At the launch of the Novena were Thomas Szram, rector Fr Seamus Enright and Theresa Delaney Picture: Oisin McHugh/FusionShooters
UP to 100,000 people are set to attend Limerick’s upcoming annual Solemn Novena over nine days in the city.
A landmark ‘festival of faith’ in the local religious calendar, the novena, running from June 17-25, draws crowds from across Limerick and the Mid-West to the Redemptorist church at Mount St Alphonsus, regarded as perhaps ‘the most beautiful church in the city’.
Over the coming three years, upwards of €500,000 will be invested in the church, while one of its shrine is currently undergoing an upgrade thanks to a generous donor.
The Redemptorists will continue to celebrate 150 years of devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help at this year’s novenas in Esker, county Galway, Clonard Monastery in Belfast and Mount St Alphonsus in Limerick.
The combined novenas are one of the most significant and well-attended religious events in the country with a combined footfall of about 250,000 people.
The Pilgrim Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help – having visited all 26 Catholic Cathedrals – will return to Limerick for the last three days of this year’s novena.
The novena this year will focus on the Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the theme of the preaching will be Mary, Icon of God’s Mercy.
Each day the church will focus on an aspect of the Icon. Examples of the daily themes are Mercy is the Language of God, With the Lord there is Mercy and Redemption (the motto of the Redemptorists), Mercy for those who are Hurting and Mercy on the Margins.
There will be a Holy Door of Mercy in Mount St Alphonsus for the nine days of the Novena. Traditionally pilgrims had to go to Rome to celebrate a Holy Year – symbolised by walking through the Holy Door – but Pope Francis has decided that people can celebrate the Holy Year in their local Cathedrals or other churches designated by the local bishop.
Daily mass times will be at 7am, 8am, 10am, 11.30am, 1.10pm, 4.30pm, 6pm, 7.30pm, 9pm, and 10.30pm.
Fr Seamus Enright, rector of the Redemptorists in Limerick, said that Bishop Brendan Leahy has kindly agreed that they can have a Holy Door in Mount St Alphonsus during the Novena.
“There are no unforgivable sins because, as God sees it, there are no unlovable people,” said Fr Enright.
Among the regular Novena events will be:
The Blessing of Babies and Young Children on Sunday, June 19, 4.30pm
The Novena Celebration for First Communion Classes on Monday, June 20, 11.30 am
The Novena Celebration for the Sick and Infirm on Saturday, June 25, 11.30am
Priests will be available to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation every day except Sunday, June 19
There will be a free, drop-in Counselling Service in a caravan outside the church from Monday, June 20 to Friday, June 25 from 10.45am to 1.15pm and from 5pm to 9pm
The Novena will be broadcast on www.novena.ie