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St. Anne novena to stress family, outreach to youth
July 12th, 2016
By Valerie Schmalz

For more than 100 years, parishioners and devotees of the grandmother of Jesus have attended nine days of prayer and joined in an outdoor procession honoring St. Anne at the Sunset Catholic church that bears her name in San Francisco.

At this year’s July 18-26 novena to St. Anne, pastor Father Dan Nascimento is stressing family and the value of intergenerational ties – after all, he says, St. Anne was the grandmother of Jesus.

In a way, with a 21st-century focus, he wants to return the novena to what it was at the very beginning – a family event. For decades, families prayed at the novena and parents and grandparents brought children to be blessed during the outdoor eucharistic procession traditionally held on the Saturday of the novena.

This year, the outdoor procession will go on as usual. But there will be much more, he said.

The 10:30 a.m. “Intergenerational Mass and Blessing” on July 24 will include a blessing for the whole family. July 18 will feature “Family Comedy Night with Michael Pritchard” beginning with praise and worship at 6:30 p.m. in Moriarty Hall. Pritchard, a Catholic, husband and father, is an inspirational speaker and comedian. The theme will be “family, faith and fun in the Year of Mercy,” the pastor said.

July 28 will be a barbecue and a ribbon-cutting at 6 p.m. in the convent garden. Boy Scout Troop 15 recently beautified the garden, with help from parents and siblings.

“People have asked me before, what’s a novena and why pray for nine days?” Father Nascimento said. “A novena is nine days of prayer that has its origins from Jesus, who before he ascended to heaven, told his disciples to pray for the coming of the Spirit. Their nine days of prayer led to the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost. So we pray also for nine days for a particular intention.”

From July 14, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.

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