Northern Ireland news

Crowds gather for final day of Clonard Novena

Crowds gathered yesterday for the final day of the Clonard Novena. Picture by Mark Marlow
Marie Louise McConville

The nine-day Clonard Novena came to a end yesterday with worshippers gathering in its grounds to take the opportunity to offer up prayers in the sunshine.

It is believed more than 100,000 people took part in this year's event, which takes place in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Yesterday, the final nine sessions took place and many of those taking part sat in the grounds to listen to the Mass on loud speaker.

This year's Novena took place later than usual, ending yesterday on the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Speaking to the Irish News, Fr Peter Burns, Rector of Clonard, said the event had "gone very well".

"The weather lifts everyone, the sunshine is wonderful today. It has gone well," he said.

"Some people think the numbers are up this year. The numbers aren't what's important.

"We have had a very, very good celebration. Some very, very good preaching. They have been down to earth.

"In some ways for me personally, the Sunday evening mass for the young people was just wonderful. The sessions for the anointing on Saturday were amazing and the four preachers from the other churches did very well. Two of them were women which was great. All in all a great Novena".

Fr Burns added: "We are really, really always grateful that so many people come and keep coming.

"Next year, it will be a couple of days earlier but we will have a review of this year and then we will start planning for next year."

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