“No one is excluded here,” Fr Michael Cusack says, as the St Gerard’s Novena comes to an end and priests play trumpets, and the congregation dances in the aisle, and selfies make up a collage showing St Gerard’s shrine.
It was all more like a religious procession winding down some street in New Orleans. And why not. The theme of this year’s novena was the Church on the Streets. It wasn’t just spontaneous. The Redemptorists are probably the best in the business when it comes to getting their message across.
It took twelve months of careful preparation.
The big hit this year was the use of social media.
The man behind the selfie idea is Matthew Cregan who is studying for the priesthood at St Joseph’s Redemptorists monastery in Dundalk.
“The selfie idea is something that reaches out to a lot of people of all generations and it’s a bit of fun. It’s a craze we wanted to build upon,” said Matthew.
He was a technical director with the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin so had the expertise to brighten up the Facebook page and bring the novena to an even wider audience. Confessions are held throughout this time and hundreds of people find that they can
relate to the members of the Redemptorist order.