Council for the Marist Way

Praying with Mary and the disciples

in the upper room

A Novena for Pentecost





Praying in the Upper Room


There is a history of praying a Novena to the Holy Spirit, with Mary and the Disciples in the Upper Room, from the Feast of the Ascension to Pentecost.  In fact it was the first Novena. 


Begin and end each day’s prayer with:

Come, Holy Spirit, Fill the hearts of your faithful.


Day 1 (Friday after The Ascension)

Reading: Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath’s day’s journey away.  When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.  All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

(Acts 1 12-14) 

 Prayer: Lord, send out your spirit, alleluia! 

And renew the face of the earth, alleluia, alleluia


Day 2 (Saturday) Praying for the Gifts of Wisdom and Charity 

Reading:  ‘I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit.  The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God.  My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you.’ (Eph 1 17-18)

 Prayer:  Divine Wisdom, Holy Spirit, in your grace, transform the world through us.  Cleanse our hearts and renew our spirits.  With serving hands and liberating action, we humbly pray for courage and inspiration to do your will beginning today. 

In Jesus’ name, we hope and pray, Amen.

 An extract from Marist writings:



Mary in the midst of the apostles

Mary, woman, mother and disciple

 From the first chapter of Acts we know that Mary was one of those who first received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  Mary was present when the Church was born, when that little group of disciples became the mystical Body of Christ, living by the life of the Spirit and continuing the work of salvation in the contemporary world. The Spirit dramatically changed them from being merely disciples of the Lord to being Apostles of his word. Once the Holy Spirit came upon them, they were transformed from being timid, and frightened,  becoming what the Lord had asked them to be.  They became  Apostles in action, not merely in name.   Mary too, received the same Spirit of Apostleship.  We are not told that she took to the streets proclaiming the Good News, but the same Spirit did fill her heart with burning zeal for the cause of  her Son.

 Mary is a disciple of the Lord. This places Mary firmly in the  midst of the Church, the community of disciples. She is no longer seen in  isolation from us, but rather she dwells in the heart of our Christian community, as we struggle to live the Gospel .Mary, the disciple and apostle, is truly our model, showing us what we are called to be.             


Day 9 (Saturday) - Praying for the Gift of Reverence

Reading: He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’  Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.  (1 Kings19 11-12)

 Prayer: Loving God, Open our hearts, so that we may feel the breath and play of your Spirit.  Unclench our hands so that we may reach out to one another, and touch and be healed.  Open our lips that we may drink in the delight and wonder of life.  Unclog our ears to hear your agony in our inhumanity.  Open our eyes so that we may see Christ in friend and stranger.  Breathe your Spirit into us and touch our lives with the life of Christ, Amen.


 Pentecost Sunday - Praying for the Gift of the Holy Spirit 

Reading: There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent, pure and altogether subtle for wisdom is more mobile than any motion. Because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things.  For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance in her. She is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of Go and an image of his goodness.  Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all thing she reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well.  (Wisdom 7 22-27, 8 1) 

 Prayer: Lord, send out your spirit, alleluia!  And renew the face of the earth, alleluia, alleluia!

(This version of the Novena has been compiled by The Teesside Branch of “Women, Word, Spirit”, formerly known as Catholic Women’s Network).


Day 3 (Sunday) Praying for the Gift of Truth 

Reading:  ‘If you love me you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you an Advocate, to be with you forever.  This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him because he abides with you and he will be in you.’ (John14 15-17)

 Prayer:  Come Holy Spirit, and show us what is true. In a world of great wealth, where many go hungry and fortunes are won and lost by trading in money. Come, Holy Spirit, and show us what is true. 


Day 4 (Monday) - Praying for the Gift of Courage

Reading:  ‘A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.’ (Ezekiel 36 26-27)

 Prayer:  Give us courage, Lord, to stand up and be counted, to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, to stand up for ourselves when it is needful for us to do so.  Let us fear nothing more that we fear you, let us love nothing more than we love you for thus we shall fear nothing also.


Day 5 (Tuesday) - Praying for the Gifts of Peace and Healing 

Reading:  When it was evening on that day the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said ‘Peace be with you.’  After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’  When he said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any they are retained.’ (John 20 19-23)

 Prayer:  Show us, Lord, the peace we should seek, the peace we must give, the peace we can keep, the peace we must forgo, and the peace you have given us in Jesus our Lord.


Day 6 (Wednesday) - Praying for the Gifts of Communication and Openness

Reading:  ‘When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.  (Acts 2 1-4)

 Prayer:  Tongue of God, keep on speaking so that the peoples of earth can speak your language to each other and all can hear you in their own. Speak peace where nations meet, justice where ideas clash, mercy where power reigns, healing where minds and bodies hurt, love where churches seek your unity and wherever else Babel drowns out the sound of Pentecost.


Day 7 (Thursday) - Praying for the Gift of Gentleness

Reading:  When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.  Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.   Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.’  (Matt 5 1-12)


Prayer: The serenity of Christ, the serenity of kindly Cuthbert, the serenity of mild and loving Mary, the serenity of Christ from on high. (Adapted from Carmina Gadelica)


Day 8 (Friday) - Praying for the Gift of Joy

Reading:  ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love, King of tenderness, be upon each window and door, the four corners of this place, the four corners of my bed, be upon each thing my eye takes in; upon each thing my mouth takes in; upon my spirit that came, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.’  (John 15 9-11)


Prayer: God, you invite us to dance in delight, shaping and forming in figures of grace.  We move to the pulse of creation’s music and holding and finding our strengths.  Together we move into patterns of freedom, and rejoice to be part of the making of the earth.  In the steps of Jesus we reach to our partners, touching sharing of hope.  We whirl and spin the Spirit’s rhythm, embracing the world with our circles of joy.  Together we dance for salvation and justice and rejoice to be part of the moving of love.



Bread of Tomorrow – Praying with the world’s poor. Ed. Janet Morley  Pub: SPCK/Christian Aid

ISBN (Christian Aid) 0-904379-15-9

The Way of Peace – A collection of prayers and meditations for around the world for love who love peace. Compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild. Pub:  Lion Books.

ISBN      0 7459 3986 4

Just One Year. Prayer and Worship through the Christian Year. Ed. Timothy Radclife.

Christian Aid/CAFOD.  Pub: DLT