It is a privilege that I have been invited to be one of the guest speakers at this year's Clonard Novena. The Novena runs from June 15th.
There are ten Masses per day on weekdays and nine on Saturday and Sunday. Around 10,000 people a day, from all over the country, cram in to the beautiful Church. There is sign language at the 4.30pm Mass and 10.30pm is a Taize one by candlelight.
Monday June 20th has guest speakers from other Christian Churches. I will be speaking at the 4.30pm, 9.00pm and 10.30pm ones.
The theme for the Novena this year is Mercy. For our Catholic brothers and sisters, Pope Francis has made this year A Year of Mercy. Our theme for June 20th is Crossing The Threshold Of Mercy. The readings are Acts of the Apostles 10:24-34 and 44-48 together with John 10:7-15. I am loving spending time in those passages of Scripture and am looking forward to unpacking the Scriptural text into the particular context of a Presbyterian minister born in Ballymena speaking at a Catholic Novena on the Falls Road.
I imagine I will be asking what thresholds we need to cross to find the mercy of God in our lives, that life in all its fulness that is the 10:10 (John 10v10) motto of Fitzroy and then what threshold we need to cross to share mercy with neighbours and enemies, as Peter had to do with Cornelius.
Am I excited to be sharing God's word across a traditional Belfast threshold? You better believe it!
If you attend the Novenas it would be lovely if you pencilled in one of mine. A familiar face is always an encouragement of grace. If you have never been and it seems a Catholic Threshold too far for you, use me as an excuse! Choose mercy!