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Nine days of prayer held for storm victims

Katie McAnany | Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Nine consecutive days of prayer dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina will commence at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart tonight at 6:30 p.m., lasting 15 minutes each night.

These nine days of readings, reflections, songs, intercession and prayer, called a Novena, are typically a way to prepare for a major feast day of the Catholic Church.

Director of Campus Ministry Father Richard Warner came up with the idea to commemorate this Novena to those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The Novena had already been scheduled in preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which is the patronal feast of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, Basilica rector Father Peter Rocca said.

“It’s a coincidence that our need for prayer falls now because this particular prayer focuses on the Sorrows of Mary,” Rocca said.

Because of the Novena’s sorrowful nature, Rocca said he thought those praying would feel particularly connected with the hurricane’s victims.

“Prayer is another powerful way people can reach out to victims of Katrina,” Rocca said.

Breen-Phillips rector Rachel Kellogg said she received an e-mail about the Novena and “thought it was a good idea.”

“People get frustrated because they see it on TV day after day and want to be able to help people, but feel as if they can’t do anything about it,” Kellogg said. “I think the prayer services will help not only as added prayer for the people who need it, but also as support for people here who will pray here together.”

Cavanaugh freshman Michelle Byrne said she was glad the University had organized the Novena services, which she plans to attend.

“It’s a great way for people to pray together for something that is affecting students on our own campus,” she said.