Virtual blessing of lilies planned at friary

THE hugely popular Novena to St Anthony, which packs the Franciscan Friary in Killarney twice a day for nine days every June, will not go ahead, as normal, this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

But the Franciscan Order is embracing technology and will launch a social media initiative to offer comfort and support to those who normally attend the novena and others that may be interested in joining in.

Guardian Fr Liam McCarthy

The Tridiuum in preparation for the Feast of St Anthony, on June 13, will feature Mass on Facebook on the previous Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 11.15am.

The ceremonies will feature a special homily each day as well as the traditional prayers to St Anthony.

On the actual feast day, on the Saturday, the traditional lilies will be blessed online after the Mass with members of the public asked to hold the flowers in their hands at home while the blessing is taking place.

Permission to bless lilies in honour of Anthony of Padua was granted permission by Pope Leo XIII in the late 1800s.

It is claimed that lilies placed at his shrine, following his death in 1231 at the age of 36, remained in bloom for close on three months and the flower is associated with goodness and healing.

In addition, Guardian Fr Liam McCarthy, OFM and the friars in Killarney also celebrate Mass online four days a week during the current phase of the Covid-19 plan.

To view proceedings, go to the Franciscan Killarney Facebook page on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 11.15am to 12.30pm and again on Sunday evening at 5.00pm for a service of reflection.

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