St Matthias is one of those people who tend to get chosen just to make up the numbers. He was one of the apostles (the replacement for Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus) and, apart from a few verses in the first chapter of the book of Acts, we know precious little about him.

But that’s OK. There are plenty of people who do something worthwhile, who have an important role, who also do not get much in the way of publicity or public recognition.

Today’s suggested topic for the novena is prayer for the elderly. Ask a child to define “old” and they may suggest anyone over the age of 20, ask a 60 year-old and they may suggest 70. I suspect for most of us any one who happens to be more than 10 years older than us makes them appear old. Yet many “old” people say they feel much the same inside as when they were 17 or 18 years old. For our purposes here, I would think of those who are old enough to draw their pension.

 A prayer from Cardinal John Newman

O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life, until the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then, Lord, in your mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.