Sunday, February 3, 2013

Novena for the Faithful Departed

Marquette University High School Three Holy Companions Chapel
In my previous post on Achieving Graciousness I wrote about the Tenorio family who had lost their patriarch and yet still found the strength to attend Sunday morning Mass the day after his death, and more than that, some of the children in the family continued to fulfill their liturgical obligations while in their state of shock and grief.  Since that Sunday morning I learned so much about their Filipino culture and faith and have become even more impressed than I had already been.

Filipino's are traditionally devout Catholics and the Tenorio's are no exception.  Angelito Tenorio passed away on Saturday, January 26th  from what was believed to be a heart attack at the young age of 59.  By mid-week, my son Jack (who is a classmate of Anbel, the youngest child in the Tenorio family who had been understandably absent from class all week) came home from school and told us that the family had been holding a nightly prayer service at 6:30 PM each night in their home and everyone was invited to come and pray with them.  We had thought that perhaps Jack meant that the prayer service was just for immediate family members, but Jack said that some of his classmates had been going and assured us that anyone was welcome to join them.  We later learned that another custom associated with the novena prayer service is that the invitations all come about by word of mouth-no formal invitations to prayer are distributed.

Our Lady of Fatima

So on Friday night my children and I paid a visit to the Tenorio household for the prayer service and found the house to be bursting at the seams with people including many of Jack's classmates and their families.  I shouldn't have been surprised by the crowd, though, because the Tenorio family are such kind and loving people to everyone they meet that it is only logical that they would have many friends who would feel called to pray and grieve with them.  The prayer service was actually part of a Filipino tradition that called for a novena of prayers for the Faithful Departed.  A large statue of Our Lady of Fatima, a crucifix, candles and flowers were set up where everyone gathered to pray.  Prayer sheets were distributed to everyone as they arrived.  We began with the rosary and then followed along with the prayer sheets. Following the prayer service, a hearty buffet was served and everyone enjoyed a lovely time.  I was profoundly moved to realize that every night for the nine days following Angelito's death the same scene unfolded in the Tenorio home.  I find it challenging enough to host a large dinner at my home for special occasions once or twice a year, but the idea of hosting such a big event for nine consecutive nights while in a state of grief greatly impresses me.

The final novena prayer was held on Sunday, and instead of being held in the Tenorio home, arrangements were made to pray in the Chapel at Marquette University High School where the oldest Tenorio son graduated and two of the other boys are currently enrolled.  After the novena prayers, a special Sunday Mass in Angelito's honor was concelebrated by three priests with easily two hundred people in attendance.  The High School choir sang for the Mass which was followed by yet another feast in the school cafeteria.

The entire Tenorio family was extremely gracious and kind throughout this time of grieving.  They were thankful for all of the people who took time to join them in their grief and to pay their respects to their beloved deceased relative.  I am deeply indebted to Belinda Tenorio who was able to carry on this beautiful tradition of prayer and respect for her deceased husband with the greatest of strength, dignity and charity.  I learned a lot from her about prayer, hospitality and love for family by observing her composure in deep grief.

This traditional novena prayer is such a lovely way to honor the dead. The funeral for Angelito has been planned for next week Saturday to allow family members who live in the Philippines enough travel time to attend, so joining in the Novena for the Faithful Departed was a beautiful way to hold Angelito in prayer while waiting for his final commendation to God. Would you pray for Angelito, too?

Some of the prayers from the novena are below:


Leader: Lord, have mercy on us.
All: Lord, have mercy on us.
Leader: Christ, have mercy on us.
All: Christ, have mercy on us.
Leader: Lord, have mercy on us.
All: Lord, have mercy on us.
Leader: Christ, hear us.
All: Christ, graciously hear us.

Leader: God, the Father of heaven.
Response (All): Have mercy on the soul of__________________
Leader: God the Son, Redeemer of the world.
God, the Holy Spirit. Holy Trinity One God.
Leader: Holy Mary.

 Leader: Holy Mother of God.
 Holy virgin of virgins
St. Michael and all archangels and angels
St. John the Baptist
St. Joseph
Sts. Peter and Paul
All Apostles and Evangelists
St. Stephen and all martyrs
St. Gregory
St. Ambrose
St. Augustine
St. Benedict
St. Jerome
All holy bishops, confessors and doctors of the Church
All holy monks and hermits
St. Magdalene
St. Barbara

Leader: From all evil.
Response (All): 0 LORD, DELIVER THEM.
Leader: From your wrath
From the rigor of your justice
From the power of the devil
From the gnawing worn of conscience
From long enduring sorrow
From eternal flames
From horrible darkness
From dreadful weeping and wailing
Through you most cruel death
Through your most holy wounds
Through your holy resurrection
Through the coming of the Holy Spirit
In the Day of Judgment

Leader: You who have the keys of heaven
 Leader: You would be pleased to deliver the souls of our
relatives and friends from the pains of hell
You who would be pleased to grant them all the
pardon and remission of all their sins
You who would be pleased to fulfill all their
You who would be pleased to receive them into the
company of the blessed
Leader: Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the
All: Grant Unto them eternal rest.
Leader: Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the
All: Grant unto them eternal rest.
Leader: Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the
All: Grant unto them eternal rest.

Leader: Merciful Father, hear our prayers and console us.  As we renew our faith in your Son, whom you
raised from the dead, strengthen our hope that our dear departed will share in Christ’s resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
All: AMEN.

Leader: Eternal rest grant unto 0 Lord.
All: And let your perpetual light shine upon him/her.
Leader: May he/she rest in peace.
All: Amen.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Prayer for the Deceased

Loving Father, we place our loved ones in your hands, we trust in you that they will be raised to life one day and will live forever with Christ, as you have promised to all those who die in Christ.  We thank you for all your blessings, and for all you have done in your Fatherly care for our loved ones and for us.  Father, hear our prayer and welcome our loved one into paradise with you and all saints.  Help us as we comfort one another in faith that one day, we will all meet together again in ChristWe ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Prayer for Mourners

O God and Father of consolation, your merciful love toward us in unbounded, take our darkness and turn it into light of new life.  Have compassion on us in our sorrow, and be our refuge and strength, lift us from darkness of grief by the healing of your peace and light.  Jesus, your son died for us on the cross, and then rose from the dead, restoring life for all of us. Help us to go forward in life to meet Him, so that after our own life on earth is ended, we may join our loved ones, where every tear will be wiped away.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Eternal rest grant unto Angelito, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May the soul of Angelito Tenorio and the souls of all of the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen.


  1. I graduated from Marquette in 1985 before this chapel was built - oh how I wish it was there during my days!

  2. Hi Anne, I will have to save this novena and prayer for the deceased and use it again and again. Thank you for sharing them! The Tenorio family obviously touched your heart by their faith and love. Good people to call your friends!

  3. This was one of your most awesome posts. Thank you, Anne.

  4. Thank you Noreen and Tom! I'm grateful for your prayers for the Tenorio's and for your kind words.