St Gerard's Novena will have its first female preacher this year. Traditionally, four Redemptorists from home and abroad, give the inspiring sermons at the annual religious festival.
But this year, three Redemptorists will be joined by Anne Walsh from Newfoundland who has received international acclaim for her retreat work.
“She’s a fantastic preacher,” said Novena Director Fr Michael Cusack, C.Ss.R.
The other preachers are Fr Brian Nolan from Cork, Fr Peter Hill from Dominica, and Fr Brendan Callanan, Dundalk.
Fr Michael Cusack, C.Ss.R., expects that there may even be bigger crowds attending the novena this year since despite the talk of being ‘over the recession’ so many people are truly struggling and needing support.
The most important message that the novena should bring is a message of hope and consolation.
“Pope Francis in announcing ‘the extraordinary jubilee year of Mercy’ for our church has invited us all to focus on the need for mercy in our personal lives and in our world and invited us to embrace the mercy of God wholeheartedly,” Fr Cusack said. In line with this invitation the theme for the St. Gerard Novena this year is ‘Mercy- the Face of God’.
“The daily preaching themes are all calling us to a deeper understanding of the Mercy of God and encouraging us to be people of mercy in our daily lives and in turn agents of mercy in our world.”
The novena starts at St Joseph’s Redemptorist Church next Saturday 8 October and continues to Sunday 16 October. This year's theme is: Mercy - The Face of God.
The guest speakers will Garda John Brady and Garda Noel Loughran, juvenile liaison officers with An Garda Siochana.
There theme will be Social Media - The Opportunities and Challenges.
They are expected to cover the positive aspects of social media but also the negative, such as cyberbullying and revenge pornography.
The Law Reform Commission has just issued a major report in which it proposes that a digital safety commissioner be appointed to police a code of conduct and a recommendation that the digital industry here should be legally obliged to comply with a statutory code of conduct which would involve taking down offensive images and written material from the internet.
There are 10 sessions each day of the novena: 7am, 9.30, 11.30, 1.10pm, 2.30, 4.30, 6.00, 7.30, 9.00, 10.30.
The times on Sunday are: 7am, 8.00, 9.30, 11.00, 12.30, 4.30, 6.00, 7.30, 9.00.
A celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation without Mass will held on Thursday 13 October at 9.30am, 11.30am, 6pm and 7.30pm. Mass will be celebrated at all other sessions on this day.
The Healing Mass with the anointing of the sick and elderly will be on Saturday 15 . On Sunday 16 the Blessing of Babies and Children, without Mass, will be at 2.30pm.