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Novena of Grace with a difference

The annual Novena of Grace in Gardiner Street Church (4 -12 March, 2021, online) will feature three keynote speakers instead of the traditional one-person format.

The novena will be based on Pope Francis’ book Let Us Dream, which is divided into three thematic sections. Each of the speakers will tailor their homilies to their given theme. John Callanan SJ will preach on ‘A time to see.’ Dr. Jessie Rogers on  ‘A time to choose’ and Ashley Evans SJ on ‘A time to Act’.

In the lead-up to the novena, inspirational videos featuring the guest homilists, team members, and parishioners, will be uploaded onto the Gardiner Street website and YouTube channel to help people prepare for the novena.  Watch John Callanan SJ’s introductory video above and read more below, from Christine Halloran, about the Novena of Grace and the Springtime Spirituality series currently being hosted by Gardiner St Church.

A fruitful time online

Gardiner Street Parish will see its very successful Springtime Spirituality, a series of workshops hosted via Zoom, draw to a close on Saturday next, 27thFebruary, 2021.

Feminist theologian and lecturer, Grainne Doherty, will facilitate the final session which will explore (in light of the Coronavirus global pandemic) the scripture passage “When the doors were locked, Jesus came and said, ‘Peace be with you.'” (Jn 20:19).

Fr. Gerry Clarke, PP, and the parish team are delighted that the Zoom community of participants which formed over the Autumn Series of Coffee mornings held last October, has remained faithful. In fact, the group has actually grown, there were well over 40 participants at last Saturday’s workshop, The Invitation, facilitated by Christine Halloran. In addition to the increased numbers, the team can also boast of having participants logging on from as far afield as New Jersey and Buncrana on the Inishowen peninsula!

Besides hosting and facilitating ‘Springtime Spirituality’, Fr. Gerry and the team have also been very busy over the past weeks and months preparing and planning for the upcoming annual Novena of Grace. The Novena will run for nine days, from Thursday the 4th March to Friday, 12th March. With the country still operating under level 5 lockdown restrictions, organising the Novena has proved very challenging this year, but the team were determined that with the use of technology, some creative thinking, and lots of extra effort, it would go ahead despite the restrictions.

The result is that this year the novena will be transmitted via the church Webcam and will also be streamed live on Facebook. Facebook followers will have a more interactive experience where their online comments and prayer requests will be fielded immediately on Facebook by one of the team members. Those who have committed to doing the novena will also have the opportunity to send in their prayer requests via letter, email, or by telephone and these prayers will be read out during mass.

The traditional prayer lamps can also be purchased in person at the church shop or if preferred, they will be sent out by post. The lamps/candles will be lit in the church before mass for all of these intentions. Novena booklets with the texts of the daily readings, prayers, reflections, and hymns, can be purchased at the church shop and will also be posted out if requested.

Following on from the successful format of the Sacred Heart Novena broadcast via webcam last June, instead of the normal three daily novena masses, it was decided to have one novena mass celebrated at 7.30 pm each of the nine days. The hope is that in celebrating mass in the evening, those working during the day will be afforded the opportunity to participate fully in the nine-day event.

Inspiration and the title for this year’s Novena is taken from Pope Francis’ wonderful book Let us Dream – The path to a Better Future. Another significant change to the Novena this year is the move from the traditional format of one preacher speaking for the nine days to the introduction of three speakers. Each of the chosen speakers will preach at three of the novena masses.

It was decided to follow the format of Pope Francis’ book which is divided into three thematic sections. So, each of the speakers will tailor their homilies to their given theme. John Callanan SJ will preach on ‘A time to see.’Dr. Jessie Rogers on ‘A time to choose’ and Ashley Evans SJ on ‘A Time to Act’. Finally, In the lead-up to the novena, inspirational videos featuring the guest homilists, team members, and parishioners, will be uploaded onto the Gardiner Street website and YouTube channel in the hope that it will be of some help to people in their preparation for the novena.

Opus nostrae – confidimus in Spiritu.

Christine Halloran,

Gardiner St Church,

February 2021