The Novena of Hope at the Graan Monastery, which continues until Monday, has been described as “very spiritual” by Rector Fr. Charles Cross.
Large crowds are attending the event, and, despite the snow, the congregation contains people from as far away as the Glenties in County Donegal, Sligo and Rasharkin.
Speakers at the nine-day event are discussing issues such as the relationship between divorced people and the Catholic Church and how to instil faith in the younger generation.
“The two speakers we’ve had so far have been very good,” Fr. Charles reported this week. 
Former BBC and RTE journalist Pat Coyle spoke candidly about her divorce and feeling abandoned by God. “Her key message was: ‘If you don’t transform your pain and hurt, you will transmit it,’” said Fr. Charles.
A Day of Reconciliation – led by Fr. Paul Farren, the administrator of St. Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry – was held on Tuesday. Fr. Charles was accompanied by 13 priests from other Passionist monasteries and from local parishes, including Monsignor Peter O’Reilly from St. Michael’s in Enniskillen to provide the sacrament of reconciliation a large crowd of attendees.
Yesterday (Wednesday), the Novena was addressed by retired Church of Ireland Bishop Trevor Williams, former leader of the Corrymela Community, a Christian group committed to promoting peace and reconciliation. The cross-community link between the Graan and Rossorry Parish Church fostered by Fr. Brian is continuing and Bishop Williams was joined by Reverend Canon Ian Ellis of Rossorry and Dean Kenneth Hall of St. Macartin’s Cathedral during Wednesday’s services.
Commenting on the importance of this relationship, Fr. Charles said: “That’s everything, it’s the air we breathe, it’s our common humanity. Because of the inherited history of this little place, the more we listen to each other the better.”
The Novena continues today (Thursday, March 8) with Ann Loughman who will discuss handing on the values of Christ to the next generation; Friday, March 9 with Permanent Roman Catholic lay deacon John Taafe; Saturday, March 10 and Sunday March 11 with Passionist student Anthony Connelly and Fr. Charles addressing masses; and Monday, March 12, with headmaster and GAA commentator Jarlath Burns.