Friday, December 26, 2014

Unlocking the 54 Day Novena

There is an event on Facebook called 54 Day Rosary Novena beginning January 1, 2015 and ending February 23, 2015.

A novena is traditionally 9 days. It comes from the Latin word novum, which means nine.

You need to mark the dates on your calendar (or keep checking the event page on Facebook). 9 traditional novenas times 6 equals 54. If you divide 54 in half, it equals 27 (9 traditional novenas x 3).

So it looks like this:

First half = 27 days (the length of 3 traditional novenas)
Second half = 27 days (the length of 3 traditional novenas)

Each day, you pray the rosary. There are no additional prayers. However, while you are praying it, you are focused on a particular intention.

The first half of the 54 Days is a prayer of petition. Focus on expressing this need or desire to God and asking for Mary's intercession.

The second half of the 54 Days is a prayer of thanksgiving. Whether things are turning out how you wished or not, you thank God for all He has done and for all He continues to do, as well as Mary for her faithful intercession. This can be where the rubber meets the road, because things may appear to be getting worse. It's a prayer of surrender.

Novenas are not magical and I believe that the 54 Day Novena illustrates that in a beautiful way. We come before the Throne of God, turning over all that we need and desire to Him.
I will put my spirit in you that you may come to life, and I will settle you in your land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. I have spoken; I will do it. -Ezekiel 37:14, NAB
In the description on the event page, there are specific prayers provided, so if your prayer style is such that you prefer praying from what has been already written, you can find those prayers there. If your prayer style is more free-flowing, or if you struggle with scrupulosity, then simply follow what is written above.


  1. I'm in the process of joining the Church and I don't understand the difference between saying the Rosary daily and a novena. Can you explain to me in an email? I would ask someone locally but I am not currently in an RCIA class as I started one last year at a church that I did not feel was a good fit spiritually.

    1. Ashley, yes, I have a full schedule today but I would be happy to continue the conversation in an email format. For the sake of others with the same question, it's a matter of what your specific intentions are while you are praying the rosary. In a regular daily devotion of praying the rosary, any intention is fine and you can shift around from adoring Jesus Christ, expressing sorrow for sins, thanking God for His many blessings, and asking for needs to be met (others and your own), with the confidence that Mary is praying with you and for you.

      With this novena, the format is 27 days of asking for prayers and 27 days of thanking God. (Contrition and Adoration are included, of course, but the discipline of thanking God even when things may still not be going as we wanted them to during the last 27 days is powerful.)