The annual Redemptorist Solemn Novena to Saint Gerard Majella will take place in Saint Joseph’s Monastery, Dundalk, between the 8 and 16 October next.  The theme of this year’s Novena is Let us Dream, drawing on the book published by Pope Francis.

Special highlights for this year’s novena include the candlelit session each evening at 9.00pm; a special blessing for children at all Masses on 9 October, and a day of prayer and blessing for the sick and elderly at all Masses on 15 October. Confessions will be available before and after all sessions, except on Sundays.

Speaking ahead of the novena the monastery rector, Father Noel Kehoe CSsr, said, “our daily lives and old certainties have been challenged and will continue to be challenged by pandemics, war, energy crisis and cost of living. Our Church too must address these challenges with hope and openness. Synodality is a word we have heard much about recently in the Church. At its heart, this worldwide process is a deep listening to the Spirit in the voices of the people of God and the courageous discernment of the signs of the times.”

Our novena is expected to attract over 8,000 people each day, with people traveling great distances to attend. This year is particularly celebratory as it is the first in-person novena since Covid-pandemic restrictions started in 2020.

Father Kehoe continued, “People ask why the novena continues to be popular at a time when Church attendance is going down?  I think that there is a great tradition of pilgrimage in Ireland and people experience something special at a novena.  It is a celebration of community and faith and holds a special place in the hearts of people who have been attending over generations.  It is a time for reflection, for sensing God’s closeness, for celebrating and praying for the gift of life, for renewing friendships and seeing familiar faces.

“Our preachers this year will reflect this diversity of voices and guide us on this journey for nine days. We are delighted to welcome Helena Connolly, director of evangelisation for the Redemptorists, Jim Deeds, author and pastoral renewal facilitator, Neil Foley, scientist and lay Redemptorist missioner and Redemptorists Fathers Tommy Hogan, Brian Nolan and Brendan O’Rourke.”

The daily timetable for sessions this year is:

Weekdays: 7.00am, 9.30am, 11.00am, 1.10pm, 4.30pm, 6.00pm, 7.30pm, 9.00pm

Sundays: 7.00am, 9.30am, 11.00am, 12.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.00pm, 7.30pm, 9.00pm

For more information please visit www.redemptoristsdundalk.ie