Thursday 14 October 2021

A Novena to St Columba - Father Ross Crichton SJ - CTS Devotions

A Novena to St Columba
Naboibheim Ri Naomh Calum Cille
Nóibhéine Do Naomh Colm Cille
Trilingual in A Novena to St Columba
Fr Ross Crichton SJ
ISBN 9781784696580
CTS Booklet D836

I have read many books from the Catholic Truth Society, I discovered them a few years back and have been hooked.  This is a new title in the CTS Devotions Series and this is an amazing booklet. The description of this booklet is:

“Fifteen hundred years on, the seeds of faith planted by Saint Columba continue to bear fruit. His spiritual and cultural legacy is maintained by the Celtic peoples of Ireland and Scotland whose Christian Faith finds its most authentic expression in the ancient tongue of the Gael.

This Novena and Litany were composed to mark the 1500th anniversary of Saint Columba's birth and it can be used by the faithful all year round. It puts us in touch again with the roots of our faith, and the trilingual format reconnects the Irish, Scottish and English communities among which Saint Columba and his missionaries lived and worked.

As we celebrate this anniversary, we seek the intercession of this holy man of God for the needs of our own times.”

The chapters in this booklet are:
A Celtic Heritage – Past and Present
     Saint Columba
     Seeking the Intercession of the Saints
     Pilgrimage – A Return to Our Spiritual Roots
     Novena & Litany
Forward Bishop Alan McGuckian, Bishop of Raphoe
Forward Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll & the Isles
Introductory Prayers
The First Day – The Family
The Second Day – Peace
The Third Day – Emigration/Pilgrimage
The Fourth Day – Seafarers
The Fifth Day – Building the Kingdom of God
The Sixth Day – Work
The Seventh Day – Spreading the Light of the Gospel
The Eighth Day – Civil Authorities
The Ninth Day – The Life to Come
A Litany of St Columba

If you wash to say the novena and conclude on the feast of Saint Columba. June 8th. You begin on May 31st. But the novena can be prayed at any time in the year. First I must state that this is a beautiful booklet, about twice the size of the standard CTS booklets these days. It is nearly 8.5 x 6 inches in size. Nice cardboard cover, with full color throughout. The center of the booklet is a full two page spread of the Abbey of Iona, Scotland photographed by Andrew Haysom. I first became fascinated by Saint Columba through some of the many writings of Alice Curtayne, and it was researching her works that lead me to the books and booklets of the Catholic Truth Society. This volume is a joint publication between Mungo Books and the CTS. But I have not been able to find any info on Mungo. But back to this volume. 

This book sat beside my desk for several weeks, a couple of months because I tend not to get around to reading physical books. I was informed because of the trilingual format and column structure a eBook might be a while in the making. I made the commitment and read this and a Novena to Saint Joseph the Protector by Father Mark Goring, putting them on my desk on top of my tablet and prayed the novena’s first thing in the morning before beginning my workday. I loved praying this book. And plan to work through it again next year leading up to Saint Columba’s feast day. I highlighted a few passages in the volume and some of them are:

“In 2021, we mark the 1500th anniversary of the birth of one of the most well known and well loved Celtic Saints. Saint Columba was born in Ireland in 521, a descendant of the princely family of Niall Noigiallach of Niall of the Nine hostages.”

“Saint Columba’s blessing made his foundations fruitful for many years to come. It is right that in this anniversary year we should seek his blessing anew – and that is the purpose of this Novena and Litany.”

“Many of the stories from Saint Adomnan’s Vita Columbae speak of the Saint interceding for calm seas and a favorable wind. The challenges for the Church in our time are surely no greater than they were in the time of Saint Columba. His life teaches us that when the winds are not favourable, then we have to ask God to intervene to make then favourable. The Wind which brings destruction can be turned around to become the wind which brings new life, if God so wills.”

“The cold, harsh winds of the ‘present evil age’ may blow stringly in our time, but the bright flower of Faith still stands firmly rooted in its native soil. Through the intercession of Saint Columba, may the wind of the Holy Spirit breathe new life into the legacy the Saint has left us, and may the Faith he preached bloom abundantly once more across the Celtic Fringe and beyond.”

Bishop McGuckian in his forward concluded with these words:

“I pray that in this 1500th anniversary of the birth of our great saint we will allow his passion for Christ to challenge us and echo in our lives in service of the Kingdom for which he gave his whole life.”

And Bishop McGee states:

“I pray that all who recite the Novena are, like Saint Columbia, drawn closer into the arms of God’s merciful love.”

And I would echo both of those prayers to all who pick up this booklet and pray through it. A couple of the passages I highlighted from the actual novena are:

“Leaving his own country, Saint Columba went over the sea as a pilgrim for the sake of Christ. Without worldly goods or means, he placed his trust in God. Let us ask the intercession of Saint Columba today for those who have to leave family and homeland to make a new life for themselves.”

“After arriving on the Isle of Iona, Saint Columbia built the famous monastery from which the light of faith would shine forth far and wide, drawing the people of the country to the Christian Faith. The Kingdom of God is built gradually, and as Christ Himself told us, we need patience until our labours brings forth their fruit.”

This is a wonderful novena and booklet. It is an excellent resource from the Catholic Truth Society. I highly recommend it. I was blessed praying this novena and am certain you will be as well.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For reviews of other books in the CTS Devotions series click here.

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