More than 300 volunteers, a Redemptorist team of 12 along with the Cathedral Staff, 62 Hymns and 10,000 people will make up The Galway Solemn Novena 2018, it was revealed this week, when the dates for this year’s Novena were confirmed.
The annual Galway Solemn Novena makes its annual return from Monday February 19 and will run until Tuesday February 27 at Galway Cathedral. Now in its 36th year, this year’s Novena will reflect on the central importance of family and home.
Preachers for the Novena will include three team couples from the pre-marriage weekends in Esker who will speak at the Sunday masses on the topic, “You Married Me”. The Novena will also begin a nightly candlelight mass with Taizé hymns at each 9pm session — it is felt this will finish each day of the sessions in a calm and reflective way.
Looking ahead, Novena Director Fr Brendan O’Rourke talks through some of the main talking themes.
“We come to learn who we are in the homes of our lives, and from there we get the energy to move out and fly. The Novena asks us, who is lost in our lives, in our family, among our circle of friends? Can we offer home to someone who is lost”, he asked
“We reflect on the importance of friendship, the gift of presence. Am I trustworthy? Truthful? Faithful? Ready to say “sorry” and “I forgive you”?
“Love is like salt. It lends flavour when things are bland. It gives traction when the road is icy. It cleans out wounds, allowing healing to start. Love is a decision, and we get better as we practice it. When we hurt or are hurt and then seek and offer forgiveness - that’s a glimpse of the divine. Families and homes come in all shapes and sizes. Jesus enlarges our sense of family, a family that makes space for those hurting, suffering, hungry, thirsty, enslaved, sick or in prison.
“By living friendship. By living family. By living love, we are witnessing to the presence of Jesus in our lives. We are now his hands, his feet. We do not so much speak about Jesus, but point to his presence through our actions.
“At its best love lasts for ever. All of us - as we are - are accepted, loved, one family, in Christ Jesus. In the icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help Mary’s eyes tells us: “You are always in God’s heart. Always in my heart. Now risk living and loving with all your might,” he concluded.
The Galway Solemn Novena is a celebration of prayer and faith. Some of the highlights for people are that the Novena is a time when the voices of people are heard directly. People get to tell the community gathered of their joys and struggles, and people listen and support and pray for one another.
The hymns on the playlist for 2018 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 which lend to a very relaxing and quiet time within where one can really find that peace and tranquility in lives that are rushed and fast paced. This year each 9pm evening mass (Mon-Sat ) (Sunday 8pm ) will also be in candlelight and have soft music, to end each day peacefully at Galway Cathedral.
The weekday Mass times are at 7:45am, 11am, 1:10pm, 3:30pm, 7:30pm, 9pm and Mass will be said at 9am, 10:30am, 12:30pm, 4:30pm, 6:30pm and 8pm on Sunday. Children will be blessed at all sessions on Sunday Feb 25. Mass and anointing of the sick will be held Saturday 24th at 11am.
Candle Light meditation sessions will take place at 10pm on Wednesday Feb 21 and Monday Feb 26 and last about an hour.
All collections from the Thursday February 22 Masses will be donated to Galway Hospice, Irish Guide Dogs and SERVE.
For more information log onto www.galwaycathedral.ie or check out Galway Cathedral across all social media platforms. People are advised to car pool where possible.