29 Jun 2022

In Pictures: Delight in Limerick as first in-person Novena takes place since Covid

SMILES and well wishes swept across the South Circular Road, as familiar faces met once again this Friday for the return of the Redemptorists' annual Novena celebrations.

Hundreds congregated within the walls of Mount Saint Alphonsus in Limerick city, as the first of a series of Masses over a nine-day period returned in-person for the first time in three years.

Catherine Walsh, an attendee, told Limerick Live that it was great to be celebrating post-Covid, with everyone back to normality.

“It’s wonderful to be back to the Redemptorists, they are an amazing support to the city,” she said.

Fr Seamus Enright, the Rector of the Redemptorists, said he was feeling a little bit anxious in the lead up to the celebrations, having only convened virtually since the start of the pandemic.

“What makes the Novena special for people is the gathering. After the lockdown, it’s great to see that sense of community, solidarity, praying and festive atmosphere,” he told Limerick Live.

He described the festive atmosphere as similar to that of a Munster Final, quoting a man who once came up to thank him after a previous Novena celebration.

This year, the focus is on early-morning and evening Masses, which take place six times daily at 7.30am, 10am, 11,30am, 6pm, 7.30pm and 9pm, each day up until Saturday, June 25.

Fr Enright pegged the petitions as everyone’s favourite part, whereby people’s personal prayers are read aloud, evoking great feelings of empathy throughout the church.

Both the Ukrainian and the Brazilian communities are to be honoured with celebrations. 

The Ukrainian community will be first up at 4pm on Saturday's June 18 with the celebrations for Brazilian community 24 hours later. 

The popular Blessing of Families and Children will take place at each celebration on Sunday, June 19.

Ann Mulcahy, from Mungret, has been coming to the Novena celebrations since she was child. “It has always been so special and inspirational,” she said, before stepping into 10am Mass, this Friday.

Theresa Delaney, a regular each year, told Limerick Live she was thrilled that the celebration has returned. She is looking forward to spending each of the nine-days at Mount Saint Alphonsus.

“It’s great to be back after the past three years, we really missed it. The crowds are coming back. It’s marvellous to see everyone here again and I am thrilled to be a part of it,” she said.

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