Join in praying the St. John Fisher Novena

St. John Fisher Novena

New here? Join us in Prayer! Click here to get novena reminders by email!

St. John Fisher was an English priest, cardinal, and martyr who died for defending the faith against King Henry VIII. He showed great courage in remaining steadfast in his faith while almost everyone around him was compromising.

Let’s use this novena to ask for intercession from this courageous martyr!

About St. John Fisher

St. John Fisher was born in 1469 in England. His parents were merchants, and he had three siblings. When John was eight years old, his father died. His mother remarried and had five more children.

As a young man, John studied at the University of Cambridge. He studied theology and the arts, earning a master’s degree at age twenty-two years.

From a young age, John felt called to the priesthood. Though he was younger than the canonical age requirement for the priesthood, John obtained a papal dispensation to become a priest at age twenty-two in 1491.

Around this time, he was also elected as a fellow at Cambridge. He rose in prominence in the academic world, while also gaining recognition with the English royalty.

In 1504, Fisher became the bishop of the diocese of Rochester. This diocese was often considered the first step in rising to high ecclesiastical position. But John chose to remain bishop of Rochester for the rest of his life.

Seeing a need for reform inside the Church, Fisher often preached against abuses and about the need for reform. When Martin Luther began leading his revolt against the Church, John preached a famous sermon against Luther.

Soon, John had to face other attacks against the Church. King Henry VIII was trying to unjustly dissolve his marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon. John Fisher vehemently supported the queen and the marriage, even saying that he was prepared to die in defense of marriage’s indissolubility.

John’s stance greatly angered the king. King Henry never forgave him over the matter.

As King Henry began moves to make himself head of the Church in England, John warned Parliament that it would end in England breaking from the Catholic Church.

Then the king married Anne Boleyn. He demanded that Fisher and others take an oath declaring that Henry’s and Anne’s children were the legitimate heirs to the throne. Fisher refused to take the oath and was imprisoned in the tower of London.

During his imprisonment, the King tried to make him submit on several occasions. But John held firm, despite poor conditions and the inability to see a priest.

In 1535, Pope Paul III made John Fisher a cardinal, hoping that King Henry would then give John better treatment. This only angered King Henry further. The king had Fisher tried for treason. John was found guilty and was sentenced to die by being hung, drawn, and quartered.

Because it was nearing the feast of St. John the Baptist’s Nativity, the King decided to change John’s sentence to beheading, in order to ensure that John would die before the feast. Henry did not want the public to see the parallels between John Fisher’s opposition to his marriage and John the Baptist’s opposition of the marriage of Herod and Herodius.

John Fisher faced his death calmly and with great courage. He was beheaded on June 22nd, 1535.

St. John Fisher was canonized with fellow English martyr St. Thomas More in 1935.

St. John Fisher’s Feast Day: June 22nd

Why Pray the St. John Fisher Novena?

St. John Fisher is the patron saint of the diocese of Rochester. Members of the Rochester diocese can ask St. John Fisher to intercede for their diocese.

You can also ask St. John Fisher for prayers if you are a student, since much of his life was spent working in academia.

He is also a great saint to seek intercession from if you are considering a vocation to the priesthood, since he pursued his priestly vocation from a young age.

You can also ask St. John Fisher to intercede for increased respect for marriage in our society, as he was an adamant defender of marriage’s sanctity and indissolubility. He is also often prayed to by those being persecuted for the faith.

You can pray the St. John Fisher Novena for any intention!

St. John Fisher Novena Prayers

St. John Fisher Novena - Day 1

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. John Fisher as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate his desire to serve You, and the openness to Your will that he showed when he decided to dedicate his life to You in the priesthood.

St. John Fisher, you knew from a young age that you wanted to serve God as fully as possible. Though you were only twenty-two years old, you decided to dedicate your life to God in the priesthood.

As a priest, you served God worthily your whole life. You were an example of holy leadership and virtue to all around you. You were passionate in your defense of the truth and even gave up your life for God in the end.

Pray for me, that I may serve God as fully as you did.

Please also pray for (mention your intentions here).

St. John Fisher, pray for us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

St. John Fisher Novena - Day 2

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. John Fisher as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the virtue that he lived out during his time as a student and in his professional academic roles.

St. John Fisher, you spent much of your life in the world of higher education. You pursued advanced degrees yourself and then dedicated much time and effort to ensuring that others would have profitable learning experiences.

Throughout your academic endeavors, you remained virtuous and humble. You served God first and foremost, even in your work of serving students. The holy habits you developed stayed with you throughout your life and helped you to remain virtuous even in the face of suffering.

Pray for me, that I may continue in the path of virtue and holiness throughout my daily pursuits.

Please also pray for (mention your intentions here).

