Blessing of St. Dominic’s Well, January 5th, January 6th

The Annual Blessing of St. Dominic’s Well at Esker took place on Sunday January 5th, and on Monday January 6th (Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord). The Procession to the Well took place following the 11am Mass in the Esker Church.

The tradition of blessing the Well on these days goes back into the mists of history, and dates from the Dominican times here in this place. People come from near and far to take home the blessed water, for sprinkling over and praying over their land, their farm animals, their crops.  There are many stories of blessings received, of animals recovering when all hope seems lost.

While most people come on one or other of these two days in January, others come on

Esker Redemptorist Church and Monastery

days throughout the year.

May the prayers of St. Dominic, and of the many Dominican martyrs from the Athenry Community over the centuries, be with us all, to protect and bless us.


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Esker Church, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – and beyond


(Follow the Star to find us at     H65 XA36! )

Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)- Christmas Eve: Tuesday 24th: From 9am to 3pm, please come to Monastery. From 3pm to 5pm, priest available in the Church.

Christmas Eve:          6pm  Family Mass

Christmas Eve 11.30pm:   Christmas Carols, followed by Midnight Mass of the Nativity

(Crib figures in Liscannor Church, Co. Clare)

Christmas Day:         Mass 8am,  11 am.

St. Stephen’s Day     10am Mass only (no 8am Mass!)

The Shepherds: Liscannor Church, Co. Clare)

Friday 27th and Sat. 28th:     8am and 10am

Sunday 29th:            8am   11am

Monday 30th:  8am & 10am

NEW YEAR’S EVE, TUESDAY 31st December:    Special New Year’s Eve Mass at 9pm

NEW YEAR’S DAY:    Mass 8am and 10am

ST DOMINIC’S WELL:  Sunday January 5th, and Monday Jan. 6th, 8am and 11am:  PROCESSION AND BLESSING OF ST. DOMINIC’S WELL after 11am Mass on both days. Blessed water traditionally taken and sprinkled on houses, land and farm animals.

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Death of Fr. James Duggan, C.Ss.R., in Brazil, Friday Dec. 6th, 2019

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of one of Redemptorist Confreres in Fortaleza in Brazil. Fr. James (Jacó) has spent almost all of his priestly ministry working in North Eastern Brazil. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam! May his soul rest at the right hand of God.

Received today from Fortaleza:

Please pray for the happy repose
of the soul of

Fr. James (Jacó) Duggan, C.Ss.R.
who died today, Friday 6th December 2019, in Fortaleza.

Funeral Arrangements:

His funeral will take place tomorrow, Saturday 7th December, in Fortaleza.

At a later date Mass in memory of Jacó will be celebrated in Ireland.

Fr. Jacó was born in Blarney, Cork on 13 February 1935. He was professed in Esker on 1st November 1954 and ordained in Cluain Mhuire on 25th September 1960.

In 1963 he was appointed to our mission in Brazil and it has ever since been his field of ministry.

R. I. P.

Nossa Senhora de Aparecida, rogai por ele

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Upcoming Events in Esker, December 2019 – April 2020


Jamuary 17-19:  Marriage Preparation Weekend

January 25th:  Mindfulness Day – Carmel Sheridan MA, M.Sc.

January 26-31   Private Retreat

February 1st:  Celtic Spring Celebration, 5pm -6pm, outdoors: come prepared for the weather.

February 15-16:  Heal Your Life Workshop: Join us for a two-day powerful, transformational workshop, based on the philosophy of Louise L. Hay. Pre-booking essential. Contact Paula McLoughlin 087- 9786086


February 27-28:  Youth Ministry Re-Connect

February 28-March 1:  Bethany Training Weekend:  for parish-based groups to support others in their grieving journey.

March 6-8th:  CENTERING PRAYER:  Take some quiet time-out the will enable you to better receive the gift of Christ’s presence and action in your life, during a weekend of contemplative prayer, stillness, solitude and reflection. Facilitator: Niamh Brennan. Early booking recommended.

March 13-16: Zen Group

March 21:  Mindfulness Day – Carmel Sheridan

March 27-29:  Marriage Preparation Weekend. See Carousel.

April 3-5:  Beginning Experience

April 6-7: Paper Boat Opera

Holy Week begins Sunday April 5th… EASTER SUNDAY APRIL 12th. 

April 9-12:  EASTER TRIDUUM RETREAT (Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday morning):  Facilitator: Séamus Devitt C.Ss.R. Open to everyone.  091 844007 Esker.

