AskDefine | Define novena

Dictionary Definition

novena n : a Roman Catholic devotion consisting of prayers on nine consecutive days [also: novenae (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. (in the Roman Catholic church) A recitation of prayers and devotions for nine consecutive days, especially one to a saint to ask for their intercession




Related terms

Extensive Definition

For the town in Singapore, see Novena, Singapore.
Novena is the feminine form of the Medieval Latin word, novenus, "ninth", which is the ordinal number from novem, nine.
In the Catholic Church, a novena is a devotion consisting of prayer said (most typically) on nine successive days, asking to obtain special graces. These may consist of small prayer books, recitation of the Rosary, or small prayers through the day.
The practice of saying novenas is derived from Scripture. After Jesus' Ascension into heaven, he told his disciples to pray together in the upper room and devote themselves to constant prayer (Acts 1:14). The Apostles, Blessed Virgin Mary, and other followers of Jesus prayed together for nine consecutive days, concluding in the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Though the novena is primarily a devotion used by members of the Catholic Church, it has spread to the Orthodox, Anglican, and even some Lutheran churches.


  • The New Revised "Triple" Novena Manual, by the Right Reverend Monsignor Joseph F. Stedman, Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 1975.
  • Novena, by Barbara Calamari & Sandra DiPasqua, Penguin Studio, 1999. ISBN 0-670-88444-8
novena in German: Novene
novena in Spanish: Novena
novena in French: Neuvaine
novena in Indonesian: Novena
novena in Italian: Novena
novena in Limburgan: Noveen
novena in Dutch: Noveen
novena in Portuguese: Novena
novena in Russian: Новенна
novena in Sicilian: Nuvena

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Mass, Nina from Carolina, bedtime prayer, camp meeting, church, church service, compline, devotions, divine service, duty, ennead, enneastyle, evening devotions, evensong, exercises, lauds, liturgy, matins, meeting, morning devotions, night song, nine, nonage, nonagon, none, nones, nonuplet, office, praise meeting, prayer, prayer meeting, prayers, prime, prime song, public worship, revival, revival meeting, service, sext, tent meeting, tierce, undersong, vesper, vespers, vigils, watch meeting, watch night, watch-night service
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