June 19-27, Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help

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I invite the readers of Vultus Christi to join me in making the Novena in Preparation for the Feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help on June 27th. This is also the perfect moment to obtain an icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and put it in in a place of honour in your home. Images of Our Mother of Perpetual Help are readily available from the Redemptorist Fathers nearest you.

Things change when a family, a community, or a person living alone, begin to live under the compassionate gaze of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. By accepting the icon of the Mother of God into our homes, we accept her also into our hearts and so fulfill what is written concerning Saint John, the Beloved Disciple of the Lord: "And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own" (Jn 19:27).

Respice Stellam, Voca Mariam

O you, whoever you are
who feel that in the tidal wave of this world
you are nearer to being tossed about among the squalls and gales
than treading on dry land:
if you do not want to founder in the tempest
do not avert your eyes from the brightness of this star.

When the wind of temptation blows up within you,
when you strike upon the rock of tribulation,
gaze up at this star, call out to Mary.

Whether you are being tossed about
by the waves of pride or ambition,
or slander or jealousy,
gaze up at this star, call out to Mary.

When rage or greed or fleshly desires are battering the skiff of your soul,
gaze up at Mary.

When the immensity of your sins weighs you down
and you are bewildered by the loathesomeness of your conscience,
when the terrifying thought of judgment appalls you
and you begin to founder in the gulf of sadness and despair,
think of Mary.

In dangers, in hardships, in every doubt,
think of Mary, call out to Mary.
Keep her in your mouth, keep her in your heart.
Follow the example of her life
and you will obtain the favour of her prayer.

Following her, you will never go astray.
Asking her help, you will never despair.
Keeping her in your thoughts, you will never wander away.

With your hand in hers, you will never stumble.
With her protecting you, you will not be afraid.
With her leading you, you will never tire.

Her kindness will see you through to the end.
Then you will know by your own experience,
how true it is that "the Virgin's name was Mary."

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
Homily Two in Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Novena Prayers to Our Mother of Perpetual Help

First Prayer

Behold at thy feet, O Mother of Perpetual Help, a wretched sinner who has recourse to thee and confides in thee. O Mother of mercy, have pity on me. I hear thee called by all the refuge and the hope of sinners: be then, my refuge and my hope. Assist me, for the love of Jesus Christ; stretch forth thy hand to a miserable fallen creature who recommends himself to thee, and who devotes himself to thy service for ever. I bless and thank Almighty God, who in His mercy has given me this confidence in thee, which I hold to be a pledge of my eternal salvation. It is true that in the past I have miserably fallen into sin, because I had not recourse to thee. I know that, with thy help, I shall conquer. I know too, that thou wilt assist me, if I recommend myself to thee; but I fear that, in time of danger, I may neglect to call on thee, and thus lose my soul. This grace, then, I ask of thee, and this I beg, with all the fervor of my soul, that in all the attacks of hell I may ever have recourse to thee. O Mary, help me. O Mother of Perpetual Help, never suffer me to lose my God.

Three Hail Marys.

Second Prayer

O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O purest Mary, O sweetest Mary, let thy name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me, whenever I call on thee; for, in all my temptations, in all my needs, I shall never cease to call on thee, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary. O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion, fill my soul when I utter thy sacred name, or even only think of thee. I thank the Lord for having given thee, for my good so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely uttering thy name. Let my love for thee prompt me ever to hail thee, Mother of Perpetual Help.

Three Hail Marys.

Third Prayer

O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou art the dispenser of all the gifts which God grants to us miserable sinners; and for this end He has made thee so powerful, so rich, and so bountiful, in order that thou mayest help us in our misery. Thou art the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners who have recourse to thee: come to my aid, for I recommend myself to thee. In thy hands I place my eternal salvation, and to thee I entrust my soul. Count me among thy most devoted servants; take me under thy protection, and it is enough for me. For, if thou protect me, I fear nothing; not from my sins, because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them; nor from the devils, because thou art more powerful than all hell together; nor even from Jesus, my judge, because by one prayer from thee He will be appeased. But one thing I fear: that in the hour of temptation I may through negligence fail to have recourse to thee and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me, therefore, the pardon of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace ever to have recourse to thee, O Mother of Perpetual Help.

Three Hail Marys.

Invocations to Our Lady

O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou whose very name inspires confidence.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may be victorious in the trying time of temptation.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may quickly rise again should I have the misfortune to fall into sin.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may break asunder any bonds of Satan in which I may have become entangled.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
Against the seductions of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may return to my former fervour should I ever become lukewarm.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may approach the Sacrament of Penance with a heart pierced by sorrow for my sins.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may receive and adore the Most Holy Eucharist with love, thanksgiving, and awe.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
[Priests: That I may live my holy priesthood in intimate union with thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Victim and Priest.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.]
Against my own inconstancy.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
Against my own infidelity.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
In the spiritual battle against my vices and sins.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
When the powers of darkness threaten me.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may persevere to the end in faith, hope and charity.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may never despair of the Mercy of God.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may ever love thee and serve thee and invoke thine assistance.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may make thy Perpetual Help known to others.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may invite others to pray to thee and to venerate thy sacred image.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
At the hour of my death.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.

