The annual Galway Solemn Novena is returning to the city next week, with up to 10,000 pilgrims expected in Galway
The annual Novena will take place from Monday, Februrary 17 through to Tuesday, February 25 at Galway Cathedral.
Over 300 volunteers will be involved in coordinating this week long event, along with a Redemptorist team of 12 people and Cathedral staff.
Now in its 39th year, this year’s Novena has taken its theme from a letter written by Pope Francis in 2018 entitled ‘Rejoice and be Glad, on the Call to Holiness in today’s World, Called to be Saints, Living the Beatitudes’.
In it the Pope expressed that people are called to be holy in their life’s journey, referring specifically to the living of the Beatitudes as a way of achieving holiness.
On the first day of the novena the reflection will address the theme of holiness in a general way. On each of the remaining eight days the reflection will be based on one of the beatitudes and how it can be a means to grow in holiness.
The preachers this year are Clare Gilmore who graduated in theology in 2000. She has worked in youth ministry, hospital chaplaincy and adult faith development.
She preaches parish missions and novenas and is currently working in Drumalis Retreat Centre, Co. Antrim.
Ordained in 1991, Fr Denis Luddy has preached parish missions and novenas throughout the country, and is currently based in the Redemptorist Community in Esker, Athenry.
Fr Brendan Callanan has worked for 33 years in South America and is currently superior of the Redemptorist Community in Esker, Athenry.
There are six sessions scheduled each day, on weekdays the times are 7:30am, 11am, 1:10pm, 3:30pm, 7:30pm and 9pm.
On Sunday the times are 9am, 10:30am, 12:30pm, 4:30pm, 6:30pm and 8pm.
On Thursday, February 20 there are three sessions (7.30am, 1.10pm and 9.00pm) dedicated to the theme of Reconciliation.
While on Saturday, February 22 the 11am session will include the Anointing of the Sick, and a blessing of the babies will take place after each of the six sessions the following Sunday.
The early morning weekday masses will begin at 7:30am for the early risers and those that wish to take in the Novena before beginning their day.
Candle Light meditation sessions will take place at 10pm on Fenbruary 19 and 24, and last about an hour.
This year’s Solemn Novena features 62 hymns which will be performed by Galway Cathedral Organists and cantors from the Redemptorist Novena team.
At each of the two late night sessions there will be live music and reflections which lends to a very relaxing and quiet time within.