By Cian Molloy - 18 September, 2017
Cavan Cathedral will host its fourth annual Novena in honour of Mary, Untier of Knots, beginning next Monday (25th September).
In preparation for next year’s World Meeting of Families in Dublin, the theme of this year’s Novena is, ‘We are Family’. On the first night of the Novena, Bishop Leo O’Reilly will celebrate the start of the countdown to that meeting with a diocesan celebration involving representatives from Kilmore’s 34 parishes. The guest speaker on the night will be WMOF secretary-general Fr Timothy Bartlett.
A Novena Mass will take place each evening at 7.30pm, with the exception of Sunday October 1st when there will be Novena devotions instead.
Other speakers taking part in the Novena include: Tracy Harkin of the Iona Institute Northern Ireland; SVP national vice-president Rose McGowan; GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail; Sacred Heart Messenger editor Fr Donal Neary SJ and Fr Patrick Cathill, co-founder of the Holy Family Youth Ministry. On Sunday 1st October, Davide Barbieri from the Cenacolo Community in Knock, will speak about the impact that addiction has on families.
The origins of the Novena are in Pope Francis’s own special devotion to Mary, Untier of Knots, which arose when he was studying in Germany during the 1980s. While he was there, he was very taken with a famous painting of Mary, Undoer of Knots, which is on display in the Perlach Church in Augsburg, Bavaria. The young Fr Bergoglio took a copy of the painting back to Argentina, and a devotion to Our Lady under this title took hold in Buenos Aires.
In St Peter’s Square on the Marian Day during the Year of Faith in 2013, Pope Francis said: “What are the knots in my life? ‘Father, my knots cannot be undone!’ It is a mistake to say anything of the sort! All the knots of our heart, every knot of our conscience, can be undone. Do I ask Mary to help me trust in God’s mercy, to undo those knots, to change? She, as a woman of faith, will surely tell you, ‘Get up, go to the Lord: he understands you’. And she leads us by the hand as a Mother, our Mother, to the embrace of our Father, the Father of mercies.”
Another highlight of the Novena is that an icon of the Holy Family, commissioned for WMOF2018, will be on display in Ss Patrick and Felim Cathedral from the Monday until 10am on Friday 25th September, after which the icon will travel to Belfast.
A diocesan petition box will be in the Chapel of the Holy Family for the duration of the Novena, then it will be taken around the parishes of the diocese. Contemplative communities across Ireland have agreed to take petitions collected from families, and to pray for them over the coming year.