A novena is the reciting of powerful prayers and devotions for a special request over nine consecutive days. Traditionally, a novena included praying, fasting, and meditating.
Do I have to be Catholic to make the novena? Do I have to be religious?
No! You only have to be someone having a difficult time coping with one (or more) difficult problems in your life that do not seem resolvable on your own. You're human! It's alright to be overwhelmed sometimes.
How often and for how long should the novena be said?
Traditionally, the prayer is said 9 times each day, for 9 days. The 9 days signifies the 9 days the early Apostles prayed together during the time between the Ascension of Jesus, and Pentecost, when they experienced the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. However, there is no hard and fast "rule" for praying; it is best if you adopt a series of prayers and a rhythm for saying them that is comfortable for you and allows you to open a dialogue with God.
What prayers should I say? How do I say them?
Your goal when praying is to focus your heart, mind, and body on communicating with St. Jude. Praying is best done alone and in a quiet environment. Start by closing your eyes, then describe your special need, and make a heartfelt request for St. Jude to intercede on your behalf to help it be realized. Your prayer can be as simple as "St. Jude, please help me with (insert your request)", or if you prefer, choose one from the St. Jude Prayers section where you'll find a collection of inspirational prayers used by others. You should then follow your St. Jude prayer by saying 3 Our Father, 3 Hail Mary, and 3 Gloria prayers. These can also be found in the St. Jude Prayers section. Although not required, many people also find that meditating and/or some type of fasting during the 9 days provide extra comfort and strength when saying the prayers.
Remember, for your novena request to be granted, you must promise to publish your request. You can go to the Publish Your Message section to do this now.
What should I expect to happen?
A novena to St. Jude has never been known to fail for those who maintain a strong posture of faith that God is ALWAYS working behind the scenes for us. For some people, by the end of the 9 days, they will see some visible, concrete proof that their request has been granted. For others, they may receive something that is not what they asked for, but turns out to be what they REALLY needed at this point in their lives. And for others, they may experience a newly-found feeling of hope and peace of spirit, that brings with it the sense that they ARE NOT GOING THROUGH THEIR DIFFICULTY ALONE. The beautiful power of the St. Jude novena is that people can have their requests answered in ways or times they may not have expected. The important thing is to believe that you WILL experience a change, and don't despair if you do not receive an instant answer. Often the path to finding true healing of mind, body, or spirit is a process that will only be fully visible and appreciated after an extended period of time. Praying to St. Jude is the first step in that process.