Northern Ireland

Clonard Novena draws to a close

The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann
The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann

The nine-day Clonard Novena will draw to a close on Thursday - with more than 20,000 watching services online this year.

Held in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, thousands have gathered at the Falls Road monastery over the last number of days, taking the opportunity to offer up prayers and petitions.

The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann
The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann

Outgoing Rector Fr Peter Burns said, “We are very happy with the turnout this year. The stats for online over the last nine days have indicated more than 20,000 logged on to watch.”

The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann
The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann

This was the first covid restriction free year of the Novena since 2020.

The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann
The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann

“I would imagine for those who annually attend the Novena to celebrate their faith by coming together, it will mean a lot to them that it is back to what it was like pre-covid.” Said Fr Brendan Kelly.

With the spell of good weather throughout the event, many chose to sit in the grounds and listen to the Mass on loud speaker.

The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann
The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann The last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann

“Sometimes it was hard to know what the turn out was like, the church was full but it wasn’t packed as there was significant overflow in the garden,” said Fr Burns.

However, some were disappointed that the daily sessions had gone from nine to six.

Fr Burns said there were several reasons for the reduction in services: "It was partly due to resources, we are an elderly community at Clonard and it meant we required a lot of help.

"Decreasing the sessions also meant they were spaced out better and there wasn’t so much pressure both on people attending and the volunteers. It has also meant there is a big space in the middle of the day where we can take a breather and allow everything to run smoothly.”

Fr Mans Boli and Fr Dan Baragry at the last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann
Fr Mans Boli and Fr Dan Baragry at the last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann Fr Mans Boli and Fr Dan Baragry at the last day of the annual Clonard Novena in west Belfast. Picture Mal McCann