independent

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Thousands to descend on Dundalk for novena

ANNUAL ST GERARD MAJELLA SOLEMN NOVENA

OLIVIA RYAN

THOUSANDS OF people will descend on Dundalk for the St. Gerard Majella Solemn Novena which begins on Monday next, October 8th to 15th.

The annual novena sees more than 10,000 people from across the Dundalk area, and from counties Down, Armagh, Cavan, Monaghan, and Meath make the daily journey to the Redemptorist Church.

This year, the theme of the novena is 'A Path To Happiness:Gospel Virtues for Today' and the ceremonies will be led by a number of Redemptorist preachers including Fr. Richard Reid, Fr. Gerard O'Connor, Fr. Peter Burns and Fr. Noel Kehoe.

Rector of St. Joseph's Church, Fr. Michael Cusack explained how St. Gerard's Novena has become a lifelong tradition for many people. 'Each day of the Novena has ten sessions to which thousands of people from near and far come to give thanks and to make their petitions. People can also receive a blessing of the first class relic of the Saint which is kept here in St. Joseph's.'

At every session, anonymous requests and prayers are read aloud, providing and insight into the difficulties many people face in their daily lives, including unemployment, financial struggles to relationship worries and addiction concerns.

As St. Gerard Majella is patron of expecting mothers, the novena is also a yearly pilgrimage for many women and couples hoping to welcome children into the lives.

Every year, the novena welcomes a guest speaker, and this year Stephen Vaughan will gave a personal insight into being gay.

The Redemptorist order pay tribute to the many volunteers who help ensure the novena runs smoothly every year.

An appeal also went out to everyone who is attending to park safely and responsibly in the church grounds or in the surrounding areas, taking account of those who are working and living in the area, and people accessing amenities nearby.

The Solemn Novena begins on Monday October 8th and ends on October 16th the feast day of St. Gerard. Sessions on weekdays are as follows: 7am, 9.30am, 11.30am, 1.10pm, 2.30pm. 4.30pm, 6pm, 7.30pm, 9pm and 10.30pm. Sunday sessions are on at 7am, 8am, 9.30am, 11am, 12.30, 4.30, 6pm, 7pm and 9pm. The last session every day is by candlelight.

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