Infant of Prague Devotion Blesses Catholics with Comfort, Miracles
November 30, 2023
LEE—On Nov. 12, Father Bonaventure Okoro and the parishioners of St. James Parish, here, dedicated a new shrine to Jesus, Infant of Prague.
 
Within the shrine is a flower garden called Heaven’s Nursery, filled with personalized bricks inscribed in honor of children lost to miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth and infant death. Begun one year ago by the parish’s Respect Life Ministry, the garden serves as a place of “refuge and healing for those who suffer still.” 
 
The recent devotion to the Infant of Prague started with the parish’s religious education students, who
devoted the school year to Him. In January, the students learned the history of the Infant of Prague and made their own statues to keep at home. Later in the year, those students pitched in with landscaping and planting rose bushes that were presented to first communicants by the Altar and Rosary Society.
 
The students’ perseverance inspired many parishioners to offer their support to complete the shrine.
 
Novena to the
Infant Jesus of Prague
 
Pray this prayer at the beginning of each day from Dec. 17–25.
 
Dearest Jesus, little Infant of Prague, how tenderly 
 
You love us. Your greatest joy is to dwell among us and to bestow Your blessing upon us. Though I am not worthy that You should help me, I feel drawn to You by love because You are kind and merciful.
 
So many who turned to You with confidence have received and had their petitions granted. Behold me as I come before You, lay open my heart to You with its prayers and hopes. I present to You especially this request, which I enclosed in Your loving heart: (request).
 
Rule over me, dear Infant Jesus, and do with me and mine according to Your holy will, for I know that in Your divine wisdom and love You will arrange everything for the best. Do not withdraw Your hand from me, but protect and bless me forever.
 
I pray You, all-powerful and gracious Infant Jesus, for the sake of Your sacred infancy, in the name of Your Blessed Mother Mary, who cared for You with such tenderness, and by the greatest reverence with which St. Joseph carried You in his arms, help me in my needs. Make me truly happy with You, dearest Infant, in time and in eternit
History and Devotion to the Infant of Prague
 
Devotion to the Holy Child Jesus is a long-standing tradition in Catholic spirituality. The early Church Fathers, like St. Athanasius and St. Jerome, had a special devotion to the Holy Child Jesus. Some of the later great saints, including St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus (the Little Flower), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Teresa of Jesus (of Avila), helped popularize devotion to the Holy Child.
 
There are several stories that tell of the Infant of Prague statue’s origin. The most popular is that the statue, which does originate in Spain, belonged to St. Teresa of Avila. It arrived in Prague with Maria Manriquez de Lara, a Spanish noblewoman, in 1556. It was then given to her daughter, Polyxena 
of Lobkowicz.
 
Prague endured war, famine, and disease over some decades. In 1628, the princess gave the statue to the Discalced Carmelites at the Church of Our Lady of Victories.
 
The Carmelites left Prague in 1630, and the city was attacked the following year. Somehow, the invaders missed the elaborate statue, and it ended up in a rubbish pile behind the church’s altar, missing its hands. In 1637, a Carmelite priest named Father Cyril of the Mother of God found the Infant of Prague in the rubble and remembered the Holy Infant from his novitiate in Prague. Gazing upon the simple statue of the Child Jesus, he contemplated the most marvelous event in the history of the world, the Incarnation.
 
Suddenly, the statue spoke to him: “Have mercy on me and I will have mercy on you. Give me hands and I will give you peace. The more you honor me, the more I will bless you.”
 
Soon, the restoration was completed. In 1648, the Archbishop of Prague officially approved the devotion to the Holy Child Jesus under the title, “The Infant of Prague.”
 
More miracles were attributed to the Infant of Prague, and the shrine attracted pilgrims from all over the world. 
 
Pilgrims never stopped praying before the Infant of Prague, even amidst the horrors of Nazi and Communist occupations.
 
Numerous miracles have been linked to this devotion, and today, replicas and models of the small statue are honored in every part of the world. The list of blessings attributed by devotees of the Infant Jesus is endless: health restored, financial problems solved, gifts of peace of mind and soul, and innumerable healings, both physical and spiritual.
 
A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly take part in the pious exercises of a public novena before the feast of Christmas or Pentecost or the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Enchiridion of Indulgences, No. 34).
 
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