Heartfelt thanks to all who participated in our 2021 Novena to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, which took place from Tuesday, August 31st to Wednesday, September 8th at the Sacred Heart Church on the Western Road, Cork.
While this year’s Novena once again took place behind closed doors due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was nonetheless a truly blessed celebration of a much-loved annual tradition. It is of course difficult to navigate a new way of living, and in this case, a new way of praying, but the fact that we could not come together in person did not take from the wonderful sense of community and connection that comes with being part of our great family of faith. Over 9,300 people joined us in prayer via our live stream over the course of the nine days, reminding us of the tremendous spirit of our extended Sacred Heart family, at home and across the world.
The theme of our 2021 Novena to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was “Hope of the Hopeless”, and Fr Paul Clayton-Lea was the lead celebrant this year.
Fr Paul is a priest of the Archdiocese of Armagh, who has enjoyed a wide and varied ministry to date and is currently the priest in residence in the parish of Termonfeckin, Co. Louth. Having studied Education and Family Ministry at Fordham University in New York in 1988, he also ministered in the Riverdale area of the Bronx at the time, and has since served as a teacher of politics and religion, a college chaplain at DKIT, a Diocesan Advisor for Religious Education, and a parish priest. Author of In The Light Of The Word: Family Life Through The Lens Of Scripture, which was published by Veritas in 2018, Fr Paul is also about to resume his position as editor of Intercom, the monthly magazine of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. We were delighted to welcome Fr Paul to the Sacred Heart Church, and we are very grateful for his contribution to this year’s celebrations.
“May Mary and her merciful heart bless all of us.”
Fr Paul provided us with pause for thought in his daily sermons, summing up our great blessings in the closing Mass on the evening of September 8th. “Wouldn’t it be beautiful to be free of the lure of the world?” he asked. “Free from the things that draw us in and suck us in all the time, making us want this and want that and want more. Mary may not offer us all the wealth that we want, all the success that we want, but she will make sure that we do not want.”
“May Mary and her merciful heart bless all of us,” he concluded.
At the closing Mass, Fr Tom Mulcahy MSC spoke on behalf of Fr Michael O’Connell, who had travelled to Dublin on the final day of the Novena to attend the Perpetual Profession of Br Giacomo Gelardi to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. “Fr Michael asked me to speak to you to thank you for being with us and walking with us,” said Fr Tom. “We’re a tremendous outreach in the world; I remember being at an international conference and one of the Indian brethren said, ‘If it weren’t for the Irish Province of the MSCs, we couldn’t continue’. So, we’re helping so many other people. You’re helping so many other people. You walk with us and pray with us and celebrate with us.”
Once again, we send our sincere thanks to everyone who took part in what was a truly blessed occasion, and for your ongoing friendship and support. God bless you all.
If you would like to watch this year’s Novena Masses,
please click here to view recordings of our 2021 MSC Novena to the Sacred Heart.