By Trevor Quinn
Up to 150,000 people will descend on Knock Shrine next week for the National Novena which will return in its natural format for the first time since 2019.
There was huge disappointment after the Covid-19 pandemic led to the event being cancelled in 2020 and 2021.
However, Fr Richard Gibbons, PP, and Rector of Knock Shrine, said there is now lots of anticipation that tens of thousands of people can enjoy the nine-day event from August 14 to 22.
“It’s the first Novena since the pandemic and we’re looking forward to people coming back and we think it’ll be well attended.
“We’ve put a lot of work into it in terms of the various speakers and there’s a whole raft of [interesting people].
“About 150,000 people attended the Novena in 2019 and we’d be hopeful of getting close to that number this year.”
Fr Gibbons believes the Ukrainian community in Ireland will be very interested in a talk by Halyna Teslyuk, Associate Professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv on Thursday, August 18. The topic will be ‘A Hope that Inspires’.
“We have a very special and important day for peace in the Ukraine where we’ve invited Ukrainians from across the country to come and the Ukrainian ambassador Gerasko Larysa will be coming and a special envoy that Pope Francis has appointed to Ireland will be attending too.”
The first speaker at the National Novena on Sunday, August 14, at the 3pm opening ceremony will be Most Rev Tom Deenihan, Bishop of Meath speaking about, ‘What is Christian Hope?’.
Other notable speakers include Roseanna Ruane, the Galway-based mother of young Saoírse Ruane, who underwent major surgery and featured on the RTÉ. She will address both sessions on Monday, August 15 and talk about the topic, ‘The Power of Prayer in Difficult Times’.
Meanwhile, Dr Nicola Brady, chair of the Synodal Steering Group, is the guest speaker on Tuesday, August 16.
Fr Terence Harrington, OFM Cap, St Francis of Assisi Parish in Priorswood, Dublin, will address the theme, ‘How Can I Have Hope in my Brokenness?’ on Wednesday, August 17.
See the full programme below:
Novena Programme: Guest Speakers
Sunday 14 August
3pm Most Rev Tom Deenihan, Bishop of Meath
What is Christian Hope?
8pm Cormac Henry, former Youth Volunteer at Knock Shrine
What Gives me Hope Today?
Monday 15 August
3pm & 8pm Roseanna Ruane, mother of Saoírse Ruane
The Power of Prayer in Difficult Times
Tuesday 16 August
3pm & 8pm Dr Nicola Brady, Chair of the Synodal Steering Group
The Synodal Pathway: What have we learned and what will we do?
Wednesday 17 August
3pm & 8pm Fr Terence Harrington OFM Cap,
How Can I Have Hope in my Brokenness?
Thursday 18 August
3pm & 8pm Halyna Teslyuk, Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv, Ukraine
A Hope that Inspires
Friday 19 August
3pm & 8pm Lauren Conroy, Student
My Faith Story
Saturday 20 August
3pm Fr Michael McKeever, Diocesan Secretary, Diocese of Raphoe
Eucharist: a Sign of Hope
8pm Professor John Feehan, Geologist, Botanist, Author and Broadcaster
God in Everything that Lives: A Reflection on Laudato Si
Sunday 21 August, the Anniversary of the Apparition
3pm Most Rev Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin
They will take their place at the Feast
8pm Fr Richard Gibbons, PP and Rector, Knock Shrine
Knock – the Vision of Hope
Monday 22 August
3pm & 8pm Most Rev Francis Duffy, Archbishop of Tuam
The Call of the Lord