Thousands set to take part in Novena of Hope

Fr Brian D’Arcy

Fr Brian D’Arcy

Many people from the Midlands Irish community are among thousands taking part in the annual Novena of Hope organised by well-known cleric Fr Brian D’Arcy.

The event is taking place from March 1-9 at Passionist Church, The Graan Monastery, Enniskillen, in County Fermanagh.

It features a selection of speakers who have been chosen by Fr Brian and fellow organisers for their ability to “guide us in these difficult times”.

For 26 years the Novena of Hope at The Graan has featured a host of speakers – the majority of whom are lay people – who share their faith, insights and wisdom with those who attend.

The Novena caters for people of all faiths and many of none, with several thousand coming to the Graan to take part in what is now a major event.

The event opens with a Vigil Mass on February 28, followed by several opening services, with Fr Brian preaching at all of them.

March 2 sees Joe Brolly bring his passion and straight-talking to highlight a practical way of bringing hope, by sharing the gift of life with others.

March 3 serves as a day highlighting the need for reconciliation and forgiveness in people’s lives, with Fr Niall Martin, a returned missionary and native of Fermanagh speaking at services.

Professor Ryan Feeney, a senior GAA official and the Ulster Council’s head of community and public affairs is the speaker on March 4, with the same day also seeing a special service dedicated to the sick.

On March 5, Peter Sheridan OBE, a former senior police officer in Northern Ireland and now chief executive of the peace building charity Co-operation Ireland, is the speaker at two services on the importance of working together in communities.

The Rev Ruth Patterson, who became the first woman to be ordained as a minister in Ireland in 1976, speaks on March 6. Ruth is a Presbyterian minister and is a director of Restoration Ministries, a non-denominational Christian organisation committed to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

On March 7 Liamy Mac Nally from Westport in Mayo is the main speaker. Liamy was a highly respected priest before resigning from the ministry to marry. He is still extensively involved in church affairs and his talk aims to highlight different forms of service within the church.

On March 8 newly-ordained Passionist Priest, Fr Gareth Thomas, is the speaker at several masses.

The Novena draws to a close with well-known priest and speaker, Daniel O’Leary.

Daniel, an acclaimed author and lecturer, is also a priest in the Diocese of Leeds. He was born in Rathmore in Co Kerry and worked in parishes in England for 30 years and taught theology at St Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill, for 20 years.

He is an award-winning author of 12 books and a regular contributor to The Tablet and the Furrow.

To cater for the large congregations attending the Novena, closed circuit television is available in adjoining rooms throughout The Graan. In addition to those who attend each year more than 10,000 people share in the Novena from their homes throughout Ireland and Britain. To find out more about the event visit www.thegraan.com