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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 June 2006, 05:45 GMT 06:45 UK
Hi-tech moves for annual novena
Clonard monastry
Ten services take place each day inside the church
Catholics across the world will be able to join in nine successive days of prayer at a west Belfast church thanks to modern technology.

The annual Festival of Faith at Clonard monastery is rooted in devotion to the Virgin Mary and attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year.

This year the church will broadcast the services - known as a novena - live on the internet via a webcam.

A priest said it was a way for people to join in the "festival of faith".

Father Adrian Egan from the Falls Road church said a camera was positioned on the organ gallery, which would transmit services live across the world.

"You could be in any part of the world... and you can, in the space of seconds, be here with us in Clonard," he said.

"You can see and hear everything that is happening and, in that way, join in the spirit of prayer and celebration and hope and good news that's going on here for the nine days."

Over the nine days we will be doing what we can to make this a great festival of faith and a time of healing and a time of hope and a time of good news, for all people
Father Adrian Egan

This year's novena is available on the information superhighway as a result of the huge amount of e-mails and messages posted on its website during the June event.

"We have had our website up for a number of years now and people have been able to write to us or send in prayers or requests or comments through the internet," said Father Egan.

"We have been getting many hundreds, thousands, during the novena through the internet; just people sending in e-mails.

"So the facility is there now for people to be able to tap on a link and visit us live."

More than 100 lay volunteers will be assisting the clergy during the ten daily services from 14 June to 22 June.

Father Egan said: "Over the nine days we will be doing what we can to make this a great festival of faith, a time of healing, a time of hope and a time of good news, for all people."

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