St. John Fisher, pray for us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

St. John Fisher Novena - Day 3

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. John Fisher as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the humility he showed in choosing to stay in his first diocese rather than climb to high ecclesiastical authority.

St. John Fisher, you were made a bishop early in your life. You were seen as a strong Church leader, and you could have pursued a high position in the Church. But you did not concern yourself with gaining power. Instead, you focused on your immediate duties.

There was much turmoil in the Church around you during your life. You knew that your energies would be well-spent in defending the Church against those who were attacking her. In humility, you devoted your life to such efforts, rather than to the pursuit of power and importance.

Pray for me, that I may resist the temptation to pride in all areas of my life.

Please also pray for (mention your intentions here).

St. John Fisher, pray for us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

St. John Fisher Novena - Day 4

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. John Fisher as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate his love for Your Church’s teachings and the zealousness with which he defended those teachings.

St. John Fisher, you lived in a time when many of the Church’s teachings were coming under attack. You passionately preached against the false teachings of Martin Luther, and you fervently defended the indissolubility of marriage against the powerful king.

Even when your own king was revolting against the Church, you did not let fear of earthly punishment silence you. You continued to bravely proclaim the truth, even when you learned that you would be sentenced to death because of it.

Please pray for me, that I may be as devoted to defense of the truth as you were.

Please also pray for (mention your intentions here).

St. John Fisher, pray for us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

St. John Fisher Novena - Day 5

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. John Fisher as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate his devotion to the sanctity of marriage, which was so deep that declared he was ready to die in defense of marriage.

St. John Fisher, you knew that your king’s attempts to dissolve his first marriage were not just. You knew that he was rightfully married to Catherine and that their marital bond was indissoluble. You did your best to proclaim the truth in this matter, even saying that you were willing to die for it.

Your king was greatly angered by your opposition to his errors. He threatened you, imprisoned you, and ultimately sentenced you to death. But you did not waver in your defense of the sanctity of marriage.

Pray for me, that I may be as convicted of the sanctity of marriage as you were.

Please also pray for (mention your intention here).

St. John Fisher, pray for us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

St. John Fisher Novena - Day 6

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. John Fisher as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the patient acceptance of sufferings that he showed when he endured the harsh conditions of imprisonment for proclaiming the truth.

St. John Fisher, you knew that speaking out against the king’s rebellion could lead to punishment. You knew that your words would greatly anger the king. He threatened you and tried to induce you to give in, but you held firm and refused to compromise on the truth.

You were imprisoned in the Tower of London in poor conditions, and you were not even allowed to see a priest. But you accepted this suffering with patience and persevered in virtue until the end.

Pray for me, that I may accept all my sufferings with patience as you did.

Please also pray for (mention your intentions here).

St. John Fisher, pray for us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

St. John Fisher Novena - Day 7

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. John Fisher as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the fortitude he showed in holding fast to the truth, even during a harsh imprisonment and a death sentence.

St. John Fisher, you knew that speaking out against the king’s attempt to dissolve his first marriage could lead to punishment for you. But you did not fear the earthly punishment that the king could impose on you.

When the king tried to force you to declare that his illegitimate second marriage was valid, you held fast to the truth. You did not let a harsh imprisonment or even a sentence to die dissuade you from doing what was right.

Pray for me, that I may have the fortitude to do what is right, even when it is extremely difficult.

Please also pray for (mention your intentions here).

St. John Fisher, pray for us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

St. John Fisher Novena - Day 8

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. John Fisher as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the courage he showed when he faced execution for his devotion to Your Church and her teachings.

St. John Fisher, you knew that your opposition of King Henry’s rebellion could ultimately lead to your death. But despite several attempts by the king to make give in, you held fast to your devotion to the Church and her teachings.

When it came time for you to meet your death, you did not give in to fear or give up your faith in order to save your life. Instead, you met your death calmly and courageously.

Pray for me, that I may be as courageous in my love of God as you were, even to the point of death if necessary.

Please also pray for (mention your intentions here).

St. John Fisher, pray for us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

St. John Fisher Novena - Day 9

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. John Fisher as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate the devotion to You that he lived out amidst opposition from those around him.

St. John Fisher, you lived in a time when many people began rebelling against the Church. Your country was once a strong Catholic nation. But during your lifetime, King Henry brought England into rebellion and created a new religion with himself as the head.

Even though nearly everyone around you was giving in and approving of the king’s transgressions, you held fast in your defense of the Church and her teachings. You refused to follow blindly as your king brought your country away from the true faith.

Pray for me, that I may be as devoted to the Church and her teachings as you were, even if those around me might waver.

Please also pray for (mention your intentions here).

St. John Fisher, pray for us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.