France knows what is called the "Great Novena of the Immaculate Conception," which is held annually from November 30 to December 8. It was founded in 1936, and is practiced to this day without discontinuing. The original reason for this Novena was, according to the founders the "extreme gravity of present events," alluding to the combined threat of communism and fascism, Nazism in particular. the Novena asked for zealous prayer in favor of the social and Christian regeneration of France and for universal peace. This call in homage of Pope Pius XI's eightieth birthday was addressed not only to the Catholics of France. It received a positive answer from hundreds of thousands of faithful in many countries of the world.
The participants in the "Great Novena of the Immaculate Conception" were asked to say every day at least one decade of the rosary, followed by three times the invocation: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you." Indulgences were granted to those who attended the Novena prayers in the/a church (three hundred days each time) and received Holy Communion on one of the days of the Novena during or the octave. Even after sixty-six years of its existence, the basic prayer obligations remain the same, though from 1947 on, a special prayer to The Immaculate is added. This prayer reflects the special concerns and events of the time. The Novena is publicized by way of a special holy card featuring on one side the image of Our Lady, and on the other side the guidelines on how to pray the Novena. In particular, it lists the special prayer to the Immaculate.
Here are some of the highlights and intentions mentioned over the years:
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