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Christian customs: Novena to the Holy Spirit

Tags: Holy Spirit, Prayer, Download, epub, Pentecost
Jacob deWit, <i> Holy Family and Trinity </i>
Jacob deWit, Holy Family and Trinity
The Novena to the Holy Spirit is a long-standing custom through which the Church encourages the faithful to prepare for the descent of the Holy Spirit in the best possible way.

Some prayers to the Holy Spirit, in preparation for Pentecost, are downloadable here in pdf and epub format.


The Novena begins 10 days before Pentecost, i.e. on the day that Christ our Lord ascended into Heaven. On that day, Jesus promised his disciples that he would send them the Paraclete.

St Josemaria, founder of Opus Dei, describes this moment in the Church’s history as follows: “Let's turn now to the days between the ascension and Pentecost. As a result of the triumph of Christ's resurrection, the disciples are full of faith; they eagerly await the promised Holy Spirit. They want to stay close to one another, and so we find them ‘with Mary, the mother of Jesus,’ praying as a single family.” (Christ is Passing By, 141)

Don Alvaro del Portillo tells us that “precisely because the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity is the one who is invoked the least, our Father had a special devotion to him. I can say unhesitatingly that the Father, in his preaching, was a great herald of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

St Josemaria used strips of paper as bookmarks for his Breviary. Later, he said, “When I saw those blank pieces of paper, I started writing on them: ‘<i>Ure igne Sancti Spiritus!</i> Burn us with the fire of the Holy Spirit!’”
St Josemaria used strips of paper as bookmarks for his Breviary. Later, he said, “When I saw those blank pieces of paper, I started writing on them: ‘Ure igne Sancti Spiritus! Burn us with the fire of the Holy Spirit!’”
He often told me that ever since 1926 or 1927 he had practiced the devotion to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity very intensely. Every year he followed the Novena to the Holy Spirit using the book by Francisca Javiera del Valle. In April 1934 he composed a prayer to the Paraclete, and gave a copy of it to Ricardo Fernandez Vallespin, who was then the Director of the first Opus Dei hall of residence.”

“The Holy Spirit performs God’s works in the world. He is, as the liturgical hymn sings, the giver of gifts, the light of hearts, the soul’s guest, rest in work, and consolation in sorrow. Without his help, there is nothing in man that is innocent and worthy, because it is the Holy Spirit who cleanses what is stained, cures what is sick, enkindles what is cold, straightens what has gone astray, and leads men to the door of salvation and eternal joy” (Christ is Passing By, no. 130).

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