Out spoken broadcaster Hector O’Heochagáin and Portlaoise Gospel Choir will be drawing the crowds to St Peter & Paul’s Church in Portlaoise tomorrow night, Ash Wednesday February 13.
Hector’s talk on his own faith will “kick off” the parish’s Solomn Novena, a chance for parishioners to write down their prayers and special intentions, and come together for nine weeks to pray for them.
With every pew expected to be filled in the parish church, the congregation are encouraged to come earlier than the 7.30pm start to ensure a seat. However no-one need be disappointed, because those at home can watch online via webcam.
DJ Hector from 2FM is one of the eclectic mix of nine well known Irish figures who will speak each Wednesday night about their own faith and how it helps them get through life’s difficulties.
The full line up is folk singer Frances Black, hurling manager Brian Cody, MEP Brian Crowley, retired prison governer John Lonergan, broadcaster Mary Kennedy, composer Fr Liam Lawton, physically disabled teen Joanne O’Riordain and champion jockey Johnny Murtagh. The many choirs of the parish will also get a chance to perform during the nine weeks of prayer.
Monsignor John Byrne, PP of Portlaoise, says all plans are in place for the Novena.
“We have a big group of stewards and locals getting it ready, and we are all looking forward to it. All indications are that there is a lot of interest in it. Hector is kicking it off, and the speakers will put a different twist on it, they all have a valuable message, but this is also a traditional Novena,” he said.
The Solomn Novena will focus on “hope”, and each Wednesday for nine weeks, speakers will be followed by the traditional Mass, benediction and Novena prayers.
Portlaoise curate Fr Paddy Byrne is co-ordinator of the Novena, and is well acquainted with Hector, appearing on his television show “Hector Goes...” to talk about his own faith recently.
“We are expecting huge crowds to gather, and we are looking forward to it greatly. We are well organised for it,” he said.
The weekly Novenas take place on Wednesdays from 7.30pm to 8.30pm. See www.portlaoiseparish.ie/webcam