Follow the Icon: Dates of visits to Cathedrals and other venues.

Photo of the Original Icon in Redemptorist Church in Rome. S.Devitt
















Ready for the Off! The Icon is loaded on the ‘Icon-mobile’ and begins its journey to Limerick.



Follow the icon, with up-to-date information and photos. Click here


The Icon, newly written in Poland, was blessed by Pope Francis on Wednesday March 23rd, Holy Week. On Holy Thursday, it arrived in Ireland, and was officially welcomed in Limerick at Mouth St. Alphonsus’ Church on Easter Sunday evening at 7.15pm, by Fr Dan Baragry, Provincial. It remained in Limerick city for the week, being brought to different places throughout the city, before beginning its pilgrimage to St John’s Cathedral on April 4th. Ceremony was attended by the Papal Nuncio,  Archbishop Charles Brown.

Click on link to see photos of Pope’s blessing.


Follow the Icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help!     On Pilgrimage around the Cathedrals of Ireland,  from Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord (April 4th, 2016) to Pentecost Sunday (May 15th) : an icon that proclaims in colour our Apostolic Faith. 

The following is a list of dates when a copy of the Icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help will visit all the Cathedrals of Ireland. Each diocese will arrange its own welcome and celebration of this event, in its own way.

Follow the Icon Jubilee Tour - Celebrating 150 years with the Redemptorist 

(Sunday 3rd April 2016   Jubilee Mass in Mount St Alphonsus)

This week:  Week 6

Monday 9th May 2016

St Joseph’s to Armagh

Tuesday 10th May 2016

Armagh to Newry

Wednesday 11th May 2016

Newry to St Gerard’s Belfast

Thursday 12th May 2016

St Gerard’s to St Peter’s Belfast

Friday 13th May 2016

St Peter’s

Saturday 14th May 2016

Procession from St Peter’s to Clonard

Sunday 15th May 2016

Jubilee Mass and close of pilgrimage in Clonard Monastery Belfast.


A Year of Jubilee & an Esker Movie- 150 Years, Icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help


To celebrate the 150th Jubilee of the giving of the Icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help (Perpetual Succour) to the Redemptorists in 1866, the following 9 minute movie was made by Fr. Séamus Devitt, Redemptorist, here in Esker. Click below, or find it on Youtube by typing ‘Make Her Known – Perpetual Help’

There are three versions of it: one with voice-over and music, one with voice only, and one with music only. If you like them, perhaps you could share the Youtube link with friends on Twitter or Facebook, or by whatever means you choose. Thanks for your part in helping to ‘Make Her Known’ !

MAKE HER KNOWN  - Music and Voiceover – Perpetual Help. Find on Youtube at:

MAKE HER KNOWN  – voice only – Perpetual Help. Youtube.  Find on Youtube at:

MAKE HER KNOWN – Music only – Perpetual Help. Find on Youtube at:

This video explores some of the meanings of the Icon of the Mother of Perpetual Help, the Purpose of Icons, and the architecture that lies beneath and within this particular icon, ie. the way it is so carefully laid out and constructed. And the Icon is about the whole Church of us, who are called to be, like Mary, icons of compassion and of mercy.

February 2016.


The following was put on this page, for the Feast Day of the Mother of Perpetual Help, June 27th, 2015.

June 27th is the feast day of the Mother of Perpetual Help,- ‘Mater de Perpetuo Succursu’.

The 150 Years Banner, Esker.

This year, 2015, today marks the beginning of the year of Jubilee, celebrating 150 years since the icon was handed into the care of the Redemptorists by Pope (Saint) Pius IX, in April 2016. He said to them ‘Make her known to the world!’,- and Redemptorists have been doing that ever since that day.

Why should we ‘make her known to the world’? Because Mary of Nazareth, the woman from that village in Palestine, consented to become the Mother of the Saviour,- ‘the Child to be born of you will be called Son of the Most High’. And Mary responded, as every disciple is invited to, ‘Let it be done to me according to your word!’ Her ‘Yes’ was wholehearted and total, for life. Was it easy? Not at all. As her son’s life unfolded over the years, she had to walk in faith in the promises made to her. What Paul, the Apostle, said about her Son, applies also to Mary: she ‘was tempted in all things, but without sin.’

The 150 Year Candle, lit at the Shrine, in Esker.

