St. John’s clergy is naming the 2017/2018 academic year “The Year of the Holy Spirit.” Western churches tend to focus all their attention on the second person of the Trinity, while often giving short shrift to the Holy Spirit. There is an ancient practice of observing a Novena (nine days of prayer) between Ascension Day and the Day of Pentecost, wherein we pray for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and awe of the Eternal). Since the academic year is composed of nine months, we would like to observe not nine days, but nine months, of prayer for the Fruit of the Spirit.
Each month we will focus our worship and formation programs on one of the Fruits of the Spirit. In our Sunday liturgies, there will be one hymn (usually the Sequence Hymn, right before the Gospel Reading) that will highlight the specific Fruit of the month, and be used every Sunday of the month. In our Prayers of the People, we will specifically pray for that fruit, and the final blessing will also make specific reference to it.
The Year of the Holy Spirit promises to help us become Spirit-filled Christians, living our lives in profound witness to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control!
We look forward to you joining me in this year-long novena. You might say we are joining Harry and David in starting a “Fruit of the Month Club”!