Found a novena in the pews today

The front has an image of St. Jude and the writing “This Novena must be said 6 times each day for 9 consecutive days. Please leave 9 copies in church each day. Your prayer will be answered before the 9th day. This has never been known to fail.”

So I think a parishioner left it today.

First…has it actually never been known to fail, or is it an unapproved personal revelation promise?

Someone must be very distressed about some issue and is praying to St. Jude for intercession.

Second, one of the lines says, “Humbly I prostrate myself before you.”

Isn’t prostration a sign of worship and meant for God alone…? Am I missing something…? I hope so…

  1. ?

  2. Just check out Orthodox & Eastern Catholics on Forgiveness Sunday to see each person prostrating before each individual present while begging for forgiveness. And since we do prostrate before fellow sinner, how much more appropriate would it be to prostrate before a Saint who is in Heaven with God Himself?

I see…I thought it was reserved for in front of the Crucifix or altar or something.

So instead of praying for the person’s need, you post this on an internet forum…

Actually, I’m not sure how it got there or who left it or the circumstances behind its appearance. But it said St. Jude is the patron saint of desperate situations and hopeless cases, so I just assumed someone might be imploring him. It could have been left for an unrelated reason.

I don’t know why they were told to leave it in church. (Maybe to spread devotion and prayer?)

(And I’m not sure if it was OK for me to take one home…It was just lying there on the pew. It wasn’t printed on fancy paper, just ordinary white sheet.)

I’m not Catholic. But I’m trying to learn about the prayers and dedications.

And something piqued my curiosity about a devotional practice (e.g. prostration) that seemed odd from a Protestant point of view. I was told certain promises of Mary were not approved…wanted to know if that was the case here, too.

But thanks for the judgmental look.

Edit: Regardless, I should have prayed for the person who left it…whoever it was.

The priest at the school I attended called this type of prayer superstition.

Aren’t all novenas approved?

Looking back, it says the prayer will be answered, not necessarily granted…

Stay away from this “Catholic Chain Letter”. Part of my job as parish receptionist is to evaluate materials left in and around the church building and remove them if they are not approved. My pastor happily showed me just how this type of novena is to be treated: crumple up very tightly and place in the circular file.

Oh…I didn’t know this type of thing existed…

I just feel bad doing that because if it’s indeed a real person in need, s/he left it there out of desperation…

So in this case, what went wrong? Is it that the parishioner did not obtain approval to leave these, or is there something theologically wrong with the novena?

It’s basically a chain letter and superstitious: only if you do this will the saint help you. Novenas to St. Jude are just fine and I’m sure are efficacious but to attach such a requirement to them is just not right.

Our parish requires that all materials left at the church entrances be approved by the pastor before being posted or placed there. Things like this get removed fairly quickly. This particular superstition requires 9 copies placed in church 9 days in a row - that’s 81 copies to be removed from the church in just over a week - a lot of work for those who keep our church clean and tidy.

In this case, prostrate means “place my prayers before you” no worship intended.

Secondly, A priest once told me to throw away every one of those prayer chains as they boarder on superstition and mislead many faithful. God Bless, Memaw

These prayer chains as they call them have been around for many years and it seems there’s no end to them no matter how hard we try to discourage their distribution. Just throw it away and forget it. God Bless, Memaw

If you want to offer a prayer for the poor person’s intention who left the novena, that would be a nice thing to do, but there is no need to do that either.

I’m a cradle Catholic and have never been drawn to do any novena that ask for “making copies”.

I’m sure the person who left it, must think the prayer and copies will be beneficial. I don’t think God or the saints in their interecession to God for us - really need a “recipe” of prayer and copies in order to hear our prayers.

May God bless you on your journey in faith.

I’m in agreement with many of the other posters on this thread. I used to work at a Dominican parish, and the Brother who managed the parish would go around and collect those things out of the pews (he seemed to find a handful of them in the church almost every day). He said they were just superstition, and the Catholic equivalent of a chain letter. Plus, they were a nuisance, because they amounted to more litter in the church.

He was always concerned about people finding them, because once someone found them, that person would inevitably print more and continue the chain.

By the way, out of curiosity, why is this in the Non-Catholic Religions forum?

Regarding the “never known to fail” claim: Another Catholic Internet forum I belong to expressly forbids prayer posts with such claims, regarding them as rank superstition.

We are not to expect to have our prayers answered the way we want just because we follow a certain “formula”. Instead we submit our requests to God, trusting that He will answer in accordance with His will.

I’m not Catholic…and wasn’t sure where to put this.


When I got on my knees to “humbly” purpose to my girlfriend now my Beautiful wife there was no worship there, I was not worshiping my wife.

Humbly kneeling or prostrating before someone is not necessarily worshiping that someone.

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Ephesians 4:2With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

Now What shows more humbly / humility than getting on your knees / prostrating towards one another? this is the highest form of humility / humbleness.

Ufam Tobie

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