THE ‘theme of loss’ will be the central focus at this year’s Novena of Hope at St Gabriel’s Retreat, The Graan, which starts this evening (Saturday).
The nine days of prayer and reflections, which will be led by Fr Charles Cross, the Superior of the Graan, is set to run from March 4 to March 13.
Speakers from around Ireland will take to the pulpit at the Graan, to share their story on how they found home in the most trying of circumstances.
Brendan O’Dufaigh will kick off the Novena on Monday. His 19-year-old son, Brendan Óg, lost his life in a tragic road collision on his way home from a Monaghan Ulster Under-20 Championship game.
Tuesday’s Mass, which will feature a Service of Reconciliation, will see Newtownbutler priest Fr Gary Donegan take to the pulpit. During his ministry, the Holy Cross Church clergyman has been to the fore front in the fight against conflict and violence in Belfast.
Belleek-born Agnes Lunney, one of Ireland’s leading activists for people living with learning and intellectual difficulties, will lead the Wednesday Masses, including the Service of the Sick at 11am.
The new Church of Ireland Rector at Rossorry, the Rev Stephen McWhirter, the neighbouring church to The Graan, will make his debut at the Novena of Hope on Thursday.
On Friday, Cork’s Eoin Coyne will share his personal experience of a gambling addiction, and the impact that this can have on a family.
A second Service of the Sick blessing will take place on Saturday. Sr Rowena Galvin, a member of the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny, will lead the Novena at the two Masses.
At the 9am, 10.30am, 12 noon and 4pm Masses on Sunday, a Passionist priest from Mount Argus, Fr Brendan McKeever is the guest speaker.
The former Medical Director of St Patrick’s Mental Health Service in Dublin, Professor Jim Lucey, will then conclude the Novena on Monday.
Fr Charles Cross is looking forward to leading the nine days of prayer.
“We have chosen visiting speakers from around the country to help reflect on the theme of Christian hope. In the face of the difficulties today in our Church and society, we need to shine a light of hope,” he said.
“The Novena [of Hope] caters for people of all faiths and all who are struggling to make sense of their lives. Everyone, whatever their age or religion, is welcome to attend.”
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