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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Irish Impressions: The prayers of the faithful

Despite the presence over the years of Jesuits, Dominicans, and Franciscans in Limerick, when people speak of "The Fathers" they are only referring to the Redemptorists.

As one of the confreres here says, probably the heart of the novena is the reading of the petitions.  From the prayerful, "For peace in my family," to the cute, "That I mite [sic] pass my spelling exam"; from the sad, "My pregnant sister with cancer," to the sorrowful, "For my beloved wife who died last week"; hundreds like these come in daily (at the entrances to the church and via the Web site), are collected, and prayed for. Some are read aloud.

(The photos here show you a fraction of the petitions and thanksgivings that have been left here this week.)

When Father Pat McGarrity became rector of our college formation house (then in Suffield, CT), I remember he began a public novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. He invited the people, similarly, to write petitions that he would read aloud during the service. It is truly the Prayer of the Faithful.

During each session, a sample of the many petitions and prayers of thanksgiving are read. After those readings, those attending are invited to pray two prayers printed in their novena booklets. Feel free to join us:

Mother of Perpetual Help,
with the greatest confidence
we come before your holy picture
to be inspired by the example of your life.
We think of you at that moment when,
full of faith and trust,
you accepted God’s call
to be the mother of his Son.
Help us, your children,
to accept with joy our own calling in life.
When you learned that your cousin
Elizabeth was in need
you immediately went to serve her
and offer your help.
Help us, like you,
to be concerned for others.
We think of you, Mother,
at the foot of the cross.
Your heart must have bled
to see your Son in agony.
But your joy was great
when he rose from the dead,
victorious over the powers of evil.
Mother of Sorrows,
help us through the trials and
disappointments of life.
Help us not to lose heart.
May we share with you and your Son
the joy of having courageously faced up
to all the challenges of life.

O Mother of Perpetual Help,
with grateful hearts we join you
in thanking God
for all the wonderful things
he has done for us,
especially for giving us,
Jesus, your Son, as our Redeemer.
O God, our Creator,
we thank you for the gift of life
and all the gifts of nature:
our senses and faculties,
our talents and abilities.
We thank you for creating us
in your image and likeness
and for giving us this earth
to use and develop,
to respect and cherish.
Despite our failures,
you continue to show your love for us today
by increasing the life of your Spirit in us
at the Eucharistic table.
Finally, we thank you, loving Father,
for giving us Mary,
the Mother of your Son,
to be our Mother of Perpetual Help.
We are grateful for all the favours
we have received through her
We pray that those past favours may inspire us
to greater confidence in your loving mercy
and to seek the aid
of our Mother of Perpetual Help.

— Fr. Daniel Francis, C.Ss.R.

More "Irish Impressions":

The novena begins (6/18/10)
Knowing they’re "not alone" (6/19/10)
A day for the young and the young-at-heart (6/21/10)
Hope for the future (6/23/10)