Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Theme for 79th annual Novena of Grace: ‘A Call to Prayer’
the Inland Register
(From the Feb. 23, 2006 edition of the Inland Register)
Jesuit Father Robert Fitts and Franciscan Sister Celeste Crine will lead this year’s Novena of Grace, offering nine days of prayer and worship from Saturday, March 11, through Sunday, March 19, at St. Aloysius Church, 330 E. Boone Ave., Spokane.
The novena is an annual nine-day period of concentrated prayer to God for the most important intentions.
The Novena of Grace had its earliest beginning in the year 1615 in Goa, India, when a boy, crippled from birth was cured through the intercession of Francis Xavier. The saint was canonized, along with his dear friend, St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, on March 12, 1622.
Through the years, other intercessory miracles have been attributed to St. Francis, including the healing of Jesuit Father Mastrilli. Father Mastrilli went on to formalize the novena format, which grew in popularity throughout the world, especially in parishes where Jesuits minister.
During these nine days of prayer, St. Aloysius Church will offer three daily services: 12:15, 3:30, and 5:15 p.m. (Both Sunday services will begin at 12:30 p.m., to allow for normal Sunday liturgies). The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered 45 minutes before each service. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be offered at all novena liturgies on Saturday, March 18.
This year’s presenters:
• Father Robert Fitts currently serves in ministry at St. Aloysius Parish. He was born in Sunnyside, Wash. He joined the Jesuits in 1957 and was ordained into the priesthood in 1969.
In addition to time spent in chaplaincy work locally at Sacred Heart Medical Center, he has also minister in hospitals in Oregon, Alaska, and Missouri.
He served as Superior of the Spokane Regis Jesuit Community for retired priests for several years, and has been very involved in retreat work for Engaged Encounter and Beginning Experience. A favorite pastime is working with Jesuit Volunteers.
• Sister Celeste, a Sister of St. Francis from the Philadelphia Community, brings to her ministry the richness of a background steeped in Franciscan and holistic spirituality.
She presently serves as Director of Spiritually, Healing Arts and Hospitality at St. Joseph Family Center in Spokane. Her focus is spiritual direction, with responsibilities that encompass presenting retreats, days of reflection, and programs in spirituality.
Sister Celeste’s ministry background includes education, spiritual formation of women in her own community, 10 years as Director of Spiritual Ministry in a parish, Delegate for Religious in the Diocese of Wilmington, Del., and 13 years ministering at the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Aston, Pa. She is also an accredited T’ai Chi Chih and Reiki Master.
The novena is open to all. For further information, contact St. Aloysius Parish Center: (509) 323-5896.