Mary is the greatest disciple, and is a mirror for the whole people of God, the whole church. She had a listening ear, a listening heart, listening to the Word of God, in her Son and in her own heart. ‘Do whatever he tells you’, she said to the servants at Cana (John 2). And then she stood by the foot of the Cross of her Son, with all the brokenness and pain of a mother, and yet obedient to the end. Later, gathered with the twelve Apostles, and with other disciples, men and women, she was in prayer for the Promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, and was there when the Spirit came upon that first gathering with great power. We are told in the Scriptures that John, the beloved disciple, ‘took her into his own home’.

The term Mater de Perpetuo Succursu, or as we used to call her, Mother of Perpetual Succour, comes from the Latin words ‘currere’ – to run- and ‘sub’ meaning ‘under’: she is as a mother who runs to catch her falling child. She is always at hand to help us,- being as she is the greatest disciple, and mother of her Son, mother of the whole ‘body of Christ’, his people. She cares for the whole body of Christ, all God’s people, as she cared for Jesus. ‘Mother, behold your son’, said Jesus from the cross to her, as she stood beside the beloved disciple,- and he represents all of us. She is watching out for us at all times.

Where did the icon come from? It is generally agreed that the icon was ‘written’ in Crete, in the Mediterranean. Sometime in the 1400′s, it was stolen from there by a merchant who brought it on his ship to Rome. A violent storm arose, and they prayed to Mary, and all were saved through her intercession. Shortly before his death, the merchant gave the icon to a friend to be put in some church in Rome. The friend never did so, until near the end of his own life, when his daughter had a dream in which the Virgin expressed the desire that the icon be placed in a church between St. Mary Major’s basilica and that of St. John Lateran. Eventually the icon was given to the church of St. Matthew, then in the care of the Irish Augustinians in Rome,- as this church was between the two basilicas, above. This was about the year 1500.

The picture was venerated there for three hundred years, but when Napoleon attacked Rome in the early 1800′s, the icon was put into hiding in a chapel in St. Mary’s at Posterula. There it remained for over sixty years. Meantime, St. Matthew’s had been destroyed. A new church, San Alfonso was built by the Redemptorists on the former site of

The Shrine of the Icon, in Redemptorist Church of San Alfonso, Via Merulana, Rome.

St. Matthew’s, and opened for worship in 1859. A Redemptorist, Michael Marchi, remembered as an old man that he had seen the famous icon of the Mater de Perpetuo Succursu when he was an altar server in the St. Mary’s at Posterula. The icon was recovered, it was in bad repair, but was restored by a Polish artist, Leopold Nowotny. In 1866, after it was restored, and remembering the story of where Our Lady wished the picture to be placed, Pope Pius IX entrusted it into the care of the Redemptorists, and since April 26 of 1866, it has been venerated in the church of San Alfonso, on the Via Merulana, -between St. Mary Major’s and St. John Lateran’s.

Within a year, the first copy of the icon arrived in Mt. St. Alphonsus’ Church in Limerick. In Esker, the Dominicans had a stained glass window made of the Mother of Perpetual Help, and it was in the Esker Church during their time. Later, when the Redemptorists came to Esker, and the church had to be extended, the icon window was removed, and it can now be seen on the stairway in the Retreat House.

So, this coming year, from the Feast of the Mother of Perpetual Help today, June 27th, until her feast day next June, Redemptorists celebrate the gift we have been given, of this icon of Mary, our Mother.

Ann Kennedy, Niall and Jack, lighting the candle in Esker, with Fr. Brendan O'Rourke C.Ss.R., Rector, June 10th, 2015.

Finally, some time after the year 200, during that third century, the oldest prayer to Mary, Mother of the Lord, that we have in the church was written on a papyrus in Egypt. It is a prayer loved through all the centuries, and very much applies to our Catholic devotion to the woman from Nazareth, the virgin Mary, Mother of the Lord, Mother of the whole ‘Body of Christ’.

An ancient prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the oldest known version of which is found on an Egyptian papyrus from the 3rd century. This prayer is used in Litanies to the Blessed Mother and as a concluding prayer to Compline.
Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix. Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus1, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen. We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

One Response to Follow the Icon: Dates of visits to Cathedrals and other venues.

  1. Coincidentally came across your website and the information about this icon. In our parish of St. Thomas the Apostle (Jobstown, Tallaght) we still have one of these icons placed there presumably by one of yourselves during your time with us. Recently one of the curates took the picture down and tells me there is some information on the reverse which indicates it is over 100 years old! We plan to rehang it in a more prominent position as well as cleaning the frame/glass etc.

    Best regards to our redemptorist friends, in particular Fr. Seamus Devitt who I see also in one of the photos in the gallery – doing a bit of clowning! :)


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