Happy Feast of St. Andrew and beginning of the St. Andrew Christmas Novena. What? Not sure what I’m talking about…that’s ok. In this post I will share information about who St. Andrew was, why he’s important, what’s a Feast Day, what’s a novena and why are we praying to a dead Apostle? Grab something warm to drink and sit back, this post will bless and encourage you as we begin the Advent season. There is also a free printable St. Andrew Novena prayer page. We print one off for each member of our family every year so they can follow along with the prayer and keep their intentions all in one place. Enjoy!
*I have updated the printable St. Andrew Novena prayer. You can find the updated version along with a free desktop or mobile wallpaper of the St. Andrew prayer when you click here.
St Andrew Christmas Novena
Who was St. Andrew? Well, according to the Gospel of John, Andrew was a follower of St. John the Baptist and when he saw Jesus, immediately recognized Christ as the Messiah and called his brother, Simon Peter to follow Him. Andrew was also present at the Last Supper; Andrew was with our Lord from the beginning of His public life to His earthly end. Andrew is also recognized as the Apostle who tells our Lord of the boy with five barley loaves and two small fishes.[note]John 6:1-15[/note] Tradition states after Jesus ascended into Heaven, St. Andrew went to Greece to preach the gospel. He was eventual crucified by being tied to a cross shaped in the form of an “X.” He lived two days, hanging in that state of suffering, still preaching the Gospel to the people gathered around.
St. Andrew is important because he was our Lord’s first follower. Not only did he follow Christ, he followed Christ to the death, Jesus’ and his own…and kept on preaching the Gospel right to the very end. That is the example I want to follow in my life and leave for my children.
Next, what is a Feast Day? According the Catholic Encyclopedia, “Feast Days, or Holy Days, are days which are celebrated in commemoration of the sacred mysteries and events recorded in the history of our redemption, in memory of the Virgin Mother of Christ, or of His apostles, martyrs, and saints, by special services and rest from work. A feast not only commemorates an event or person, but also serves to excite the spiritual life by reminding us of the event it commemorates.” So on November 30th each year, we call to mind the life and death of St. Andrew.
Now, what’s a novena? A novena is simply nine days of prayer. Although the St Andrew Christmas Novena begins November 30 and is said until Christmas Eve. But for a typical novena, “Why nine days?” Think back to the story of the Apostles and Mary waiting in the upper room after our Lord’s Ascension. They were instructed by our Lord to pray and wait for the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1) And although the Book of Acts does use the term “Novena” or “Nine days of prayer” here’s the timeline of events:
Ascension: Day 40, Apostles go into prayer.
41 Pray – First day of prayer.
42 Pray – Day 2
43 Pray – Day 3
44 Pray – Day 4
45 Pray – Day 5
46 Pray – Day 6
47 Pray – Day 7
48 Pray – Day 8
49 Pray – Day 9
Pentecost: Holy Spirit descends
And again, why nine days? Aside from the obvious timeline of events, there is a constancy in prayer evident in committing to nine days. The scriptures tell us to pray without ceasing. Also, recall the story our Lord told of the persistent widow found in Luke 18. The widow was rewarded for her persistence. (Luke 18:7)
We are not praying to St. Andrew, we are seeking his intercession. Seeking the intercession of a saint or Mary, the Mother of Jesus can cause some confusion. But just like you may call me and ask me to pray for some intention you have: your husband getting a job, your mother’s medical tests, joy in your home today…we ask the saints to do the same for us. And no, that is not praying to the dead as some may say. How many times do we say or hear someone say, “I know my granny is looking out for me from Heaven…I feel like my mom is watching over me through this trial…” Seeking the intercession of the saints is the same thing.
I hope I have answered any and all questions you may have about praying the St. Andrew Novena also known as the St. Andrew Christmas Novena. Now, do you want to read some lovely stories of answered prayer? Well, I’ve gathered some attributed to the praying of the St. Andrew Novena:
Mary@Young and Catholic–Why You Should Pray the St. Andrew Christmas Novena This Advent
Sarah@Amongst Lovely Things–Why I Love the St. Andrew Christmas Novena
Allison@1 Peter 5–Vouchsafe, O My God
Elizabeth@In the Heart of My Home–One Quiet Moment with God (Looking back through Elizabeth’s archives, it seems she’s been promoting this efficacious devotion since at least 2006 on her blog. I’m sure St. Andrew will greet her with a smile for helping spread this lovely devotion.