Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus — Introduction, Context, and Day 1

According to, “This novena prayer may be said at any time, but especially in the nine days leading up to the Feast of the Holy Face on Shrove Tuesday – i.e. starting two Sundays before the start of Lent.”

If you did not already know, as Wikipedia explains, Shrove Tuesday (or “Pancake Tuesday”), is a moveable feast that occurs “exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday”. In 2015 it falls on February 17 (which, conveniently enough, is a Tuesday!).

The larger context of Shrove Tuesday is, of course, the season of Lent, but the reason it is such a largely forgotten day is because its narrower context belongs to an entire pre-Lenten liturgical period that has also fallen down the collective memory hole after the liturgical gyrations developments that occurred in the wake of Vatican II. As Fish Eaters explains:

Septuagesima and Lent are both times of penance, Septuagesima being a time of voluntary fasting in preparation for the obligatory Great Fast of Lent. The theme is the Babylonian exile, the “mortal coil” we must endure as we await the Heavenly Jerusalem. Sobriety and somberness reign liturgically; the Alleluia and Gloria are banished.

The Sundays of Septugesima are named for their distance away from Easter:

The first Sunday of Septuagesima gives its name to the entire season as it is known as “Septuagesima.” “Septuagesima” means “seventy,” and Septuagesima Sunday comes roughly seventy days before Easter. This seventy represents the seventy years of the Babylonian Captivity. It is on this Sunday that the alleluia is “put away,” not to be said again until the Vigil of Easter.

The second Sunday of Septuagesima is known as “Sexagesima, which means “sixty”. Sexagesima Sunday comes roughly sixty days before Easter.

The third Sunday of Septuagesima is known as “Quinquagesima,” which means “fifty” and which comes roughly fifty days before Easter.

Quadragesima means “forty,” and this is the name of the first Sunday of Lent and the Latin name for the entire season of Lent.

As the site Aquinas & More explains, what is now known as the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, “the first of three [Sundays] before Ash Wednesday, was called Septuagesima Sunday. It was the first warning of the approach of Lent. Actually, the warning began on the Saturday before when the Alleluia was used for the last time during the Divine Office and not again until the Easter Vigil.”

Along similar lines, Fr. Ray Blake provides some very interesting historical information about Septuagesima and Lent:

For our forefathers Lent meant getting rid of a great deal of the preserved food that had been put aside for the winter and was likely to go to waste as the weather suddenly warmed; all those preserved meat products, and not just bacon and preserved foods but also cheese and dairy products. It was literally a time for saying carne vale, farewell to meat.

It was a period of conspicuous consumption of which our English pancakes and ‘Shrove Tuesday’ are just the flat remnant, I don’t know if pancakes were originally filled with all types of good things or if they really resembled a Spanish omelet. …

Septuagessima [sic], was a way in the Church hauled up the violet banner, saying ‘now is the time to begin to get ready, eat drink and be merry for tomorrow you fast’. The Church seems everywhere to have opposed the excesses of Septuagessima [sic], until under Bunini [sic] it itself was abolished, in a characteristic gesture.

Its proper character is perhaps revealed in the English name ‘Shrovetide’ the when people went to Confession before Lent so that they might keep this Holy Season in a state of Grace.


Now, if you’ve been keeping score at home, you’ll be aware that I have failed to notify my boundless hordes of readers about Septuagesima until now (Septuagesima Sunday having occurred this year on February 1), but, well, I try to keep up with what I can, and I figure getting on track with a novena is better than nothing. I was not raised Catholic, and it is only in the past couple of years that I have started to learn how to live by the Church’s traditional liturgical and spiritual rhythms and expectations. Thanks for sticking with me.

As always, Veneremur Cernui beat me to the punch, and provides great insights from the Church’s liturgical tradition to deepen this lil’ season for you.

Please share your intentions so we can include them in our prayers (see examples below)!

Having gotten that out of the way, let us now commence this great (albeit equally obscure) novena as we make our way into the Lenten desert, where we know God is guiding us away from our proverbial Egyptian slavemasters (i.e. our sinful habits and occasions for sin) into the Promised Land of a renewed appropriation of the new life granted to us by Christ’s Resurrection and–which is to say–our Baptism into His own death and ultimate victory.

+ + +


holy face of Jesus

“All those who, attracted by my love, and venerating my countenance, shall receive, by virtue of my humanity, a brilliant and vivid impression of my divinity. This splendour
shall enlighten the depths of their souls, so that in eternal glory the celestial court shall marvel at the marked likeness of their features with my divine countenance.” (Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Gertrude)



(Console Holy Face and recite the Daily Preparatory Prayer)

O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask your help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with all His sorrows, love and total abandonment. We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

(Start novena)

PSALM 51,3-4.
Have mercy on me, O God in your goodness,
in your great tenderness wipe away my faults:
wash me clean of my guilt, purify me from my sin.
O most Holy Face of Jesus, look with tenderness on us who are sinners.
You are a merciful God, full of love and compassion.
Keep us pure of heart, so that we may see Thee always.
Mary, our Mother, intercede for us; Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Through the merits of your precious blood and your Holy Face, O Jesus,
grant us our petition ____________, pardon and mercy.


2) c/o Wilma T. Mendoza: “Please pray for my family and for my petition.. May my daughter Cherielyn, receive her permannet residence soon so she can get her children Kyle and Raihn soon… And that I may also be granted a visa to bring them to Canada..thank you very much” 

Almighty Father, come into our hearts, and so fill us with your love that forsaking all evil desires, we may embrace you, our only good. Show us, O Lord our God, what you are to us. Say to our souls, I am your salvation, speak so that we may hear. Our hearts are before you; open our ears; let us hasten after your voice. Hide not your Face from us, we beseech you, O Lord. Open our hearts so that you may enter in. Repair the ruined mansions, that you may dwell therein. Hear us, O Heavenly Father, for the sake of your only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (St. Augustine)

one (1) Our Father,
three (3) Hail Mary’s,
one (1) Glory Be, and
three (3) “O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine.”

MAY the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.

Jesus Shroud face + + +

Become A Brave Defender Of The Holy Name Of God Through the Holy Face Devotion!

Have you heard about the devotion of reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus? It is a devotion that was first heard of through a Carmelite Nun named Sister Mary of St. Peter in France, 1844, who stated Our Lord revealed this devotion to her at Mount Carmel. Sister Mary of St. Peter stated that Our Lord wanted this devotion to be spread throughout the world with the goal of making reparation for the sins which offend God. …

In 1885, to bring attention to the importance of this devotion, Pope Leo XIII established this special devotion as an Archconfraternity; and contrary to custom, he immediately established it for the ENTIRE WORLD. [Unfortunately, however, it was neglected and forgotten in the years immediately prior to the First World War in 1914.] Note that numerous indulgences have been granted from several Popes, including Pope Pius IX and Pope Leo XIII, to those devoted to Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.

*HT to Veneremur Cernui


About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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4 Responses to Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus — Introduction, Context, and Day 1

  1. Pingback: Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus – Day 2 | FideCogitActio : "Omnis per gratiam" fidescogitactio @ gmail . com

  2. Pingback: Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus — Days 3 and 4 (sorry!) | FideCogitActio : "Omnis per gratiam" fidescogitactio @ gmail . com

  3. Pingback: Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus — Day 5 | FideCogitActio : "Omnis per gratiam" fidescogitactio @ gmail . com

  4. Pingback: Novena to the Holy Face of Jesus — Day 6 | FideCogitActio : "Omnis per gratiam" fidescogitactio @ gmail . com

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