The Galway Solemn Novena, which began on Monday February 9, attracted close to 90,000 Massgoers over the nine days. Steady numbers of up to 10,000 people attended each day over the six daily Mass sessions.
This year, the Novena Candle Light meditation sessions saw a massive jump in attendance numbers with almost 50 per cent more people attending the Monday and Wednesday night mediations at 10pm.
Speaking about the event, Fr Martin Whelan said, it was particularly special as the Cathedral is celebrating its jubilee year. “There have been great numbers attending each sessions this year with, the 11am and 7.30pm still being the busiest. This is a special year for us as we are celebrating the Cathedral’s 50th anniversary and 30 years of the Galway Novena. We have finished extensive renovations to the cathedral and it looks really beautiful.’’
Fr Whelan paid tribute to all the volunteers who made the staging of the Novena possible. “Some 200 volunteers helped out over the nine days, doing everything from making tea to directing traffic and members of the public. It just wouldn't be possible without the help and support of these volunteers. The gardai and Galway City Council also make the Novena possible with specific traffic management systems and the allocation of additional parking, which has helped ease congestion at our busier times."
A collection day for charity took place on the Thursday of the Novena. This year the collections went towards the development of COPE Galway's new Domestic Violence Refuge on Forster Street. The money raised also contributed to the coffers of the Galway Hospice, and Serve - the development agency of the Redemptorist Order that facilitates young Irish people to volunteer for aid in the developing world.