IN preparation for the annual religious festival that is Novena, the Redemptorist Community at Clonard Monastery has launched the Clonard App.

Up to 15,000 pilgrims are expected to flock to the West Bekfast Monastery over a 9 day period between June 13 – June 21 with Clonard Rector Father Noel Kehoe on hand to welcome them all.
The theme of this year’s Novena is ‘The Joy of Love: Family Life Today’. It builds on last year’s theme and is in preparation for the World Meeting of Families, which takes place in Dublin in August where Pope Francis will be meeting families.

And in keeping with the modern world Clonard have now launched their very own Clonard App.

Fr Kehoe, described it as “an exciting new tool in our mission to preach plentiful redemption”.

“Communication is at the heart of evangelisation and digital technologies offer the possibility to communicate Clonard’s mission with a worldwide audience.”

The new Clonard App will allow people who worship at Clonard, volunteers and friends around the world to receive updates about ceremonies and events through alerts and notifications. People can choose what notifications they receive, so information is targeted. Other options include prayer resources, daily reflections, information on mass and confession times and direct access to live streaming via the webcam.

“Clonard Monastery holds a special place in people’s hearts” added Fr Kehoe, “and each week we receive messages and prayer requests from all over the world. Many people who emigrated or moved to other parts of Ireland or the UK recall their childhood memories of Clonard but miss that connection. The new Clonard App will connect them through their smart phone or tablet.”

Clonard pastoral worker, Fodhla McGrane, explained: "We know that many people conduct their business through mobile devices these days so we felt it was important to have a presence in the digital world.

“One can feel very anonymous and isolated online, whereas this initiative brings people into contact with a real living faith community. We were inspired to develop the Clonard App by Pope Francis’ call to Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications in 2017 to study ‘new ways and means to communicate the Gospel of mercy to all people... through the media that the new digital cultural context makes available to our contemporaries’.”

Working in conjunction with Newry based company Edtap Ltd, the innovative and multi-functional software allows users an interactive and intuitive experience. The Clonard App can be downloaded for free from the Apple and Google Play stores.