The Redemptorists Annual Nine Day Novena to St. Gerard.
Gerard was born as Gerardo Majella on April 23, 1725 in Muro Lucano, Italy. He was the son of a tailor who died when Gerard was 12, leaving the family in poverty. Gerard tried to join the Capuchin order, but his health prevented it. He was accepted as a Redemptorist lay brother serving his congregation as sacristan, gardener, ostiarius, infirmarian, and tailor.
When falsely accused by a pregnant woman of being the father of her child, he retreated to silence; she later recanted and cleared him, and thus began his association as patron of all aspects of pregnancy. He is a saint whose intercession is requested for children (and unborn children in particular); childbirth; mothers (and expectant mothers in particular); motherhood; falsely accused people; good confessions; lay brothers; and Muro Lucano, Italy.
He was a man of great depth, insight, prayer and kindness. Unfortunately his health was never good. He died on October 16th 1755, at 29 years of age. Gerard was Beatified on January 29, 1893 by Pope Leo XIII, and was canonised on December 11, 1904 by Pope Saint Pius X.He was featured on an Italian 45-euro postage stamp in May 2005. The feast day of Saint Gerard Majella is October 16.
St. Josephs Parish Church,a redemptorist House in Dundalk, welcomes 1000's of people from all over Ireland to the Annual Festival of Faith in Honour of St. Gerard Majella. After Bro. Gerards Beatification in 1893, a triuum in his honour was preached in St. Joseph's by Fr. Hall, widely regarded as one of the greatest preachers of his day. The people of Dundalk took St. Gerard into their hearts after this sermon and continued to pay devotion to him on a regular basis. However during the 1930's, Fr John Murray, started what has become, the biggest festival of faith in Ireland, The Annual Nine Novena to St. Gerard Majella. Beginning on the 8th October and finishing on his feast day, the 16th October. Fr. Hugo Kerr erected a shrine to St. Gerard in the church in 1939. The novena's appeal was unforseen back then and today it continues to grow with over 10,000 people attending the novena on a daily basis.
The novena consists of 10 sessions a day, with the first session starting at 7a.m. running all day until the last session at 10.30 p.m., this mass is conducted in candlelight. Prayers and Petitions are offered up daily by members of the public and are read out during each session. Due to the increasing numbers attending the Novena each year extra seating is added to the hallways, monestary rooms, side alters and the parish hall, were each session is shown live on large T.V. screens.
One memorable event of the novena from years past was the Trumpet players that performed at each of the sessions on the last day of the Novena. The last days of the novena also see's an increase in attendences as those who are unable to make it through out the novena usually attend the last three days.