E ARLY morning sunshine welcomed the thousands of worshippers who turned out for the first session of this year’s Clonard Solemn Novena yesterday (Wednesday) morning.
The rain which had been thundering down for most of the week disappeared as people from across West Belfast and far beyond made their way to the newly refurbished church for the early morning vigil Mass.
The faithful squeezed into the church as prayers began at the 6.45am Mass.
Clonard Rector Fr Michael Murtagh told the Andersonstown News that he was “delighted” with the turn-out so far, adding: “I’m glad our prayers have been answered in terms of the weather.”
He went on: “Thank God we made an early and sunny start to our Novena of 2012. It’s our centenary year and we are glad to be back in our renovated church that many are seeing for the first time. The crowds responded at an even earlier time than usual this year and in large numbers, and, while many are in difficult situations and in some in great need, there is the usual upbeat and celebratory side to this great celebration of our faith in 2012.
“It’s fantastic to hold this year’s Novena in our new church, as well as the throngs of people that come to celebrate with us in the Church for the last seven or eight years we have been broadcasting live on the internet and we have around 5,000 people watching the services each day.
“It’s an experience of God and it’s really an experience of the Church at its best. People are really lifted out of whatever is dragging them down and they get a lift in faith and a lift in hope by attending the annual Novena.”
For more information and times on the Clonard Solemn Novena visit: www.clonard.com