A group of saints invoked with special confidence because they have proven themselves efficacious helpers in adversity and difficulties, known and venerated under the name Fourteen Holy Helpers. Though each has a seperate feast or memorial day, the group was collectively venerated on 8 August. However, this feast was dropped and suppressed in the 1969 reform of the calendar.
They are invoked as a group because of the Black Plague which devastated Europe from 1346 to 1349. Among its symptoms were the tongue turning black, a parched throat, violent headache, fever, and boils on the abdomen. It attacked without warning, robbed its victims of reason, and killed within a few hours; many died without the last Sacraments. Brigands roamed the roads, people suspected of contagion were attacked, animals died, people starved, whole villages vanished into the grave, social order and family ties broke down, and the disease appeared incurable. The pious turned to Heaven, begging the intervention of the saints, praying to be spared or cured. This group devotion began in Germany, and the tradition has remained strong there.
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As devotion spread, PopeNicholas V attached indulgences to devotion of the Fourteen Holy Helpers in the 16th century, but these are no longer attached under the modern norms and grants.INVOCATION OF THE HOLY HELPERS
Fourteen Holy Helpers, who served God in humility and confidence on earth and are now in the enjoyment of His beatific vision in Heaven; because thou persevered till death thou gained the crown of eternal life. Remember the dangers that surround us in this vale of tears, and intercede for us in all our needs and adversities. Amen.
Fourteen Holy Helpers, select friends of God, I honor thee as mighty intercessors, and come with filial confidence to thee in my needs, for the relief of which I have undertaken to make this novena. Help me by thy intercession to placate God's wrath, which I have provoked by my sins, and aid me in amending my life and doing penance. Obtain for me the grace to serve God with a willing heart, to be resigned to His holy will, to be patient in adversity and to persevere unto the end, so that, having finished my earthly course, I may join thee in Heaven, there to praise for ever God, who is wonderful in His Saints. Amen.
The Litany of the Fourteen Holy Helpers
LORD, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us. God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us. Holy Mary, Queen of Martyrs, pray for us. Saint Joseph, helper in all needs, etc. Fourteen Holy Helpers, Saint George, valiant Martyr of Christ, Saint Blase, zealous bishop and benefactor of the poor, Saint Erasmus, mighty protector of the oppressed, Saint Pantaleon, miraculous exemplar of charity, Saint Vitus, special protector of chastity, Saint Christophorus, mighty intercessor in dangers, Saint Dionysius, shining mirror of faith and confidence, Saint Cyriacus, terror of Hell, Saint Achatius, helpful advocate in death, Saint Eustachius, exemplar of patience in adversity, Saint Giles, despiser of the world, Saint Margaret, valiant champion of the Faith, Saint Catherine, victorious defender of the Faith and of purity, Saint Barbara, mighty patroness of the dying,
All ye Holy Helpers, etc. All ye Saints of God, In temptations against faith, In adversity and trials, In anxiety and want, In every combat, In every temptation, In sickness, In all needs, In fear and terror, In dangers of salvation, In dangers of honor, In dangers of reputation, In dangers of property, In dangers by fire and water, Be merciful, spare us, O Lord! Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord!
From all sin, deliver us, O Lord. From Thy wrath, etc. From the scourge of earthquake, From plague, famine, and war, From lightning and storms, From a sudden and unprovided death, From eternal damnation,
Through the mystery of Thy holy incarnation, etc. Through Thy birth and Thy life, Through Thy Cross and Passion, Through Thy death and burial, Through the merits of Thy blessed Mother Mary, Through the merits of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, On the Day of Judgment, deliver us, O Lord!
We sinners, beseech Thee hear us. That Thou spare us, We beseech Thee, hear us. That Thou pardon us, etc. That Thou convert us to true penance, That Thou give and preserve the fruits of the earth, That Thou protect and propagate Thy holy Church, That Thou preserve peace and concord among the nations, That Thou give eternal rest to the souls of the departed, That Thou come to our aid through the intercession of the Holy Helpers, That through the intercession of Saint George Thou preserve us in the Faith, That through the intercession of Saint Blase Thou confirm us in hope, That through the intercession of Saint Erasmus Thou enkindle in us Thy holy love, That through the intercession of Saint Pantaleon Thou give us charity for our neighbor, That through the intercession of Saint Vitus Thou teach us the value of our soul, That through the intercession of Saint Christophorus Thou preserve us from sin, That through the intercession of Saint Dionysius Thou give us tranquillity of conscience, That through the intercession of Saint Cyriacus Thou grant us resignation to Thy holy will, That through the intercession of Saint Eustachius Thou give us patience in adversity, That through the intercession of Saint Achatius Thou grant us a happy death, That through the intercession of Saint Giles Thou grant us a merciful judgment, That through the intercession of Saint Margaret Thou preserve us from Hell, That through the intercession of Saint Catherine Thou shorten our Purgatory, That through the intercession of Saint Barbara Thou receive us in Heaven, That through the intercession of all the Holy Helpers Thou wilt grant our prayers,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord.
V. Pray for us, ye Fourteen Holy Helpers. R. That we may be made worthy of the promise of Christ.
Let us Pray.
Almighty and eternal God, Who hast bestowed extraordinary graces and gifts on Thy saints George, Blase, Erasmus, Pantaleon, Vitus, Christophorus, Dionysius, Cyriacus, Eustachius, Achatius, Giles, Margaret, Catherine, and Barbara, and hast illustrated them by miracles; we beseech Thee to graciously hear the petitions of all who invoke their intercession. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God, who didst miraculously fortify the Fourteen Holy Helpers in the confession of the Faith; grant us, we beseech Thee, to imitate their fortitude in overcoming all temptations against it, and protect us through their intercession in all dangers of soul and body, so that we may serve Thee in purity of heart and chastity of body. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.