The Diocese of Dallas has encouraged its members to join a novena as the diocese prepares to elect its seventh bishop on May 16. The document offers this introduction:
A novena (Latin novem means nine) is a nine-day discipline of constant prayer in imitation of the nine days between the Ascension of Christ and the Day of Pentecost. During that time the disciples of Jesus “all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14) In addition to focused prayer, they also
- read and reflected upon Holy Scripture in light of our Lord’s Passion (Acts 1:20)
- exhibited the unity of the church (Acts 1:14)
- gathered the believers together in one place, until the total was about 120 (Acts 1:15)
- identified the primary purpose of the apostolic ministry (Acts 1:22) as witnessing to Christ’s resurrection
- held the first episcopal election, replacing Judas Iscariot with Matthias
Since that time, a nine-day discipline of prayer has come to be associated with episcopal elections and with any specific need for prayer. Among Roman Catholics the discipline is common and often takes other shapes — nine hours, nine weeks, or nine months (in imitation of the months our Lord spent in the womb). Regardless of the duration, the ancient pattern of gathering believers in unity for prayer, Scripture, and the invocation of the Holy Spirit for wise decision-making continues to be a vibrant practice in the Church today.
The Daughters of the King of the Diocese of Dallas therefore invite all those who wish to join together in unity for prayer, as did the first disciples of our Lord, to join us in a sacred novena for the election of the next bishop of the Diocese. We commit to pray from May 7 through May 15.