Novena of Hope at the Graan a virtual success

THIS year the Passionist Fathers mark their 300th anniversary of existence and in the unprecedented time of the Covid-19 pandemic, for the first time ever, the Graan Novena went online went with the message of Hope expressed via the church webcam.
Over the nine days of prayer, Fr Charles Cross, Fr Anthony O’Leary and Fr Arthur McCann led the services in front of an empty church but a total of over 5,000 people tuned in to the masses via the online webcam, and while Fr Charles admits that it was very different to not have a congregation present in the church, he was delighted to see that so many people were still tuning in and taking part in the Novena via their own online methods of technology.
“One of the good things was that we had a small community already in the church. Brother Brendan was there, Jackie Bannon singing and Fr Anthony was there and Fr Arty was there sometimes as well. It was a small little community like there was around the cross. I was conscious too that there were people there who were not just looking over our shoulder at us but taking part. This is a very different dynamic by webcam. It is very much on your own in that kind of sense and in faith hoping that they were there.”
“We did miss people coming to speak at the Novena but we couldn’t invite people in these present circumstances with the travel restrictions. Inviting people outside a five-mile radius is criminal so we just had to do it ourselves. It sounded like it was going to be a clergy thing but we really needed to speak the Gospel into life today and that is why we decided to go ahead with the Novena. The spirit doesn’t depend on numbers. We wanted to concentrate both on the cross and on the Word of God and that was important.”

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