April 13-19:  Foyer of Charity

April 24-26:  Matt Talbot Weekend

April 25:  Mindfulness Day – Carmel Sheridan



School Retreats:  Meantime, from now until the end of May, there are School Retreats, from Leaving Cert age down to Confirmation Classes. For information on what our Youth Ministry Team can offer you, contact Youth Ministry Office 091 850298, or email eskeryouthministry@gmail.com. Early bookings are recommended.

Enquiries to Secretary Esker, 091 844007 or info@redemptoristsesker.ie

How to find us:  Esker Monastery and Retreat Centre is about three miles from Athenry Town, towards Kiltullagh. Eircode is H65XA36

Esker Youth Ministry continues most weeks, for students from 6th Class up to 6th Year: Enquiries to eskeryouthministry@gmail.com, or to 091 850298: day retreats and over-night retreats: also bonding-days for students. 


Pilgrimages, Summer Camps, Youth Events -the Village as a Base:  Our facilities are available for rental, provided certain conditions are met.  The facilities are also available for  Youth Group Events. Our Youth Village facilities and/or Retreat House can make an excellent base for groups, from Ireland and Overseas,  who wish to go on Pilgrimage from here to various sacred places and shrines in the West,- eg. Knock, CroaghPatrick, Ballintubber Abbey, Clonmacnoise, Clonfert,-   or to visit Connemara or the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher.

The Youth Village has two dormitories with bunk beds; each dormitory can sleep about 35. There are also separate sleeping facilities in each, for adult leaders. The ‘Rambling House’ is a place where groups can prepare their own food, if they wish. The Retreat House has plenty of accommodation also, subject to availability.

Among the facilities we have available on site are an 18 hole Pitch & Putt course and a variety of wooded walks.

In our retreats, we take time to celebrate the humanity of each young person, affirming their dignity and worth, hearing their questions and struggles, and seeking to show them who they truly are, through the face and eyes of Jesus Christ, as made in the image and likeness of their Creator. We work so that they will experience themselves and others with truth and real joy, by the time they leave us for home. We place before them food for the journey of Life. When possible, we end each retreat with a celebration of Eucharist with the students.

We offer One-Day Retreats/Reflection Days, and also Residential Retreats. Parishes offer a day in Esker as a special gift to their Confirmation Children, with an early start and arriving for 9.30am or so, departing around 2.30 or 3pm, when possible.

The beauty of the spacious grounds is another part of the experience for all who come to Esker, as is the beauty and simplicity of the Youth Village itself – an old converted farmyard.

In Esker, once a Dominican Foundation, now a Redemptorist Community, “Welcome” is our middle name! Everyone who comes is a V.I.P.

Contact 091 844007

Esker, a Soul Space. Photo: Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.
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Death of Fr. Matt (Matias) Ryan, C.Ss.R.

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our Redemptorist Confrere, Fr. Matt (Matias)  Ryan, who passed away today, November 25th 2019, in Fortaleza in Brazil. Matt had been ill for several months. Fr. Matt was only c.63 years of age at the time of his death.

A native of TempleDerry in the parish of Borris-Ileagh in Co. Tipperary, Matt went to secondary school in the Redemptorist College in Limerick, in the late sixties. He has worked for all of his priestly life in Brazil, usually out in the most remote places, among the poorest people. Dearly loved, and highly regarded by all who knew him, he will be greatly missed by us all.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Fr. Matt Ryan, during a visit to Mozambique in 2017

Fr. Matt visited his native parish of Borris – Ileagh just two years ago, in December 2017: he wrote this for this on their parish website: ‘Recently I visited our Redemptorist in Mission in Mozambique. Our Redemptorist priests from Brazil are being encouraged to go to Mozambique as we Irish Redemptorists were encouraged to take off to Brasil since the early 1960s. I wanted to visit Africa to see how our Missionaries are getting on out there and to explore the possibility of I myself going there with them at some time in the future. For the moment I’ll be returning to Brasil.’  That was Fr. Matt’s dream. The Lord had other plans for him.

Matt will be buried tomorrow, 26th November, in Fortaleza and according to local custom his Requiem Mass, the Seventh Day Mass, will be celebrated next Monday the 2nd December

At a date to be arranged with the family, a Mass in memory of
Matt will be celebrated in Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary

R. I. P.

                                  Nossa Senhora de Aparecida, rogai por ele. 

