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Definition:   Praying for nine consecutive days in order to receive special graces. A popular Catholic novena is the Rosary (each including 53 Hail Marys – or 477 over nine days). There are four purposes for novenae: mourning, preparation, prayer, and indulgences. The practice may have arisen from the ancient Roman practice of offering sacrifices to the gods on nine consecutive days to appease or prevent evil. Also, the Greeks and Romans had a nine day period of mourning after a death.

Discussion: Jesus tells us not to pray like heathens, using vain repetitions (Mt. 6:7). To pray to Mary for intercession 477 times is not only vain and superstitious, but also idolatrous.

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