It's been a busy few weeks since I last posted on this blog. Let me catch up a bit.
From July 18-July 26, my parish observed it annual novena to our patron, St. Ann (and St. Joachim). It was my intent to share a daily reflection with you but obviously that didn't happen so I'll give you a brief overview.
In addition to the daily novena services and prayers, our Annual Novena is like a mini Parish retreat or a busy person's retreat. It's a wonderful time of renewal and community and thanks to the goodness of God many many graces.
This year the Novena was presented a little differently in that rather than have a single Novena Director (sometimes a priest, sometimes not), we had different speakers on different but relevant topics. The first two nights a leader in the diocesan lay ministry program spoke first on "Praying with Scriptures" and then on "Winning By Letting Go." That was followed by a wonderful priest who directs an urban ministry to people living with HIV/AIDS sharing with us on "Service" (We had an opportunity to know him this past Triduum when he shared the liturgies of those sacred days with us while our pastor was on a much deserved mini-sabbatical). On Saturday, we had our annual day of service, "Christmas in July," where a large contingent of us go down into the capital city to serve (and be served) at the cathedral's Loaves and Fishes meal. That is a grace-filled experience! On Sunday, we observed "Grandparents' Day" with a special blessing, small gift, and coffee and donuts for all following each of the Masses.
On Monday, another representative of the lay ministry program reflected on "Growing Faith, Growing Family" and then on Tuesday, following our weekly day of Eucharistic Adoration, she shared on the topic of "Forgiveness." Wednesday evening the same priest returned to share on "Loving One Another" followed by an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconcilitation. Finally on Thursday evening, we had our parish feast day liturgy, outdoor candlelight procession(thankfully the weather was favorable), veneration of the relic (optional), and a light ice cream social.
For me, the Novena continues to be refreshing, especially as it combines the traditions of a community Novena with the mini-retreat components. It's also a great community builder (or reinforcer). I appreciate the opportunity not only to participate in it but also work on preparing it (preparing the daily general intercessions) and serving at it (religious articles and candle table).
Please know that in addition to my own intentions I also asked God to bless you and hear your prayers and to bless specially all the "Anne"s/"Ann"s in my world.
May the graces continue to pour forth!