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Celebrating the Redemptorist Family: Sat. Nov. 23rd: COMPLETED

Icon of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Founder of the Redemptorists. Esker Chapel.





Completed: a very successful gathering took place in Ballyfermot Parish on Saturday November 23rd  2019, at which there were about 130 people, from various parts of Ireland, Belfast, Limerick, Cork, Galway, Dublin, Dundalk…

The Guest Speaker was Fr Gerry Moloney C.Ss.R., There were six workshops in the afternoon.

Thanks to all who helped to organise this gathering of Redemptorists and co-Redemptorists, friends who work together with us in many ministries.


You are invited, as a friend of the Redemptorists, in Esker and elsewhere,  to join Redemptorists and many friends, on Saturday Nov. 23rd, 2019, at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church, Ballyfermot, Dublin. Hoping to see you there.

The keynote Speaker will be Fr. Gerry Moloney C.Ss.R.  There will be workshops in the afternoon, and you can choose which one you are interested in, from the application form.

Information and Application Forms below. Please send in your completed application details by Monday Nov. 4th, to info@redemptoristsesker.ie, or to Claire Carmichael, ccarmichael@redcoms.org, or phone Esker 091 844007.

































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Bethany Training Weekend, Part 2, Nov. 15-17, 2019: COMPLETED

Teardrops and Hope? (Photo: Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.)


Bethany training is for parish-based groups to support others in their grieving journey.

Click here to VIEW BROCHURE

Training Weekends in Esker: September 27th-29th (completed), and part II on November 15th-17th.

What is Bethany Support?

Bethany Bereavement Support is a parish-based group ministry,which aims to help those bereaved and grieving. The name Bethany recalls the visit of Jesus to Martha and Mary on the death of their brother, Lazarus. This service originated in the Archdiocese of Dublin and has, for some years past,  been extended to the West of Ireland.

What does the Group do? 

Members of Bethany Bereavement Support Groups in a parish

  • offer support -not counselling - to the bereaved
  • Are available in a parish to those who have been bereaved

    A Welcome for tears; photo: Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.

  • Accept those who are bereaved as they are
  • Provide the bereaved the opportunity to talk in confidence to a trained listener
  • Help the bereaved to come to terms with death
  • Help the bereaved to learn to live without the deceased
  • Help the bereaved to move on with their lives
  • Offer help with the Liturgy at the time of death.

 How does one become a member?

As this is a Parish Ministry, those wishing to become members should contact the priest

The Pain of Loss: (Photo: Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.)

in the parish. Application forms can then be forwarded. An interview will follow in the weeks prior to the course.

To enable parishes to set up  Bethany Bereavement Support Groups, training courses are provided over two weekends, one course in Spring, the other in Autumn.

These courses are residential in Esker Retreat House, Athenry, Co. Galway. The programme for each weekend commences with registration on Friday at 7pm and ends on Sunday at 4pm.

Individuals and teams travel to Esker from places as far as the north of Donegal, and  deep in County Cork, and all parts in-between.

Click here to View Brochure

For information contact: Maureen Casey, tel. 087 2376977 or email maureencasey1@gmail.com.


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St. Gerard Majella, – Feast of St. Gerard, Wed.16th.

St. Gerard Majella, Patron of Families & the Unborn (Artist: Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.)


The annual Triduum or Three days festival of faith, in honour of St. Gerard Majella, has been taking place in the Redemptorist Church in Esker, this Monday Oct. 14th to Wednesday Oct. 16th, 2018. Tomorrow, Wednesday 16th, is the Feast of St. Gerard, Patron of Mothers and of Expectant Mothers, and of couples who long for a child. Come and join us in Esker Church for this Feast Day, at 10am Session or 8pm Session. Blessing with the relic of St. Gerard at the end of both sessions. Spread the Word!

Two session each day, 10am and 8pm.

Blessing with First Class Relic at each session.

If you cannot attend, you can send your petitions to : Redemptorist Community, St. Patrick’s, Esker, Athenry, Co. Galway, or email info@redemptoristsesker.ie, or click here and send it on this website:

All are welcome! Please pass the word.

St. Gerard Majella is Patron of Mothers and Expectant Mothers, and of families. May his prayers accompany us all through these days, as we look forward to his feast day on Wednesday October 16th.

To know more about St.Gerard’s life, click here


Almighty and Eternal God, we thank you for the gift of St. Gerard Majella and the example of his life.

