The Galway Solemn Novena, which takes place at the Cathedral on Monday and will run until Tuesday February 25, will focus this year on achieving holiness in our day-to-day lives.
The event, which is in its 39th year and attracts about 10,000 worshippers annually, draws inspiration from a letter written by Pope Francis in 2018 titled, Rejoice and be Glad. He expresses very clearly in the letter that we are all called to be holy on our life’s journey. He refers very specifically to the living of the Beatitudes as a way of achieving holiness.
On the first day of the novena the reflection will address the theme of holiness in a general way. On each of the remaining eight days the reflection will be based on one of the beatitudes and how it can be a means to grow in holiness.
The preachers this year are Clare Gilmore, Fr Denis Luddy, and Fr Brendan Callanan. Ms Gilmore graduated in theology in 2000 and has worked in youth ministry, hospital chaplaincy, and adult faith development. She preaches parish missions and novenas and is currently working in Drumalis Retreat Centre, Co Antrim.
Ordained in 1991, Fr Denis Luddy has preached parish missions and novenas throughout the country. He is based in the Redemptorist Community in Esker, Athenry. Fr Brendan Callanan has worked for 33 years in South America and is currently superior of the Redemptorist Community in Esker, Athenry.
More than 300 volunteers, a Redemptorist team of 12 together with the Cathedral staff are involved in the novena. A total of 62 hymns are sung during the event.
There are six sessions of the novena daily. The weekday times are 7.30am, 11am, 1.10pm, 3.30pm, 7.30pm, and 9pm. On Sunday the times are 9am, 10.30am, 12.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.30pm, and 8pm.
There are three sessions on Thursday February 20 (7.30am, 1.10pm, and 9pm ) dedicated to the theme of reconciliation (Blessed are the merciful for they will have mercy shown them ).
On Saturday February 22, the 11am session will include the anointing of the sick while on Sunday February 23, there will be a blessing of babies and children after each of the six sessions. Candlelight meditation sessions will take place at 10pm on Wednesday February 19 and Monday 24 and last about an hour.
The hymns on the playlist for 2020 will be performed by Galway Cathedral organists and cantors from the Redemptorist Novena team. At each of the two late night sessions there will be live music and reflections.
For further information log onto www.galwaycathedral.ie or check out Galway Cathedral across all social media platforms. People are advised to car pool where possible.