Our 2019 Novena to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart took place from Saturday, August 31st to Sunday, September 8th, at the Sacred Heart Church on the Western Road, Cork.
A number of MSCs celebrated our daily Novena Masses over the nine-day period, including Fr Michael O’Connell, Fr Tom Mulcahy, and Fr Vincent Screene, who recently returned home to Ireland from the Venezuelan mission.
The Sacred Heart Church was beautifully decorated, with a very special feature this year. A wonderful statue of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart stood on the altar throughout the course of the Novena, which had been carved by the late Fr Jerry O’Riordan MSC, who ministered in South Africa and Indonesia.
It was wonderful to see the familiar faces of old friends return to the Sacred Heart Church every day, and to welcome new acquaintances to our Novena Masses every day. We were also delighted to see over 2,200 people pray with us via the live stream on our website over the nine days of the Novena – a sure sign that our great community of faith is growing all over the world!
The theme of year’s Novena to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was “Mother-Disciple”, with Sr Merle Salazar FDNSC acting as the special guest speaker at each of our daily Masses.
It was with great joy that we welcomed Sr Merle back to the Sacred Heart Church, following her wonderful reception as leader of the Sacred Heart Novena in 2018. With a fascinating history and varied career path to date, Sr Merle is a firm favourite with parishioners in Cork and beyond.
Born, raised, and educated in the Philippines, Sr Merle was a certified public accountant prior to her decision to join religious life with the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in 1995. As a young religious sister, she taught accountancy, did treasury work in a parish school, and coordinated a nutrition program in the remote village of Cebu, located in central Philippines. She also obtained a Masters degree in Religious Studies, and following her final profession, she has ministered in Formation and Leadership. She has also taught Marian Theology and Scripture at three theology schools in Manila, and is currently the First Councillor to the General, residing in Rome.
Sr Merle was welcomed with open arms once again this year, and we thank her, and everybody who contributed to this year’s celebrations, in person or online, for taking part in another successful, prayerful, and blessed Novena.