Novena – Private or Public: What’s the difference?

Q: Regarding the practice of praying Novenas, which is typically a nine-day series of prayers for a particular intention … what’s the difference between a private novena and a public novena?

A: Public novenas are approved by the Holy See, for routine use by the whole church. Private novenas carry no such approval … which is not to say there is anything necessarily wrong with them (but there might be).

Historical background:

The distinction between private and public use derives above all from the 1917 Code of Canon Law (Canon 1259.2). It forbade the public recitation of litanies that had not been approved by the Holy See. This prohibition included not only the public recitation of unapproved litanies by priests but extended to particular groups of the faithful who prayed in common without an ordained minister present.

This canon has not been retained in the present code. And while the law today is somewhat more flexible, it does not necessarily mean that all litanies formally approved for private use can now be publicly used.

There were and are good reasons for not multiplying the number of public litanies. Canon 839.2 of the 1983 Code directs the local ordinary to assure that “the prayers and pious and sacred exercises of the Christian people are fully in keeping with the norms of the Church.”

– Answer furnished by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university. Courtesy of ZENIT International News Agency and the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

Go Wichita! Save the Catholic Schools!

Go Wichita
Save the Catholic schools.
By William J. Bennett

One of the notable events of Pope Benedict’s recent visit to the United States was his address to Catholic educators.

While he focused most of his comments on the role of the Catholic University, he did not forget to remind us of the need to recommit to our Catholic elementary and secondary schools, “especially those in poorer areas.” And as President Bush is set to convene a summit on inner-city children and faith-based schools this week, it is worth reflecting on the decimation of America’s urban Catholic primary and secondary schools and what can be done about it.

For more, click here.

Submitted by Doria2