With the Nov. 8 election approaching, the Knights of Columbus have released a novena addressed to Mary, the Immaculate Conception, who is the patroness of the United States.
The novena consists of nine days of prayer, starting Oct. 30 and running through Nov. 7, the eve of the election.
In 1791, America’s first bishop, John Carroll, entrusted his diocese – which was the entire country at the time – to Mary in 1791. The U.S. bishops affirmed that dedication in 1846, declaring Mary the Immaculate Conception to be patroness of the United States.
The novena prayer comes from the 1959 dedication of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. It was approved that year by Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle, then-archbishop of Washington.
Parishes, Knights of Columbus councils, families and individuals are invited to participate in the novena.
“The Church teaches that Catholics are called to form their consciences based on Church teaching and vote in accordance with that well-formed conscience,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson.
There seem to be a lot of articles from all over the faith spectrum about this election. I have been a political activist for decades, and writing about politics for sixteen years, and I don’t remember this much exhortation to prayer about voting. Sure, it’s happened in church gatherings but the public discussion certainly seems unprecedented this year.
For Roman Catholics who just want to make it through to November 8th with a modicum of sanity intact, this novena could be the perfect thing. We can even use social media to gather a large group together to pray it. I’ve been involved in one of these and it’s pretty easy. Just set up an event page on Facebook, invite all the RC friends you can think of and then do a post on your page inviting anyone you may have missed. Each day during the novena, the prayers can be posted each day by the monitor of the group.
Of course, you’ll have to resist the temptation to peruse too much while you are on Facebook, as social media tends toward hysteria more and more as the election gets close.