Thousands of people from all over North Munster, and farther afield, will head to the Redemptorists in Limerick for the annual Novena in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
In this multi-media age, people worldwide are also joining in online – through the website www.novena.ie, submitting their prayers and even lighting virtual candles.
The Novena begins on June 14th and continues until June 22nd at the Redemptorist Church on Limerick’s South Circular Road. There will be 10 celebrations on each of the nine days – the earliest at 7am, the last one at 10.30pm.
It promises to be a packed programme. There are opportunities for confession and counselling, As well as a Novena celebration for the sick and the elderly, there is a blessing of babies and young children and a special celebration for First Communion classes.
Fr Seamus Enright, Rector of the Redemptorists says the Novena is ‘a festival of faith, a community at prayer.’ There is the opportunity to write prayers of petition and thanksgiving and a sample of these are read at the Novena every day. ‘During the Novena, we are not just praying for ourselves, but for the entire community,’ he says.
Fr Enright borrows words and images from people to describe the Novena: ‘I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to describing the Novena. A man described it as “the Munster final of religion.” A lady told me it was like “spiritual spa.” She felt refreshed, reenergized after attending every day for nine days. People constantly tell me their faith is nourished at the Novena, that they find spiritual energy there.’
Fr Enright says, ‘the Redemptorists at Novena time is an iconic place for thousands of people, the spiritual equivalent of the LIT Gaelic Grounds and Thomand Park.’