feast day. If that day is unknown to you, or you do not have a patron, November 1 has been set aside as the Day of All Saints. On this day patron saints are thanks for their protection and are asked to become more present in our lives.
The Feast of All Saints was first observed in May 609 in order to rededicate the Pantheon in Rome from a pagan temple devoted to a myriad of gods to a church known as the Blessed Mother and the Martyrs (now called Santa Maria Rotonda). Even in these early times there were thousands of saints, too many for the official calendar, and it was felt that there should be a day dedicated to them. Attendance at the ceremony was so great that the food and wine for the festivities were depleted before the celebration began. The May feast was then moved to November 1, when food supplies were more ample after the harvest.
It is said that when we honor the saints we honor ourselves. By sending them love and admiration, an amplified, magnified form of love and grace is received in return. On All Saints’ Day, the patrons can be prayed to individually or the saints can be universally invoked. Since the saints have had a human existence, meditating on and reflecting on their natures and lives offers the hope of improving or perfecting one’s own way of being. The saints intercede for us as a group, and with such powers, it would be impossible for prayers to go unanswered. So long as it is in accordance with God’s will, it is the desire of the saints to aid in the fulfillment of God’s wishes.
Here the image used to illustrate the novena for All Saints represents a vision that the warden of the Church of Saint Peter was purported to have had one year after the first All Saints’ Day. After he went from altar to altar imploring the help of each saint, he sat down in rapt ecstasy. Then he saw an endless procession of saints, representing every race being led by the angel before the throne of Christ and the Virgin Mary. They sang their thanks to God for the honor done them by those on earth and they prayed for the entire world. Then the angel instructed the warden to tell the Pope what he had seen and commanded him to establish the day after the Feast of All Saints as a day for the departed souls, so that those who had no one to pray for them would be remembered as a group. Thus, the Day of All Souls is on November 2.
The Day of All Saints is November 1
Novena to Your Patron Saint
Glorious Saint ____, my beloved patron, you served God in humility and with confidence on earth. Now you enjoy his beatific vision in heaven. You preserved until death and gained the crown of eternal life. Remember now the dangers and confusion and anguish that surround me in my needs and troubles, especially (mention your request) Amen.
Say this novena nine times in a row for nine days in a row.
Excerpted from the book “Novena: The Power of Prayer” by Barbara Calamari and Sandra DiPasqua