Guide to 2019 St Gerard’s Novena in Dundalk
The annual Redemptorist Novena to St Gerard Majella will take place in St. Joseph’s Monastery between the 8th and 16th October 2019. The theme of this year’s Novena is ‘Called to be Saints; Living the Beatitudes.’
Speaking about the Novena, Fr Noel Kehoe, the new Rector in Dundalk, said: “The beatitudes were undoubtedly Jesus’ most radical teaching. They sort of turn the world upside down, showing God’s preference and closeness for those who struggle rather than the powerful and rich. They are both comforting and challenging.”
The Novena is expected to attract over 8,000 people each day, with people traveling great distances to attend.
“People ask why the Novena continues to be popular at a time when church attendance is going down? People experience something special at a Novena,”
“It is a celebration of community and faith and holds a special place in the hearts of people who have been attending over generations. Indeed, like many people from the surrounding counties, I grew up coming to the Novena every year, and even today, I love being here, renewing friendships and seeing familiar faces.”
Some of the preachers, too, will be familiar faces. Anne Walsh, from Newfoundland in Canada, returns to Dundalk having preached here 2 years ago. Anne has more than 30 years' experience as a Redemptorist Lay missionary and has worked as a preacher, catechist and director of adult faith formation throughout North America.
“The voice and wisdom of women is important for our church and the Novena must continue to be an opportunity to hear those voices” Fr. Kehoe said. “This year we also have Jane Mellet, from Trocáire, as a guest preacher who will explore Pope Francis’ teaching on the care of the earth.
“This is one of the gravest challenges facing humanity, and we as a church should be deeply concerned.”
The other preachers include Redemptorists Fr Michael Kelleher and Fr Gerry Moloney from Limerick, and Fr Kevin O’Neil from New Jersey.
Special highlights include the candlelit session each evening at 10.30pm (9pm on Sunday), healing mass with anointing of the sick and elderly on Saturday 12th October at 11.30am and 2.30pm, blessing of babies and children (no mass) on Sunday 13th October at 2.30pm and our guest speaker, Jane Mellet, at all sessions on Monday 14th October.
This year’s Novena will coincide the opening of the new St Gerard’s Redemptorist Centre. The facilities include a new reception, religious goods shop, meeting rooms and large public hall. Additional parking is also available now at the rear of the Monastery.
“People know that the monastery has undergone a substantial renovation and Dundalk is now the headquarters for the Redemptorists in Ireland. There has always been a close relationship between the Redemptorists and the people of Dundalk and surrounding area, and I am so happy that this will continue into the future. We have a great mission here. The investment in the new facilities reflects our confidence in that mission.”
For health and safety reasons, the upgrade to the monastery was necessary to provide a safe environment for people who attend the Novena. The new hall will comfortably hold the overflow from the church. For many years people filled the corridors and parlours of the monastery but this is no longer safe as there are not enough exits. The new hall is comfortable with easy access to exits. It is connected by a live audio-visual link to the church and will have a second shrine to St. Gerard.
“These new improved facilities will allow people to be comfortable, safe and feel included in the big Novena experience” Fr. Kehoe said.
“So much work has gone into the preparation of the Novena, and I want to pay tribute to the great team of people involved in the organisation. The Redemptorist community, staff and volunteers look forward to welcoming people to this year’s Novena and pray that it may be a time of great blessing. With so many people attending, we do ask that people take care with parking and car share where possible.”
The timetable for sessions this year is as follows:
Weekdays: 7.00am, 9.30am, 11.30am, 1.10pm, 2.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.00pm, 7.30pm, 9.00pm, 10.30pm
Weekends: 7.00am, 8.00am, 9.30am, 11.00am, 12.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.00pm, 7.30pm, 9.00pm
For more information please visit www.redemptoristsdundalk.ie