The Armagh Parish Novena to Saint Patrick begins today, 8 March, in the parish churches of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and Saint Malachy’s Church. The theme of this year’s novena is ‘Remembering Patrick: a man of Faith’. His Excellency, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, will join the novena to celebrate the closing Mass in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral at 6.00pm on Friday 16 March.
Novena prayers will be offered at all Masses during the nine days. All Mass times for Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and Saint Malachy’s Church can be found on www.armaghparish.net. During the novena, a statue of Saint Patrick placed in the Cathedral sanctuary and people are invited to place a little pot of shamrock in front of the statue in memory of those who have passed onto us the great gift of our faith.
Reflecting on the life of our National Patron, Archbishop Eamon Martin said, ‘Saint Patrick, himself a migrant, was called to serve and bring God to a people far from his home. I encourage the faithful at this time to pray for migrants, and all who struggle to live and integrate into new cultures, at home and abroad, arising from displacement and poverty.’
The Novena to Saint Patrick is part of a series of events taking place in the Archdiocese of Armagh to mark the feast day of our National Patron.
On Saturday 10 March, the annual ‘Celebrate Saint Patrick’ concert will take place in the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Led by composer John Anderson, the concert welcomes choirs from across Ireland for a unique evening of music and spoken word honouring Saint Patrick. Tickets can be purchased through the Markey Place Theatre.
On Wednesday 14 March, Father Peter McVerry SJ, founder of the Peter McVerry Trust and a native of Newry, will host ‘An Evening with Saint Patrick’ in the Market Place Theatre, where he will reflect on the Confession of Saint Patrick.
On the eve of Saint Patricks Day, 16 March, Archbishop Martin and Church of Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke will host their annual Saint Patrick’s Lecture, speaking on what Saint Patrick means to them. Afterwards, Sarah Clarke of UTV will host a discussion with the two Archbishops on how Saint Patrick’s words still resonate in today’s world. It is expected that Archbishop Bashir Warda, Archbishop of Erbil, in Iraq, will address the audience by video, to speak on the persecution of Christians in Iraq.
That evening, the two Archbishops of Armagh will welcome visitors for a torch-lit procession between the two Saint Patrick’s Cathedrals. The procession will begin at the Church of Ireland cathedral with prayers led by Archbishop Richard Clarke, and will conclude with prayers led by Archbishop Eamon Martin. Refreshments will be offered afterwards in Synod Hall, which is beside Archbishop Martin’s residence in Ara Coeli.
For more information on the Novena to Saint Patrick or attending any of the events, please visit www.armaghparish.net.