Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, has opened the annual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Saint Conleth’s Parish Church, Newbridge, Co Kildare. The theme of this year’s Novena is ‘Sharing Faith’.
Speaking at the opening Mass on Monday 24 April, Bishop Nulty said, “Faith is interesting. We will always remember much more clearly the times when our faith was challenged, than the moments when the feathers of our faith were completely unruffled.
“Your Annual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help encourages you to meet the Easter Jesus through the different speakers over the coming nine weeks. A Novena is as much an encounter as it is a moment of grace. Sometimes it mightn’t be the speaker as much as someone you meet, someone you sit near to, someone you walk home with, that will make all the difference in your faith journey.”
Bishop Denis went on to say, “Our faith is not a set of prohibitions, but is something overwhelmingly positive. It is a positive option. The Church is at her best, we are at our best when we find ourselves saying yes to all that is noble, decent, good and life-giving. And occasionally when the church has to say No because of an immeasurably greater yes, we are still speaking a hugely positive message.
“In Census 2016, 78% of 4.76 million in the census saw themselves as ‘Roman Catholic’. And this is at a time in our Church, in society, to have and profess faith and call ourselves Roman Catholic is akin to choosing Scott Peck’s Road Less Travelled. But it is not the road less travelled, it is the road travelled on by 78%.”
Concluding his homily, Bishop Nulty said, “Our faith, our Church is not wagging a threatening finger, but applauding life, love, marriage, family, babies, elders, care for one another, compassion for the poor, embrace of those suffering, education of the most disadvantaged and mercy for the most broken. Our Church is a wounded church. Our faith is a wounded faith, but it is an Easter faith rooted in the wounded but Risen Christ. He is fully alive, walking amongst us this Monday evening.”
The Novena will continue on Monday nights up to and including 19 June. Speakers at this year’s Novena include: Father Peter McVerry, Father Robert McCabe, Ms Kathleen Chada, Senator Rónán Mullen and Mary Bergin.
For more on the novena see www.newbridgeparish.ie.