Rogations Ablaze and the Original Novena
Besides the Major Rogation on April 25, the Minor Rogation Days are somewhat newer, observed first in southern France around the year 470 and spreading from there. Today, these are observed in the same way, with processions and prayers, accompanied by personal fasting and penance if possible. The Minor Rogations take place on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday. Even in dioceses that transfer the celebration of the Ascension to the following Sunday, it still makes the most sense to keep the Rogations on Monday through Wednesday.
If you’d like to join the processions on these days to pray for crops, livestock, and many other needs—again, starting and ending inside the church and processing around the block if weather permits—I’ll be having one in Bowdle on Monday, May 15 (which also happens to be the feast of Saint Isidore the Farmer) at 9:00 am, and in Hoven on Tuesday, May 16, immediately following the weekday Mass or at about 5:55 pm. On Wednesday, I’ll be leaving early to get to Brookings for a Set Ablaze meeting for all priests who will be serving as parochial vicars in the new pastorates, so there won’t be Mass offered publicly nor a rogation procession. I plan to stay somewhere overnight and return the next day, so Bowdle’s Mass on Thursday will be in the evening at 5:15 pm.
This week we also begin the original novena—novena coming from the Latin word for nine—first prayed by the Blessed Mother and the Apostles and other disciples gathered in the upper room where the Last Supper had been celebrated. After the Ascension of Jesus into heaven on Thursday, they continued together for nine days, in prayer for the Gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. One of my favorite forms of this novena is the “Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts.” The easiest way to find it is probably to just type “seven gifts novena EWTN” into an Internet search.
Regardless of which specific prayers you use, please do join in praying during these nine days for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon yourself, your family, our parishes, our diocese, even upon the Church throughout the world, especially as we prepare to celebrate Confirmation in our parishes on June 10 and for Set Ablaze beginning in July. The days of the Novena run from Friday, May 19, to Saturday, May 27, the Eve of Pentecost Sunday. May the Fire of the Holy Spirit purify our minds and hearts and spur us on to proclaim with all boldness the saving Gospel of Christ, even as His first Apostles did after Pentecost.