Catering for people of all faiths and all who are struggling to make sense of their lives, the Novena of Hope begins this year on February 29 at 6.30pm and will continue each day until Monday, March 9 at the Passionist Church, The Graan, in Enniskillen.

This year the Novena will host various speakers covering a wide range of subjects. It will open at all the Masses on the last weekend of February which is also the first weekend of the Lenten Season. Father Charles Cross who is the Superior at the Graan will open the Novena by speaking at all the Masses. Speaking ahead of this year’s Novena, Father Charles said: “The Novena has been going now for nearly 33 years and it’s a moment in people’s lives at the beginning of Lent where they turn their minds to God.”

“It’s a time of prayer, a time where people ask for intentions and blessings. We have two very big moments during the Novena which are the days of the sick on the Wednesday and the Saturday at 2.30pm. We have the sacrament of the sick and anointing, they are very important days. The rest of the time we have these speakers who come and they are speaking to us about aspects of our lives that are important. The Novena is really that time of prayer, as a time of people getting together, supporting one another and it’s a blessed time,” Father Charles added.

On Monday, March 2, Sister Susan McGrath, a religious sister of the Congregation of the Servants of the Mother of God who comes from Pettigo Co. Donegal, ministered for many years in the United States. She worked especially with those who suffer from gambling addiction and her talk will centre on her experiences and on how families and friends can be a support to those who suffer from such addictions. On Tuesday, March 3, Father Niall Coll a priest of the diocese of Raphoe will lead the rite of reconciliation, which is the communal rite for confessions. On Wednesday, March 4, Conor McCafferty is a psychotherapist from Co. Derry. For the last twenty two years Conor has been working with an organisation called Zest, a counselling service for people who self-harm and show signs of suicidal behaviour. On Thursday, March 5, Reverend Canon Ian Ellis the Church of Ireland Rector of Rossorry Parish, the neighbouring church to the Graan, will speak on the theme of ecumenism. On Friday, March 6, Jane Mellet from Dublin will speak on the theme of ecology. Jane is from Dublin and spent some time as a pastoral worker in the parish of Ballyfermot, Dublin. Jane is the Laudato Sí Officer for Trócaire. Trócaire is the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland. On Saturday, March 7, Gina Menzies from Dublin will speak on the attitude of Jesus towards women. On Sunday, March 8 Father Antony Connelly who was recently ordained Passionist priest in December 2019 is currently working as a chaplain at Caledonian University Glasgow. He will speak on his experience of being a priest in today’s Church and his work with the younger generation. On Monday, March 9 Gerry Farrell will end the Novena by addressing the important subject of resilience in the face of all that life brings to us. On Wednesday and the Saturday of the Novena at 2.30pm. there will be the anointing of the sick and prayers for healing during a special Mass for their intentions. The Novena of Hope times are Saturday, February 29 at 6.30pm to Monday, March 9. Sunday services are 9am, 10.30am, 12noon and 4pm. Weekdays 12.30pm and 7.30pm, except Wednesday, March 4 which is at 11am and 7.30pm and Saturday, March 7, 11am and 6.30pm. To cater for the large congregation attending the Novena closed circuit television is available in the adjoining rooms throughout the Graan Monastery and Nursing Home.