Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has launched a nine-week novena in honour of St Patrick for the renewal of the Faith in Ireland. The Saint Patrick’s Novena will take place in churches which have links to Saint Patrick, starting in Armagh Cathedral on 19 January and continuing for nine consecutive weeks. Week two of the Novena and Mass will be celebrated by Father Conor McGrath PP.
The novena will be broadcast on Wednesdays in different churches across Ireland following in the footsteps of St. Patrick. Pilgrims are encouraged to adore the Most Blessed Trinity, join in the celebration of Holy Mass, read the Gospels and pray, fast and do penance, as St. Patrick did almost 1600 years ago.
Commenting on the novena, Archbishop Eamon Martin said, “This novena, over nine weeks, is a wonderful opportunity to unite in prayer around the faith of Saint Patrick in places he visited on his mission to bring Christ’s light to the Irish. Pilgrims can come in person to the churches or participate online.
“God sent Saint Patrick to bring His word, to enlighten the people of Ireland, at a time of darkness. ‘The people who walked in darkness has seen a great light’ (Isaiah 9:2). Through Saint Patrick, Ireland was evangelized and transformed into a Christian community from where the light of Christ shone out across the world. Today we live in a different world and Ireland has lost its brightness. Through this novena, we will implore God, to once again send the spirit of Saint Patrick upon us so that we, like Patrick, may become messengers of your Gospel of joy, spreading and strengthening the faith throughout our beautiful land”.
Shalom World Prayer are broadcasting the novena on www.swprayer.org. You can download Shalom World app to watch on your device; also available on SW Prayer YouTube channel and Facebook page. It is hoped that Irish people overseas and people of all nationalities will join the novena online via Shalom. You can also follow updates from the novena on the Facebook group ‘Hail Glorious Saint Patrick’.
On his historic visit to Ireland, in 1979 Pope Saint John Pal II said, “Like Saint Patrick, I too have heard the voice of the Irish calling to me, and so I have come to you, all of you in Ireland”. He highlighted the importance of St Patrick in the history of Christianity in Ireland. In Drogheda he prayed, “May the light of Christ, the light of faith, continue always to shine out of Ireland, may no darkness ever be able to extinguish it”. Leaving Ireland, his wish was “that every home in Ireland, may return, or begin again to be a home of family prayer”.
The novena will return to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh, for the ninth night with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Eamon Martin. The Papal Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, will be joining the novena on one of the nine nights as concelebrant.
The national novena to Saint Patrick is the inspiration of Father John Mockler SDS, a priest from County Limerick, recently appointed by Pope Francis as a consultant pontifical theologian to the Congregation of the Causes of Saints.
Speaking about the novena Father John said, “Ireland needs healing, families need healing, people of all ages need healing. All true healing will begin with a rejuvenation of the faith. Ireland needs St Patrick. He is God’s gift to Ireland. Let us celebrate the gift of faith he brought to Ireland, for ‘without faith it is impossible to please God’ (Hebrews 11:6). God sent us the gift of St. Patrick so that we would be pleasing to him. Renewal of the faith and vibrant living of the faith will bring us out of these dark times. This is the focus of the novena. Let us us also not forget adoration and the power of the Holy light of Jesus to heal us.
“Saint Patrick our glorious patron is honoured less and less by the Irish, in recent years, at home and abroad.I hope that through this novena true devotion to our patron saint will spread with proper celebration of his feast day throughout Ireland and by all Irish people across the world.”
St. Patrick wrote in his Confession, “from the time in my youth, that I came to know Him, the love and reverence of God grew in me and so far, thanks be to God, I have kept the faith”. May Ireland and the whole world return to keeping the faith and adoring the Most Holy Trinity in the Blessed Sacrament.