Under the patronage of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
All of the faithful are also invited to spread the novena across the globe via social media.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM, Archbishop of Durban, South Africa and one of the four Council Presidents of the Synod, has endorsed the novena, describing the initiative as “one of the best preparations the Church could make for the second session of the Synod on the Family.”
“The Church is a merciful mother,” said McCarthy who comes from Sydney, Australia. “She is also faithful to her own teaching, that of Christ her spouse. ‘Mercy and faithfulness have met,’ as we read in the Psalms. With this Novena of Adoration for the upcoming Synod on the Family, our hopes and prayers are that mercy and faithfulness embrace: that the Church continues to preserve the great reverence due to the Holy Eucharist as well as the indissolubility of marriage between one woman and one man, whilst at the same time respecting all men and women, irrespective of their situations, respecting their dignity as children of God and continuing, as always, to pardon and sanctify those who wish to grow in grace.”
Some groups or individuals may be concerned that they’ll miss the first day of the novena on February 5th, but there’s no cause for concern. In fact, it is hoped that the number of priests, religious, laity and even children who respond to the novena will continue to grow as the Synod approaches.
The important thing is to pray and participate. You are therefore encouraged to put social media at the service of the Lord, and to unite in worldwide Eucharistic Adoration for the Synod on the Family. As the saints teach us, Eucharistic Adoration is one of the most powerful forms of prayer, for in the Holy Eucharist we find the very fount and wellspring of grace, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Our Patroness, St. Thérèse of Lisieux
St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Doctor of the Church, is our patroness of the Eucharistic Adoration novena for the 2015 Synod. We have chosen St. Thérèse for several reasons.
First, because as providence would have it, the final day of the novena falls on October 1st, which is her feast day in the new calendar.
Secondly, St. Thérèse shows us how one soul adoring the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament can change the world. Although as a Carmelite she never left her convent in France, still the Church has named her co-patroness of missions (together with the great Jesuit missionary, St. Francis Xavier) in order to keep before us the truth that all of the Church’s missionary fruitfulness is accomplished by grace obtained through prayer.
Thirdly, St. Therese’s mother and father were both recently beatified — on October 19th, 2008 — and are a shining example of marriage and family life. They show us that marriage and family life lived according to God’s plan is a vocation and call to holiness, and a source of joy.
And finally, Pope Francis seems to be very fond of St. Thérèse, and quotes her quite frequently. In fact, most recently, in his beautiful 2015 Message for Lent, he cited one of her letters, written shortly before her death, in which she makes bold to declare: “I trust fully that I shall not remain idle in heaven; my desire is to continue to work for the Church and for souls” (Letter 254, July 14, 1897). In the same message Pope Francis also said that “in order to receive what God gives us and to make it bear abundant fruit, we need to press beyond the boundaries of the visible Church … by uniting ourselves in prayer with the Church in heaven.” We are therefore inviting St. Thérése to work and to intercede for the Church, the Pope and the Synod Fathers, confident in her powerful and unfailing help!
We invoke the powerful intercession of the Most Holy Virgin, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church. As Pope Francis said of the synod at his weekly general audience on Dec. 10: “Let us entrust it to the protection of the Virgin, our Mother: that she may help us to follow the will of God, taking pastoral decisions which may help the family more and better. I ask you to accompany this synodal path with prayer until the next Synod. May the Lord illuminate us, enable us to move toward the maturity of what we, as a Synod, must say to all the Churches. Your prayer is very important for this.”
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Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.
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