Blessing of the Sick By A Priest

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who hath made Heaven and earth.
V. O Lord hear my prayer.

R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Look down, O Lord, upon Thy servants failing from bodily weakness,
and refresh their souls which Thou hast created
that being bettered by Thy chastening
they may presently feel themselves healed and saved by Thy pity.

Grant, O Lord, we beseech Thee that these Thy servants
may enjoy continual health of body and soul,
and through the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin,
Our Mother of Perpetual Help,
be freed from their present sorrow and enjoy eternal gladness.
Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

The Lord Jesus Christ be with you to defend you;
within you to preserve you;
before you to lead you,
behind you to guide you;
above you to bless you,
Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns forever and ever.
R. Amen.

The blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit
descend upon you and remain with you always.
R. Amen


Thanks for reminding us that OL of Perpetual Help Novena begins tomorrow.

I woke up this morning thinking how I should make a novena to O.L. of P. H. This post confirms the inspiration.

As the Eastern Church teaches: The child Jesus was playing near His Most Blessed Mother when He saw two angels come with the instruments of the passion, the Cross, the spear, and nails, and sponge etc.---He was so terrified, that He ran with great haste into the arms of His Mother and she picked Him up and held Him in her arms and consoled and comforted Him. If you notice the foot of Our Blessed Lord...you will see that one of His sandals has come unstrapped and is falling off. This occurred when He ran in fear into His Mother's arms.

May she always pick US up in times of fear and worry...and may she console and comfort all those in need!

Most Holy Mother of God---save us through your holy prayers!

I will be united in prayer here in New Haven. Thanks.

Don Marco, you continually cause me to wonder. Here in this one post are contained three of the most precious treasures of my heart: the Miraculous Icon of our Mother of Perpetual Help, St. Bernard's Sermon which has become the guide and rule of my life, and those prayers-- those most dangerous prayers-- which have the power to change lives.

It has been a source of regret to me that the western US province with it's publishing house moved away from these three traditional novena prayers which were very slightly adapted from St. Alphonsus' own pen. These prayers are powerful. They change lives. They are real. They know the human heart and soul. They are hope-filled. And they provide the helps needed to grow in holiness.

Although I am beginning the novena today as is our Redemptorist custom, I will remember the intentions of all those making this great novena throughout the world and ask for the same remembrance. Together we are a powerful force numbering in the millions. We will certainly be keeping our Mother busy!

Dear Father,

Thank you for bringing us to see the icon. It was a privilege to venerate it and to kiss it.

Dear Father Scott, I wish I had known that Redemptorists began the novena today! I would have adjusted my post accordingly. Everything you say about the "dangerous" prayers is true. I first prayed them from a little book, as a boy hidden in the solitude of my treehouse in my backyard. Some weeks ago when I went to the Church of Sant'Alfonso here in Rome and asked for a copy of the novena prayers, I was given, alas, a very watered-down "Gaudium et Spes" version of the novena that left my Neapolitan/Irish heart cold. There is a particular unction and power and sweetness attached to the traditional prayers.

Probably like many pilgrims before me, I walked from the cluster of hospitals (Children's, Dana Farber, Brigham, Beth Israel Deaconess) to the Mission Church on Tremont Street in Boston last month to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The beauty of the icon and its presentation in the Mission Church (run by the Redemptorists) made an impression, as did the large number of used crutches which were on display along with letters and placques of thanksgiving for healing. Consequently I obtained a small circular representation of the icon for our home which will take a place of honor for the next nine day of prayer. Thank you, Father for posting the novena prayers.

Father, I'm confused... Do we pray all 3 of the prayers every day? or do we alternate between the three over the 9 days?

I say all three prayers each day, followed by the invocations. I don't know what others do, but as it is a prayer, and not a recipe, love is more important than exactitude.

It was traditional in Redemptorist churches to pray all three prayers, each followed by nine Aves, the invocations and several other prayers each day. The usual custom now is to alternate them over the nine days (or weeks in a "perpetual novena") followed by three Aves and the invocations. Another way that I have found especially helpful is to divide the prayers over the course of the day, morning, afternoon, and evening, kind of like a "little office."

Dear Father Scott, Thank you so much for your helpful comment. I plan on making a little pilgrimage to the Church of Sant'Alfonso this morning, in spite of the oppressive heat we are having here. I will remember you there again before the miraculous icon.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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