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St Gerard’s Novena in Dundalk to raise challenges caused by pandemics, war and cost of living

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The annual Redemptorist Novena to St Gerard Majella is set to be held in person for the first time in three years when it begins next weekend.

The theme of this year’s novena is ‘Let us Dream,’ based on the book published by Pope Francis. It will be held in St. Joseph’s Monastery from October 8th to 16th.

Fr. Noel Kehoe C.Ss.R., Rector, St. Joseph’s Monastery, said it was a “time to reflect” for the tens of thousands of people who take part every year.

“Our daily lives and old certainties have been challenged and will continue to be challenged by pandemics, war, energy crisis and cost of living. Our church too must address these challenges with hope and openness.”

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He added: “Synodality is a word we have heard much about recently in the Church. At its heart, this worldwide process is a deep listening to the Spirit in the voices of the people of God and the courageous discernment of the signs of the times.”

“The Novena is expected to attract over 8,000 people each day, with people traveling great distances to attend. This year is particularly celebratory as it is the first in-person Novena after the restrictions of the past years,” said Fr. Kehoe.

“People ask why the Novena continues to be popular at a time when church attendance is going down? People experience something special at a Novena. It is a celebration of community and faith and holds a special place in the hearts of people who have been attending over generations. It is a time for reflection, for sensing God’s closeness, for celebrating and praying for the gift of life, for renewing friendships and seeing familiar faces.”

He explained that the preachers at this year’s event will “reflect this diversity of voices and guide us on this journey for nine days. We are delighted to welcome Helena Connolly, director of evangelisation for the Redemptorists, Jim Deeds, author and pastoral renewal facilitator, Neil Foley, scientist and lay Redemptorist missioner and Redemptorists Frs. Tommy Hogan, Brian Nolan and Brendan O’Rourke.”

“The voice and wisdom of women and men, lay and religious sharing together is important for our church and the Novena must continue to be an opportunity to hear those voices” Fr. Kehoe said. “This is an expression of synodality, and we must learn new ways to journey in faith together.”

Special highlights include the candlelit session each evening at 9.00pm special blessing for children at all masses on Sunday 9th October and a day of prayer and blessing for the sick and elderly at all masses on Saturday 15th October. Confessions will be available before and after all sessions, except on Sundays.

“Due to ongoing health guidance, we will be unable to offer anointing of the sick or have a dedicated children’s session as was our custom. We hope to return to this next year.”

“So much work has gone into the preparation of the Novena, and I want to pay tribute to the great team of people involved in its organisation. The Redemptorist community, staff and volunteers look forward to welcoming people to this year’s Novena and pray that it may be a time of great blessing. With so many people attending, we do ask that people take care with parking and car share where possible.”

The timetable for sessions this year is as follows: weekdays: 7.00am, 9.30am, 11.00am, 1.10pm, 4.30pm, 6.00pm, 7.30pm, 9.00pm

Sundays: 7.00am, 9.30am, 11.00am, 12.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.00pm, 7.30pm, 9.00pm


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