If you have seen Our Lady on a double decker bus recently, no, your eyes are not deceiving you. The ad is part of a multi-media promotional campaign for the annual solemn novena in honour of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The novena, which takes place from June 16th-24th at the Redemptorist Church, Limerick, is the biggest religious event in the Mid-West. Up to ten thousand people a day are expected to attend.
The theme of this year’s novena, entitled ‘Home is You and Me,’ is marriage and family life.
“The definition of family isn’t as simple as it was in the past,” explains novena director, Fr Seamus Enright, C.Ss.R. “As well as married couples, there are couples who are living together, lone parents, couples who are divorced and remarried, same sex couples, single people living on their own, and so on. And this variety of family combinations brings a lot of challenges.
“Each day during the novena we will focus on a different aspect of family life. Given how family life in Ireland has changed in recent times, I think this year’s theme has a particular relevance for all of us,” says Fr Enright. “No matter what one’s family situation or how strong or weak their faith may be, everyone is welcome at the novena.”
The novena starts on June 16 and continues until June 24, with ten sessions daily from 7.00am to 10.30pm. People can also join online from anywhere in the world through the website www.novena.ie, and submit their prayers of petition and thanksgiving.
Confession and a free walk-in counselling service will be available during each day.
There will be the traditional novena highlights - the special session for the sick and elderly on Saturday 24th; the blessing of babies and children on the afternoon of Sunday 18th, and a celebration for First Communion classes on Monday 19th, at 11.30am.
The 10.30 session each evening will have a more reflective atmosphere through the use of Taize music and candlelight, and is especially popular with younger people.
According to Fr Enright, a key ingredient of the novena is the opportunity to write out prayers of petition and of thanksgiving. “A novena session is never just a collection of individuals at prayer,” he says. “It is a community at prayer, the church in prayer. In a real sense, it is we the people. Everyone is welcome and everyone is included.”
The Novena will be live streamed on www.novena.ie. See also Facebook @redemptoristslimerick or Twitter @RedsLimk
For more information about this year’s novena, call Seamus Enright at (086) 8325999, or firstname.lastname@example.org