THOUSANDS of people have been flocking to Clonard Monastery as the annual Solemn Novena returned in-person for the first time since 2019.
Day one of the Novena saw Fitzroy Presbyterian’s Rev Dr Steve Stockman join the Novena preaching team for the first time where he spoke about a recent audience with Pope Francis.
The faithful were joined on day two by Wexford layman Neil Foley who – as an environmental scientist – spoke about how he believes religion and science complement each other.
Later this week, Rev Dr Ruth Patterson from Dunmurry Presbyterian Church will join the preaching team.
In the interests of keeping the congregation safe, a number of changes have been made to this year’s celebration. The annual healing service has been replaced with a blessing of the sick at all masses on Saturday 18 June.
The popular blessing of the children service has also been replaced with blessings being offered at each mass on Sunday 19 June.
The annual youth session will still take place at 8pm on Sunday 19 June.
Whilst normally a collection would take place each day, there will instead be an envelope collection towards the end of the Novena and confessions will continue to be heard in the portacabins outside the church while the confessional boxes remain closed.
On Monday, Fr Martin Magill from St John's and Lesley Roberts from St Matthew’s Church of Ireland on the Shankill Road, will come together for the interfaith day where they will talk about their peace-building work.
The Novena continues daily with mass at 7am, 9:30am, 11:30am, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm. There will also be an additional mass at 1pm on Sunday.
Those who cannot make it to the church can watch the services on the Clonard webcam.