On Monday, yes this Monday, March 4th, something is happening here in St. Matthew’s which I genuinely believe you will regret missing. That is, if you do, and I hope you won’t. Hence this message.
That’s why I want to alert you to it. It’s one of those things that you will hear people talking about and no doubt find yourself saying ‘I should have’ or ‘why did nobody tell me about it?’
I am speaking of course about our annual Novena of Grace. Yes this is tried and tested and like all ‘annuals’ will have its range from memorable to average to poor enough.
The reason I have decided to address it in the rumblings is that this year I believe it will be particularly good. We are very blessed this year in our speaker, Fr Eamonn Mulcahy CSSp.
This is a very old novena. It has a history here in Dublin going back a few hundred years and is well established here in St. Matthew’s for many years. There’s a few things I like about it.
As someone with a great love of Ignatius and the Society of Jesus I am particularly thrilled that the backdrop to this beautiful novena is found in the early life of the Jesuits. Indeed the wonderful saint through whose intercession we pray this novena, was one of a handful of close companions of Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier. This young saint had his share of suffering but by any account seems to have been on fire with love for the Lord. He essentially spent himself without measure as a tireless missionary of the gospel. This, for me, makes our novena exciting.
The second thing I love about these days of novena here in St. Matthew’s is the people who will actually come to the novena. In other words I look forward to the faith community of St. Matthew gathering for this special time of prayer. People come with their needs, their sickness, their broken ness. I am always moved by their faith, their trust in the Lord. Every year I am conscious that our novena of grace is just that, a time of God’s grace, a time of God’s special help in our lives.
As I have already said, this year will be special because of the priest who will preach our novena. To have Eamonn Mulcahy lead our Novena of Grace is indeed a privilege. He has a number of things that stand out for me which contribute to my sense that we are in for a very powerful experience. Eamonn has a great sense of the world, a global view, born out of extensive travel and service especially in areas of poverty. Eamonn like Francis Xavier is a missionary. He enjoys telling people about Jesus and the Good News that is the gospel. He is a gifted communicator and it is very obvious he lives what he preaches.
Let us ask the Lord to bless us in a special way in these days. May the Lord bless all who take part in this novena. May he bless Fr Eamonn and use him as his instrument during the novena. May the Lord shower his blessings on the Faith Community of St. Matthew. Amen.