Friday, January 18, 2013

Hector to speak of faith at Portlaoise Parish novena 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 

“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 six. 

He hops that St Peter and Paul’s Church will be filled to capacity (1200) every night of the Portlaoise novena.

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