November is the month when many Christians traditionally remember loved ones who have died and offer services and support to those who have been bereaved.
This November, we are particularly aware of the millions of people who have died from Covid-19 and those whose bereavements have been particularly painful since they were unable to be with their loved one when they died.
The Novena can be prayed at any time during November but might be especially appropriate this year leading up to the Feast of Christ the King when we have the Gospel in which Jesus says to those who have lived good lives: ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world’. We know that few of us die ready to hear those words – but, equally, few of us have done enough evil to hear Christ tell us to go away. Most of us will continue our journey towards perfection – sustained by the prayers of all the saints (canonised and un-canonised) and those we have left behind whose love extends beyond death.
Our prayer, then, is that those who have died with be borne on the wings of our prayers to the moment when they are ready to enter fully into their eternal home.
In the Novena, we have included War dead as the first intention as November also includes Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day – it seems appropriate to acknowledge this and begin our reflections here.