‘Faith In Challenging Times’ is the theme of this year's Galway Cathedral Novena which takes place March 6-14.
This 39th Novena will include a range of speakers, each with diverse experiences of church and unique personal perspectives, including Bishop Michael Duignan, who will be speaking at his first Galway Novena.
Speakers include the Co Donegal couple Brian and Lana O’Driscoll; Redemptorist Fr Brendan O’Callanan; Paula McKeown, who is the deputy-chair of the Irish Church’s Synodal Pathway; former Irish and Premier League footballer Keith Fahey; Daniella Stephens, a young Catholic Evangelist from Manchester; Níall McDonagh, a Londoner who moved to Galway City as a teenager and whose encounter with God transformed his life; Mickey Harte, who continues to carry and cope with the heartache of bereavement; and Gerard Hanley, who works full-time in youth ministry as director of Alpha Youth Ireland.
Cathedral Parish Priest, Msgr Peter Rabbitte, say the primary purpose of the annual Novena is to give those who participate a similar opportunity to find solace, comfort, hope, understanding and love from a loving Father.
"Throughout the Gospel, Jesus constantly searches for time and space to be apart from the crowds. He seeks out opportunities for prayer and spends much time in contemplating His relationship with the Father.
"Over the years this annual festival of faith has been a source of comfort, hope and grace for multitudes of people who come to pray, listen, share, sing and celebrate the presence of God in their lives and to ask Our Lady of Perpetual Help for her protection and intercession.
People of all ages, faiths and backgrounds, from across the city and beyond, are invited to take some time out from the cares and concerns of life and "gather together in unity and peace on each of the nine Novena days".
In welcoming details of the 2023 Novena, curate Fr John Gerard Acton says: "Our Church, founded on the resurrection from the death of Jesus Christ, strives for constant renewal. So too this venerable Novena, which means so much for the people of Galway and beyond, constantly adapts and changes to meet the needs of God’s people in changing and challenging times.
"We ask the Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in whose honour we will gather, to guide and bless our Novena. And together with Msgr Rabbitte and the whole Cathedral Parish Team, I too invite you to join us and look forward to welcoming you to this sacred and unique nine day festival of hope and light."
The Novena will run from Monday March 6 until Tuesday March 14 with weekday sessions at 11am, 1.10pm and 7.30pm and on Sunday March 12 at 10.30am, 12.30pm, 3pm and 6pm.
The Sacrament of the Sick will be celebrated on Saturday, March 11 at 11am and the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available at all sessions, except on Sunday. There will also be an added time of prayer by candlelight each weeknight from 8.30pm to 9.30pm; an opportunity for reflection, quiet prayer and adoration. https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAszM5