Jackie Mullane, Michael and Amy McCarthy, Caherdavin and John Walsh, Janesboro | Picture: Adrian Butler
THOUSANDS of worshippers flocked to Limerick on Friday to take part in the first day of the annual Novena celebrations at Mount St Alphonsus.
The Novena will continue at the Redemptorist Church on the South Circular Road until this Saturday June 22 lasting last nine days,
Mass and Novena will take place 10 times a day, between 7am and 10.30pm.
Mary Butler was one of many people who made it early on Friday morning.
“I have been coming here every year since I was a little girl. I remember the first time I went, when I was little, I was up on the altar and I thought I was up in heaven. To be brought up on the altar as a little girl, it was lovely,” said Mary.
This year, people from around the world can also take part, through the website www.novena.ie. Here people can submit their prayers and even lighting virtual candles.
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,” said Fr Enright.
“We are expecting about 10,000 people a day on average. People can expect a good celebration with a nice festive atmosphere,” he added.
Fr Enright quoted worshippers 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, re-energised after attending every day for nine days. People constantly tell me their faith is nourished at the Novena, that they find spiritual energy there,” said Fr Enright.
“The Redemptorists at Novena time is an iconic place for thousands of people, the spiritual equivalent of the LIT Gaelic Grounds and Thomand Park,” he added.