A flowering Faith shared

A flowering Faith shared

Hundreds of people gathered in Derry this month in honour of St Thérèse of Lisieux and to celebrate faith and community.

As part of the annual Little Way Novena in St Eugene’s Cathedral, almost 1,000 church-goers attended the Masses, which began with the Anointing of the Sick.

The tradition of commemorating St Thérèse – also known as the ‘Little Flower’ – began in 2001 when her relics toured Ireland. In a decorated coffin, her bones were brought to every cathedral in Ireland’s 26 dioceses during the 11-week national pilgrimage. It was estimated that over two million people prayed before the relics of the saint during the tour.


From Monday to Friday in Derry, there were Novena Masses held at 6.30am and 10am. Each evening during the week there was also a guest speaker, as well as time for silent prayer in the presence of the Eucharist.

“It’s a week where we do celebrate Faith and it’s a week where there’s great joy and here is evidence that there are many people who have faith, who celebrate their faith and are hungry for God,” Fr Paul Farren of Derry told The Irish Catholic, adding that the Novena helps people to proclaim their Faith and talk to others about Jesus.

On the last day at the closing ceremony of the Novena Masses, the tradition of blessing and handing out roses took place, where hundreds in the community got involved.

Bishop Donal McKeown led the ceremony alongside Fr Paul Farren and Fr Patrick Lagan.

“The Novena here in Derry, it’s part of the year for many Derry people so there’s a great community spirit developed over the days where the same people are meeting every morning at 6.30am then back again in the evening at 7.30pm,” Fr Farren said.

“So, there’s a great sense of community and people are talking to one another, they’re actually sharing their Faith with one another and sharing life.”