Because St. Gerard Majella always had complete faith and trust in you, you blessed him with great powers of help and healing. Through him, you showed your loving concern for all those who suffered or were in need. You never failed to hear his prayer on their behalf.

Today, through St. Gerard Majella’s powerful intercession, you continue to show your love for all those who place their trust in you.

And so, Father, full of faith and confidence, and in thanksgiving for all the wonderful things you have done for us, we place ourselves before you today. Through the intercession of St. Gerard Majella, hear our prayers and petitions and if it is your holy will, grant them. Amen.

You may send in your own petition by going to ‘Contact us’ on Home page. Your prayers will be carried during the three days (‘triduum’) of prayer from Oct. 8th to 1oth.

St. Gerard Majella Novena Prayer

Almighty God,
from his boyhood years
you blessed St. Gerard with generosity of soul,
and led him to do yor will in heroic ways.

By your grace he lived his brief life
in intense love for you
and for those in need.
Hear his prayers now for us
and for all poor souls in trouble.

St. Gerard, friend of sinners,
friend of the poor,
friend of mothers and children,
it is our joy and consolation to come to your novena
to remember the goodness of your life,
your burning sense of God
your tender love for Our Lord and his mother, Mary,
your kindness and care for everyone in need.

Pray for us now in our time of need.
Pray for us in our sickness.
Pray for us in our confusion and despair.
Pray for us in our struggle with life and its mysteries.
Remember especially those who long for children
and mothers about to give birth.
Remember those who have wandered from the
practice of the faith
and need the grace of reconciliation.
Remember all of us poor sinners in our particular needs. Amen.

St. Gerard Prayer for Mother-To-Be

St. Gerard,
you were especially sensitive to the needs of mothers.
Pray for me and my baby.
Ask our good Lord to keep us happy and safe,
and bring us to a joyful birth. Amen

St. Gerard Prayer for Parenthood

St. Gerard,
you had deep compassion
for those who longed for children.
Pray for us in our longing
and bring our love to a joyful fulfilment.
Ask our Lord and his Mother Mary
to bless us with the birth of a child. Amen

You can find out more information about St Gerard Majella here

Click here to add your own petition




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Pre Marriage Weekend: 2020 dates: next weekend January 17-19, 2020.







Thank you for holding in prayer the couples who will be  in Esker for their Marriage Preparation on October 4th-6th.   May they be immensely blessed by God.

Please pass the word about this and other Pre-Marriage weekends in Esker.


Dates for 2020:  January 17-19:  March 27-29:  June 12-14 (NOTE CHANGE from June 5-7):  October 2-4.

These are some of the comments from recent weekends: 

‘A fantastic weekend, very informative; topics relevant, speakers fantastic and very honest. A great chance for any couple to talk without…mobile phones. And the ground around beautiful and the food only fab’

‘More awareness, marketing and advertising of these courses. It could be promoted on FB and social media.’

‘Thanks for a fantastic weekend. We really enjoyed it and have taken lots away from it.’

‘Very well run weekend… We really liked both couples.  We learned a lot…’ 

‘We enjoyed the weekend and took more from it than we had hoped, with very high expectations.’

‘We heard about the course from … past participants’.

‘Thank you sincerely from both of us. It was a very special and inclusive weekend of essentially important knowledge, sharing in helping us prepare for our sacrament of Marriage…Thanks!

Contact 091 844007, or email info@redemptoristsesker.ie

DATES 2019:

January 25th – 27th     (Friday 8pm to after lunch on Sunday) (completed)

March  29th -31st  -  (completed)

May 10th – 12th:     Friday 8pm to after lunch on Sunday. (completed)

October 4th – 6th


Cost per Couple is €260

A wedding for a day, a marriage is for every day!’

‘I freely recommend this programme and I pray for the couples and priests who present it. May the Lord continue to bless your work in Esker.’ Criost linn, John Kirby, Bishop of Clonfert

A Residential Weekend, from Friday evening 8pm to after lunch on Sunday. Sandwiches galore etc. on arrival. Everything supplied. Just bring yourselves!

