The annual Novena of Hope at the Graan concluded on Monday evening.

The Novena attracted large crowds this year, with people coming from far and wide to attend the first in-person Novena since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many people also tuned in via webcam to witness and take part in the nine days of consecutive prayer.

The link between Rossorry Parish Church and the Graan was further strengthened as Rev. Stephen McWhirter made his debut as Rossorry rector at the Novena of Hope last Thursday.

He is the forth Rossorry rector to speak at the Novena of Hope, with the annual tradition started by former Rossorry Rector, The Ven. Cecil Pringle, Archdeacon Emeritus, and Fr. Brian D’Arcy.

Speaking about the special link which has continued for more than two decades, Fr. Charles said: “Rossorry clergy have been coming for more than 20 years; this has been part and parcel of the Novena.

“It’s great to see the communities come together – it’s not all about the clergy, it’s about the ordinary people coming in and recognising that what unites us as Christians is stronger than what divides us, because we are all following Jesus Christ, who is the centre of our lives. That is the most important thing, really.”

Other speakers who spoke at the nine-day event included Graan Superior, Fr. Charles Cross; Brendan O’Dufaigh; Fr. Gary Donegan; Agnes Lunney, Chief Executive of Positive Futures; Eoin Coyne; Sr. Rowena Galvin; Fr. Brendan McKeever and Professor Jim Lucey.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter last week, Fr. Charles described this year’s Novena as “uplifting, positive, warm and beautiful”.