By Sarah Mac Donald - 13 February, 2019
Next week will see up to 10,000 people flock to Galway Cathedral for the annual Solemn Novena, which takes place this year from 18 to 26 February.
The festival of faith has taken as its theme ‘the Joy of Love and Family Life Today’.
A team of 12 Redemptorists and 300 volunteers will ensure that the 38th annual novena leaves pilgrims uplifted and spiritually nourished.
The team of preachers includes Fr Tony Rice from Belfast, Fr Denis Luddy from Cork, Fr Gerry O’Connor from Limerick City and environmental scientist Neil Foley from Wexford.
Fr Tony Rice joined the Redemptorists in 2001 and was ordained in 2009. He currently acts as the order’s Vocations Director and has responsibility for Redemptorist students, while also working as a psychotherapist.
Fr Denis Luddy joined the Redemptorists in 1982 and was ordained in 1991. Apart from two years in the Philippine Islands, he has spent his life giving parish missions, novenas and school retreats. He is a highly regarded preacher.
Fr Gerry O’Connor is a member of the Irish Redemptorist Leadership Team, as well as a popular preacher, and is Redemptorist Procurator for Africa and Madagascar.
Neil Foley is involved in several prayer and music ministries. His latest collaborations are on the Hook of Faith digital evangelisation project and with the Mustard Seeds contemporary worship group.
He is married to Helen, has a certificate in pastoral theology, and works as an environmental scientist.
The annual Solemn Novena begins on Monday 18 February 2019 and runs until Tuesday 26 February.
There are six sessions each day as follows: Monday–Saturday: 07:30, 11:00, 13:10, 15:30, 19:30, 21:00
Sunday: 09:00, 10:30, 12:30, 16:30, 18:30, 20:00.
Thursday 21 February is devoted to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Three of the sessions that day (07:45, 13:10 & 21:00) are services of reconciliation; there will be Mass at the remaining two (11:00, 15:30 & 19:30), with confessions before and after.
The sick will be anointed at the 11.00 session on Saturday 23 February, while children and babies will be blessed after all sessions on Sunday 24 February.
There will be an hour of quiet prayer by candlelight before the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesday 20 February and Monday 25 February at 22.00 both evenings.
All collections from the Thursday 21 February masses will be donated to Galway Hospice, the Irish Guide Dogs and SERVE.