May is celebrated as the Month of Mary in the Church’s liturgical year. During this month, Christians offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration.
We turn to Mary in prayer because she helps us to say “yes” to God in our daily lives. Just like we listen to our mothers, Jesus listens to His mother Mary. Mary listens to us and brings our prayers right to Jesus, her son.
During the month of May, parishioners can dedicate themselves to praying the Rosary more frequently.
A special devotion that may be completed in May is the Novena to Our Lady of Fatima.
"The word novena is taken from “novem,” the Latin word for nine. A novena is made up of nine days of prayer and meditation usually to ask God for special prayer requests or petitions. Novenas are often used to ask specific saints to pray for us. Novenas are an ancient tradition that goes back to the days of the Apostles. Jesus told His disciples to pray together after His ascension into heaven, so they went to an upper room along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, (Acts 1:14) and joined constantly in prayer for nine days. These nine days of constant prayer by the Apostles at the direction of Jesus led up to Pentecost. This is when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples as “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:1-4). This pattern of 9 days of prayer is the basis the novenas we pray today. Thus, the novena is an imitation of the Lord’s command to the Apostles when they prayed for 9 days in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit." (quote from https://www.praymorenovenas.com/how-to-pray-a-novena
To pray the Novena to Our Lady of Fatima, for a period of nine days pray the following prayers:
- Most Holy Virgin, who has deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three little shepherds the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary, inspire our hearts with sincere love of this devotion. By meditating on the mysteries of our redemption that are recalled in your Rosary, may we gather the fruits contained therein and obtain the conversion of sinners, the conversion of Russia, the Peace of Christ for the world, and this favor that I so earnestly seek of you in this novena....(here mention your request). I ask this of you, for the greater glory of God, for your own honor and for the good of all people. Amen.
- Say the Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be (three times each)
Why pray a Novena to Our Lady of Fatima?
Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of the Rosary, are titles given to the Blessed Virgin Mary following her appearances to three children at Fatima, Portugal, in 1916. The children were born to poor families. Their work consisted of household chores and herding the family’s sheep. They witnessed several visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who performed multiple miracles, including one witnessed by many thousands (the miracle of “the dancing sun”). Her message was one of prayer, including, the reciting of the Rosary. Francisco and Jacinta died, aged 9 and 10, from the great influenza epidemic, and Lucia in 2005. The Feast of Blessed Jacinta & Francisco Marto is 20th February. The Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is 13th May.
Praying the Novena to Our Lady of Fatima is one way to respond to Mary's request to all of us to pray the Rosary.