Feedback from recent Esker Pre-Marriage Weekends:

  • ‘Excellent. Will recommend to others.’
  • ‘We found the weekend very rewarding and insightful. We really enjoyed it and would highly recommend to our friends. Thanks to the married couples for their very honest and brave feedback on married life, and thanks to …. for their kindness and knowledge. We’ll be forever grateful.’
  • Thank you to everyone who talked…’
  • Didn’t know what to expect, loved the weekend and think every couple would benefit from it…’
  • ‘We appreciated the honest feedback from all the married couples.’
  • ‘Excellent weekend, thanks again for sharing your experiences: we hope to use your advice and tools along the way.’
  • ‘Thank you to all the couples for your honest and open accounts of married life’
  • Thank you to all involve, the weekend was well structured, on depth and well presented. We have both learned some valuable lessons to help prepare us for married life.
  • Really enjoyed the course, we both got so much out of it. It was lovely  being in Esker,-  the accommodation, food and hospitality was excellent.
  • Amazing weekend. Very grateful. Thank you.
  • Thank you for your generous spirit over the weekend.
  • Very enjoyable weekend. Nice and relaxed environment.
  • We felt the course was absolutely fantastic. Thank you to the couples…. for being so honest. It makes you realise that some of the things that you go through in a relationship aren’t that disastrous and you can work through them.
  • It was lovely to hear from real couples. It really opened up the lines of communication for us and we are much closer and stronger as a result. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences with us.
  • Overall, a wonderful weekend, great experience. Will most definitely benefit us in our future. Great food. Well run.
  • …Stronger relationship coming out of the weekend. An incredible, life-changing experience I would say. I feel renewed in my own faith and excited about building our relationship with God as a couple. We both thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • We found the course to be really great in preparing us for married life ahead. Everyone involved was very open and welcoming and it was great to draw from the experience of the married couples. We will definitely recommend the course to all of our friends.
  • Thank you so much for really helping me and N grow more in love and more stronger this weekend. What a magical weekend – we cannot thank you enough.
  • This course was amazing. Would highly recommend to people. Team are fantastic and very honest and open which is really nice to be a part of.
  • Thank you for your commitment in giving the course. Your dedication really comes through. The course is really well run … Really enjoyed the openness and candour of the speaking couples and the time and technique of writing to each other. Thank you.
  • This weekend was the most special thing we have ever done for our relationship. The generosity of spirit of all the w/e team was outstanding, we feel very grateful for having experienced it.
  • It brought us closer together and gave us good tools to help us maintain unity through our marriage. We found the course speakers excellent and open. Than you for your time. We highly recommend this course.

Feedback continued:

  • ‘V impressed by the weekend. We appreciate the time and openness of the couples who facilitated, and especially as it was done on a volunteer basis.’
  • ‘Coming to the course, we were not sure what to expect. For both of us the weekend has been a powerful and emotional path of discovery. It was honest and thought provoking. We enjoyed the experience immensely and will definitely recommend it to friends.’
  • ‘It was a beautiful experience for both of us, giving us life-skills and hope, that hopefully one day we will look back and say we are as happy after 30 years as the day we met, through your help and guidance.’
  • ‘Excellent all round!’
  • ‘Valuable, reflective and thoughtful experience – the honesty and genuineness of the team is hugely motivating and inspiring. Plenty of thinking for our future marriage – highly recommend this! Keep up the excellent work.’
  • ‘This was an excellent course – it gave an insight into marriage and how as a couple we can make our marriage work in a loving way and in the presence of God. The time the team gives you is amazing. Thank you.’
  • ‘We expect that this weekend will stand to us tremendously in the long run. We appreciated the open and honest approach of the couples, facilitators and team couples. We’re delighted that we came.’
  • ‘Great weekend, very helpful on all aspects of married life. Honesty and openness of the teams made the course very relevant to the real life problems or issues that we will face. Lovely atmosphere.’

Click here or go to ‘What we do’ on Homepage, for details about our PreMarriage Courses, and also to read comments from couples who have experienced this course in Esker in the past two years.

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Cemetery Sunday at Esker Redemptorists, Athenry, Sunday Sept.1st

This coming Sunday, September 1st, is Cemetery Sunday here in our Redemptorist Community at Esker. On this day, we remember all Redemptorist priests and brothers who are buried in our cemetery here.  Everyone is welcome to come along and join us.

Mass at 3pm, followed by procession from the Church to the Cemetery.

Light refreshments afterwards in the Monastery.

Directions: From Dublin direction, take Exit 16 Loughrea, and head towards Kiltullagh.

Directions: from Galway direction, take Exit 17 Athenry, and follow signs for New Inn: after c. 4 miles, take Left turn towards Esker Monastery.

Find us with eircode  H65XA36.

Enquiries:  Secretary 091 844007, or email info@redemptoristsesker.ie


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