Portlaoise Parish is to host nine inspirational personalities for its novena which starts on Ash Wednesday 13th February.
The people of
Portlaoise community are invited to attend the Novena to Our Lady of
Perpetual Help every Wednesday in the lead up to Easter and beyond.
Celebration of the Eucharist, benediction, and petitions will be at the
heart of the novena as well as the inspiration speakers.
“There will be a warm welcome for those who do not normally connect
with mainstream Sunday and it is hoped this will engage with those
people,” said Fr Paddy Byrne, the new curate at Portlaoise parish who
writes his own blog and is involved in Twitter.
“It is an effective way
to reach out, particularly to adults to share not just faith but also
vulnerability. One of the main components of the novena will be
petitions. People will record petitions and we will read them out at the
start of Mass.”
Speakers include radio presenter and broadcaster Hector O’hEochagain
who will speak on ‘Positive Spin on Life’. He recently broadcast the
RTE ‘Hector Goes’ TV programme which focused on religion in Ireland.
“The most important part of the novena is it is a chance for people
to grow in faith. This is our first year doing this in Portlaoise. The
speakers are very well known people who are coming to share their own
story and faith journey, but that doesn’t mean it is any different than
our own,” Fr Byrne told CatholicIreland.net.
“So issues such as
reconnecting with church are part of what Hector will be looking at. I
know Hector myself and he is a man of faith, therefore he is an ordinary
man sharing his way of connecting with God, and what God means to him
in his life.”
Singer Frances Black will tell her story of recovering from addiction
to alcohol and Brian Cody, GAA manager of Kilkenny hurling team will
speak on “Success through Discipline”.
Other speakers include Brian
Crowley, MEP, John Lonergan, former prison governor, Mary Kennedy, TV
presenter, Fr Liam Lawton, priest and composer, Joanne O’Riordan, Young
Person of the Year, and Johnny Murtagh, champion Jockey.
“I am very confident that this will be an attractive way for people
to engage with or re-engage with the church and I think we will have a
big turnout at it,” said Fr Byrne who is no stranger to novenas having
been in Newbridge for five such annual events and in Bagnelstown for
He hops that St Peter and Paul’s Church will be filled to capacity
(1200) every night of the Portlaoise novena.