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"Never know to fail" Novenas
Question from Phyllis Armeli on 9/18/2003:

Dear Father Levis, This morning at Mass, a friend of mine showed me a copy of a Novena to St. Jude with that oft-used phrase, "Has never been known to fail". It said that one must make 81 copies and leave them in the pews at church. I told him that it certainly is o.k. to pray the Novena, but the Lord doesn't always answer the way we want and it is possible to get a "no" and I didn't think he should make the copies (unless he only leaves the actual text of the prayer without the implication that you will definitely get what you ask for text, and then not 81 -- a bit extreme). I think people who do these things do more harm to our faith by portraying our religion as one of superstitition. Certainly it is o.k. to leave a novena prayer in the pews or wherever one feels that it may be picked up by someone who is in spiritual need. I leave them in various places myself. But I do hope that people think before they place these "never known to fail" prayers anywhere. They have also crept into computer use as I am constantly getting one of the "St. Theresa-never known to fail-keep it going" novena emails which, incidentally, tells one to "appeal to your higher power". Sounds strangely new-age to me.

God bless, Phyllis Armeli

Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 9/19/2003:

Dear Phyllis, You are absolutely correct and I agree with you. Fr. Bob Levis

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