Met Éireann weather forecaster and Laois native among speakers at Portlaoise Novena

Eclectic mix of guest speakers lined up for Portlaoise Parish's annual celebration of the Faith

By Conor Ganly

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By Conor Ganly

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SS Peter & Paul's Church, Portlaiose

Bishop Denis Nulty to celebrate mass on final day of Portlaoise Parish Novena

A national weather forecaster with Laois roots, the Parish Priest of Knock and a youth Christian evangelist are among an eclectic list of guest speakers lined up for Portlaoise Parish's Solemn Novena.

The annual Spring celebration of the faith in Laois' biggest parish gets underway on Sunday, March 4 and runs to the following Sunday, March 12.

Portlaoise Parish says the nine day is celebrated to give thanks to a Faith Community that is dynamic, alive and very active in many ways. Each day features differant themes.

Laois native Evelyn Cusack of Met Éireann will be a guest speaker towards the end of the week. Christian youth evangelist Jasper Rutherford will give a powerful testimony of new hope.

With the debate ongoing over the repeal of the Eight Amendment on abortion Bernadette Goulding of the Pro Life will speak early in the week.

Fr Richard Gibbons, PP of Knock, Co Mayo is probably one of the highest profile PPs in the country due to the continued popularity of Knock Shrine. 

Fr Brian Shortall and Br Kevin who work with the Capuchin Franciscan Order's food kitchen for the homeless and poor in Dublin will also feature.

Sr Consilio, who is closely linked with the Cuan Mhuire addiction treatment service, will speak on the same day as a midnight Mass will be celebrated for families affected by suicide.

The Parish has also confirmed Bishop Brian Storey, Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath as a speaker.

Apart from local priests Msgr John Byrne, PP, and Fr Paddy Byrne, Fr Eddie Lalor and Fr Tom O'Connor, guest priests include: Mountmellick PP Fr Michéal Murphy, Fr Joe McDermot, who will also be a guest speaker, Graiguecullen PP Fr John Dunphy and Fr John Harris.

There will be a school masses for local schools during the week including Confirmation candidates. The week also features a special Mass for the heart beat of Portlaoise music St Joseph's Accordion Band to honour its 60th anniversary.

The final day's Mass on Sunday, March 12, will be led by Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty.