Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, is invoked by Christians under many titles: Queen of Peace, Queen of the most holy Rosary, Queen of Martyrs, etc. In this novena, we honor her as the Queen of Apostles—the first devotion to Mary found in the Church. The title is rooted in Scripture. Each day of the novena reflects upon a specific Scriptural aspect of Mary as Mother of the first Apostle: Jesus Christ, and Queen of those who follow Jesus: Mary: Blessed Among Women; Mary: Communicator of God’s Grace; Mary: Mother of the Savior; Mary: Teacher of the Apostles; Mary: Faithful Disciple; Mary: Mother of the Good Shepherd; Mary: Woman of Sorrows: Mary, Our Mother; Mary: Queen of Pentecost.
The tradition of praying novenas has its roots in the earliest days of the Church. Christians have always prayed for various needs, trusting that God both hears and answers prayer. The word “novena” derives from the Latin term novem, meaning nine. In a novena we pray a prayer for nine days. “But,” we might wonder, “doesn’t God know our needs before we event ask? Isn’t praying once for something enough?” Although we believe in God’s love for us, something we need to remind ourselves of this. Although we know we are held in God’s hands and that God will not let go, sometimes we need reassurance. What may appear to be mere repetition in a novena is really a continual act of faith and hope in our loving God.
Just as we pray for each other while here on earth, those who have gone before us and are united with God in heaven can pray for us and intercede for us as well. We use the term “communion of saints” to refer to this exchange of spiritual help among the members of the Church on earth, those who have died and are being purified, and the saints in heaven. Devotion to the saints can help us witness to our faith and encourage us in our commitment to lead lives of holiness and service as they did.