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Cardinal Burke announces ‘significant novena’ to pray for Church against ‘forces of sin’

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Cardinal Raymond Burke announced a new nine-month novena to pray for the Church and for the intercession of the Virgin Mary as the world grapples with the “forces of sin.” 

“How can we best begin to remedy the many ills that so grievously wound our families, our communities, our nation, the world and the Church?” Burke told Fox News Digital via emailed comments. 

“We can do something that is so natural to each of us, something that Jesus Christ Himself confirmed from the Cross,” he wrote. 

“We can call upon the good counsel and the help of our heavenly Mother.” 

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Burke, 75, who splits his time between Rome and La Crosse, Wisconsin, announced the “significant novena” in a letter posted to the website of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Tuesday, Feb. 27. 

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“It was during an age much like our own when Our Lady first appeared to Saint Juan Diego some 500 years ago,” said Burke in the letter. 

Cardinal Raymond Burke (front) announced a nine-month novena on Tuesday, Feb. 27, that is set to begin on March 12. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

“Then, too, the world wrestled with famine and disease, and war in the Holy Land threatened to reduce that beautiful and tortured region to chaos. Then, too, poisonous confusion from within the Church corroded the faith of Christians the world over.” 

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But, with the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, “we saw the forces of sin retreat before the presence of Our Lady,” wrote Burke.

child in Guadalupe procession

Cardinal Burke compared the situation in 2024 to that of the 16th century, when Catholics believe that Our Lady of Guadalupe (shown in the image above) appeared to St. Juan Diego.  (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

It was through St. Juan Diego’s “humble and courageous cooperation with grace” that nearly nine million people converted to Christianity in the 16th century, Burke noted.

“It is this same maternal care and protection that we seek today — a care and protection that she will grant us, should we earnestly ask for it.” 

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The novena will begin on March 12. It will conclude on Dec. 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

Normally, a novena is a prayer that is said repeatedly over nine — or a multiple of nine — days or weeks.

Rosary seen with smartphone

A novena is a prayer that is prayed repeatedly over nine days, weeks or months.  (Alberto Masnovo/iStock)

In Latin, “novem” means “nine.” 

This novena, however, is considerably longer: nine months. 

Each month will feature a different theme related to Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

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March, the first month, is themed to “answering the call of Our Lady to grow closer to her Son through her intercession.” 

Burke, a Wisconsin native, was the bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse from 1995 until 2004, then was the archbishop of St. Louis from 2004 until 2008. 

In 2008, Burke was named prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. 

Then, in Nov. 2014, he became the Cardinal Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

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