New guide to novenas aims to inspire Catholics to rediscover this traditional form of prayer

Annie and Paul Deddens and their new book on novenas The new “Pocket Guide to Novenas” book is written by Annie and John-Paul Deddens of | Photos courtesy of Ascension

A new book from Ascension is inspiring Catholics to experience the power of novenas with a pocket guide to dive deeper into this traditional form of prayer. 

“Pocket Guide to Novenas” by Annie and John-Paul Deddens offers readers a look into where these 9-day prayers came from, how to pray them, and what to expect when praying them.

The new pocket guide includes 20 novenas, 14 of which are newly written, an introduction to each novena, sacred art, inspirational stories from Catholics who have had their prayers answered through a novena, and a schedule for when to pray these particular novenas throughout the year.

First-time authors and married couple Annie and John-Paul Deddens spoke with CNA about their personal experiences seeing the power of novenas at work in their marriage and daily lives. A novena even played a part in bringing the two together.

Annie explained that the novena to St. Anne – the name given to the Virgin Mary’s mother in the Catholic tradition – was the first novena she ever prayed. She heard several women say they met their fiances after praying for St. Anne’s intercession for a spouse. This moved Annie to find a novena to the saint. She began to pray it every morning at a local chapel.

“While I left that chapel every morning, I remember noticing a guy praying in one of the last pews in the back, and I thought to myself, "I'd like to meet someone like him, who is also starting his day in prayer," she recalled.

“Very shortly after finishing the St. Anne Novena, I met John-Paul, and it turned out that he was the guy I had been seeing all along in the very back of the chapel while praying the novena,” she added. “So we attribute St. Anne's intercession to us meeting one another.”

In addition to being authors, the Deddens’ are also the creators of the popular website and social media platform PrayMoreNovenas, an online ministry that helps people rediscover the beauty of praying novenas and sends daily emails to participants so that they can stay up-to-date on their chosen novena.

John-Paul shared how the site came to fruition saying, “While we were dating, Annie asked me to pray a novena with her. I turned her down. You see, my experience with novenas wasn't great. I started several but I had never finished one!”

“I realized that I was constantly checking my email throughout the day and that if I had the prayers right there in front of me that I would probably finally finish a novena,” he said. “I created the website to help others who had the same difficulty and we've since received thousands of messages from people who finally finished their first novena using Pray More Novenas!”

Now, they hope to continue to encourage Catholics around the world to spend more time in prayer through their “Pocket Guide to Novenas.”

“Helping people pray novenas has been the heart of our ministry…for many years,” Annie said. “We wrote the [the book] to further help people pray novenas and hopefully grow closer to the Lord through each prayer. We love novenas and we hope they will become a beloved devotion for others in their prayer lives.”

She continued, “While novenas aren't a required devotion in the Faith, they're a simple and beautiful way to spend just a little more time in prayer each day. The daily novena prayer might take just a couple of minutes a day, and it can help us to reflect on the lives of the saints or the life of Christ or our Blessed Mother, and to ask for their intercession in our lives.”

Some of the new novenas included in the book are the Novena to St. John Paul II, the Novena to St. Louis and Zelie Martin, the Novena to Christ the King, as well as several traditional novenas including the Divine Mercy Novena and the Surrender Novena.

John-Paul added that he hopes their book “will bring people closer to Christ, leading them in conversation and relationship with the Lord.”

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