The students at St. Andrew Nativity School in Northeast Portland are participating in the Novena of Grace this year, receiving bookmarks to pray along with the St. Ignatius community and submitting petitions to be read during the Novena masses.
Two Nativity eighth-grade girls loved the idea of St. Ignatius Parish reading student petitions so much, they wanted to do the same thing at Nativity School. They came up with a plan and had it approved by their principal. They will ask students and faculty to write petitions in study hall this Monday and Tuesday, and then on Wednesday, March 12, they will lead a prayer service with the petitions during morning assembly.
We love the spirit and energy with which these middle schoolers are bringing the Novena to life this year. As a Nativity teacher said, “It is somehow so simple and so powerful for the students and for me.”
Thanks to St. Andrew Nativity School for sharing in our tradition!
This marks the second year that we’re using Jesuit vow crosses for blessing ministry during the Novena. These crucifixes have profound meaning within the Society of Jesus. Jesuits receive these as they make their first vows and they have all been used as part of a mission to a parish; people were given a blessing by way of the Jesuit’s vow crucifix. In the Oregon Province, these crosses are passed down through the generations; as Jesuits pass away, the crosses are then given to the novices as they make their first vows.
Francis Xavier carried the same kind of vow
cross with him wherever he went. He used it for teachings and blessings as he traveled throughout the East. The statue of Xavier in the front of the church portrays him, young and fiery, with his vow cross. We choose to use these vow crosses as a prayer of drawing nearer with both St. Francis as well as the communion of all the Jesuits who have held these crosses in their hands. Know that all of them will be praying for you as you come up for an individual blessing with the vow cross.
Our Novena planning team is excited for Wednesday to come! We’ve been spreading posters around town, and the brochures and prayer cards are being printed as we speak. Please visit our ‘Materials‘ page for digital copies of all our bright Novena artwork. Feel free to share via email with your friends and colleagues. We’re looking forward to seeing you all this week!
St. Ignatius Parish is excited to announce this year’s Novena presenters and theme. We welcome Bishop Carlos Sevilla, SJ, who works closely with migrant workers in Yakima, WA, Jeremy Marks, former Pastoral Associate at St. André Bessette Catholic Church, and St. Ignatius parishioner Jeannette Grimaldi. They will give reflections on this year’s theme: Hearts that Hunger: A Conversation with Our God from March 5-13. We’re eagerly anticipating the Novena kickoff in three weeks!