Jesus ascended 40 days after Easter (Acts 1:3), which always falls on a Thursday. We usually transfer the celebration to the nearest Sunday. Then the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles on Pentecost, 50 days after Easter. Before ascending, Jesus invited the Apostles to pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:8). The Church traditionally fulfills this command by spending time praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit between Ascension and Pentecost. This was the first Novena, or nine days of prayer. It begins on Friday after Ascension and ends the Saturday before Pentecost. Please join in praying for a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Novena to the Holy Spirit

Scriptural Version

Traditionally prayed beginning the day after Ascension Thursday (18 May 2012) If prayed as a family, the father should be the Leader. The Veni Sancte Spiritus should be prayed by dividing into two groups; one group prays the odd verses and one prays even verses. Choose a reader to look up the scripture passage in the Bible each day for the meditation. Or you may choose to simply read the short excerpt provided as part of the novena.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Leader: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful Response: And kindle in them the fire of Your love. Leader: Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created Response: And You will renew the face of the earth.

Veni Sancte Spiritus

1. Come, Holy Spirit, come! And from Your celestial home Shed a ray of light divine!

2. Come, Father of the poor! Come, source of all our store! Come, within our bosoms shine.

3. You, of comforters the best; You, the soul’s most welcome guest; Sweet refreshment here below;

4. In our labour, rest most sweet; Grateful coolness in the heat; Solace in the midst of woe.

5. O most blessed Light divine, Shine within these hearts of Yours, And our inmost being fill!

6. Where you are not, we have naught, Nothing good in deed or thought, Nothing free from taint of ill.

7. Heal our wounds, our strength renew; On our dryness pour your dew; Wash the stains of guilt away:

8. Bend the stubborn heart and will; Melt the frozen, warm the chill; Guide the steps that go astray.

9. On the faithful, who adore And confess you, evermore In your sevenfold gift descend:

10. Give them virtue’s sure reward; Give them your salvation, Lord; Give them joys that never end.


Friday – read Genesis 1:1-2:7 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters…. Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. All: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen. (three times)

Continue on to the Prayer Inviting the Holy Spirit

Saturday – read Ezekiel 37:1-14 “And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live.” Glory be… (3x)

Sunday – read Joel 2 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” Glory be… (3x)

Monday – read Matthew 3 And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." Glory be… (3x)

Tuesday – read Luke 4:14-23 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." Glory be… (3x)

Wednesday – read John 14:15-24 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. Glory be… (3x)

Thursday – read John 14:25-31 “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Glory be… (3x)

Friday – read Matthew 27:45-54 And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. Glory be… (3x)

Saturday – read Acts 1:1-12 "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." Glory be… (3x)

Prayer inviting the Holy Spirit


Almighty God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, at the dawn of Creation your Spirit was already at work in the world, forming and ordering all things according to Your Divine plan.

The presence of the Spirit gives life and hope, breaks the bonds of sin and division, and brings justice and peace to all.

Send your Holy Spirit upon us to be our helper and guide. Give us the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill us with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.

As we prepare our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, grant us in particular these special petitions…

(mention in silence your own intentions)

Let us pray:


Breathe in us, O Holy Spirit, that our thoughts may be holy; act in us that our works may be holy; draw our hearts that we may love what is holy; strengthen us to defend all that is holy, and guard us as we strive to be holy. We offer our prayer to you in union with the Father and the Son, one God forever and ever. Amen.