Baroness Nuala O'Loan will be one of nine speakers at this year's Novena of Hope at the Graan. The Novena will begin on March 23 and continue to April 1. This year the Novena will celebrate 300 years of Passionist life and will mark the foundation of the Passionist Religious Congregation in 1720.

Also speaking, and closing the Novena on Monday April 1 is Denis Bradley. He was the first vice-chairman of the policing board in the North. Denis worked with Lord Eames of Armagh on a report on the legacy of the troubles. Denis was ordained in 1970 but after leaving the priesthood, he worked as a counsellor establishing two shelters and treatment centres for alcohol and drug addiction in his home city of Derry.

Baroness O'Loan will speak on Friday March 28. A committed Christian and the first Police Ombudsman Baroness O'Loan will talk about hope in a society that is going through profound change.

This will be the thirtieth anniversary of the Novena. It caters for people of all faiths and all who are struggling to make sense of their lives. The Novena began under the directorship of Fr. Brian D'Arcy and is now a major spiritual event in Fermanagh and the surrounding counties.

A specially written icon will be present at the Graan during the Novena. This icon is visiting 63 countries around the world where the Passionists live and minister. The icon is in Byzantine style with an image of the Virgin Mary and the Founder of the Passionist St. Paul of the Cross at the foot of the Cross.

Father Charles Cross, who is the Superior of the Graan will open the Novena while other speakers include Mary McCann, the Chief Executive Officer of Fermanagh Women's Aid. Last year alone in the Fermanagh district they have worked with 372 women and 364 children who are victims of domestic violence. Mrs McCann will speak at the Novena on March 27 on the topic of "respecting the dignity of the 'other'"

The Reverend Ruth Patterson will speak on Thursday March 27. Rev Patterson is no stranger to the Graan and this will be her third visit to the Novena. Rev Patetrson was the first woman to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1976. Since 1988 she has been the director of Restoration ministries, which is a non-denominational Christian organisation committed to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Rev Patterson will talk about the need to break down the barriers that prevent us from seeing each other as brother and sister.

For more information on the Novena visit