For this Novena, the chief object of which is to promote the reunion of those who have fallen away from the Catholic Church (the Church of the Apostles) either by heresy or by schism, any approved form of prayer may be used — e.g., ”The Chaplet of ‘he Holy Ghost” (below); the hymn ”Veni, Creator Spiritus” (the Sequence used in the Tridentine Mass at Pentecost); or the “Our Father” — the ”Hail Mary” —’the “Glory be” — seven times.
In apostolic letter Provida Matris Caritate Pope Leo XIII calls for a sacred novena prayers between the feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost for the specific intention of reuniting Christendom. His Holiness issued an encyclical on the Holy Spirit in 1897 entitled Divinum Illud Munus, in which he repeated this call and extended it to one for a perpetual novena, thereby emphasizing the need for the Holy Ghost to intervene in the life of the Catholic Church
“In Our Letter Provida Matris, We recommended to Catholics special prayers at the Feast of Pentecost, for the reunion of Christendom, so now We desire to make certain further decrees on the same subject. Wherefore, We decree and command that throughout the whole Catholic Church, this year and in every subsequent year, a novena shall take place before Whit-Sunday [Pentecost], in all parish churches, and also, if the local ordinaries think fit, in other churches and oratories.
To all who take part in this novena and duly pray for Our intention, We grant for each day an indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines; moreover, a plenary indulgence on any of the days of the novena, or on Whit-Sunday itself, or on any day during the octave; provided they shall have received the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, and devoutly prayed for Our intention.
We will that those who are legitimately prevented from attending the novena, or who are in places where the devotions cannot, in the judgment of the ordinary, be conveniently carried out in church, shall equally enjoy the same benefits, provided they make the novena privately and observe the other conditions. Moreover We are pleased to grant, in perpetuity, from the Treasury of the Church, that whosoever, daily during the octave of Pentecost up to Trinity Sunday inclusive, offer again publicly or privately any prayers; according to their devotion, ·to the Holy Ghost, and satisfy the above conditions, shall a second time gain each of the same indulgences. All these indulgences We also permit to be applied as suffrages for the souls in purgatory.”
The Pentecost Novena is the first of all novenas, nine days of prayer.
Divinum Illud Munus Encyclical on Holy Ghost, May 9, 1897
Handbook of the Pious Union in honor of God the Holy Ghost. Imprimatur, 1938.
Suggested Readings: On the True Meaning of Religious Unity and Unity of the Church
How to Recite the Chaplet of the Holy Ghost
Book of Devotions to the Holy Ghost
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