Say St. Andrew Christmas Novena in Advent

Published: November 29, 2023

"We humbly implore your majesty, O Lord, that, just as the blessed apostle Andrew was for your Church a preacher and pastor, so he may be for us a constant intercessor before you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever." — Collect for Nov. 30

We celebrate the feast of St. Andrew, the Apostle on Nov. 30. His feast day leads us right into the season of Advent, which is fitting since he was the first of the Twelve Apostles to be called by Jesus. Advent, which begins Dec. 3 this year, is a season of joy and anticipation for the coming of the Lord. St. Andrew's example of this is evident in the Scriptures.

After St. John the Baptist pointed out the "Lamb of God," to two of his disciples, Andrew, one of the two, heard John and immediately followed Jesus. He later went to his brother, Simon, and exclaimed: "We have found the Messiah." (John 1:35-41)

"Those are the words we find in John’s Gospel when Andrew rushes to meet his brother Simon Peter to tell him what he has discovered and to share his joy at being the first one called by Jesus. A fisherman from Bethsaida of Galilee and a disciple of John the Baptist, Andrew recognizes the 'Lamb of God' in the son of Joseph the carpenter," explains Vatican News.

St. Andrew, considered one of Jesus' closest friends, preached the Gospel tirelessly throughout Achaea and in Patras until around the year 60 A.D. where he was crucified on a diagonal cross, which he requested as a way to evoke the Greek initial used for the name of Christ.

"According to the Golden Legend, before giving his last breath, he was to have pronounced these words: 'Cross, sanctified by the body of Christ. Good Cross, long desired always, I loved you and wished to embrace you. Welcome me and bring me to my master.'" Today he is honored as a patron saint in Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Scotland.

The Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock, the "oldest place of continuing worship" in the city, was first consecrated to the patronage of St. Andrew by Bishop Andrew Byrne, the first bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock in 1845. The current Cathedral was dedicated the first Sunday of Advent in 1881. The church is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Learn more about the Cathedral. Three other parishes in Arkansas also have St. Andrew as their patron. They are St. Andrew Church in Danville, Marianna and Yellville.

The St. Andrew Christmas Novena is an Advent tradition that is more than 100 years old. Though the origins of this prayer are unknown, it is believed to have come from Ireland, according to the Catholic CompanyTradition holds that whoever prays this prayer 15 times each day from Nov. 30 to Dec. 24 will obtain the favor requested.

"Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires (mention your intentions here), through the merits of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen."