Redemptorist News

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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Celebrating the Feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, August 1st.

August 1st, Redemptorists worldwide celebrate the feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, their Founder. We give thanks for him and for the group he gathered around him ono missionary men not long afterwards became officially recognised as The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, founded to preach the Gospel to the poor and the most abandoned. Just one year earlier, Sr. Maria Celeste Crostorosa (now Blessed) began the Redemptoristine Nuns, a contemplative Order, known now as The Order of the Most Holy Redeemer’. She and Alphonsus worked closely together in the foundation of both groups.

The Redemptorist Missionary -

Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic me and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption’  (Redemptorist Constitutions, §20)


“Return Love for Love”

is what he said to do.

When all was said and done, this was his heart’s deep cry,-

‘return love, for love’.

Live in the Birth of Bethlehem,

walk in its stables,

smell its smells,

and then

be filled with speechless wonder

at the One Who Is,

and who is lying in the food-trough of

the beasts.

Live in the Call of Calvary,

Come back again to stand

upon that hill,

don’t run away from the awe-filled

horror as you stand

and gaze at our Messiah,-

Sent by the One who so greatly

loved the World.

Live in the shadow of its radiance.

Live in the ever-lasting gift of Eucharist,

Behold the Man! Behold the Lamb!

Behold your God, given in a wafer:

Drink in the meaning of the Cup.

‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink?’  (Mark 10:38-39)

‘We can…’ said those

two Thunder Brothers to their Lord.     (Mark 3:17)

And so can we,- drink of the

overflowing cup of given life.

Return love for love.

‘Live in my love’, said He.

‘As He (my Father) has loved me, (John 15:9)

that is the very how

my love is now

for you!’

Come, live in it, and drink of it,-

Come, laugh and dance in it

with Mary, -who ‘rejoices in God my Saviour’ (Luke 1),-

‘so that your joy may be full’. (John 15:11)

If he has so loved us,-

then we

might live our lives,

returning love for love.

(Séamus Devitt C.Ss.R.)


( Memories of visit to Naples-Scala, and of page 47 of Frederick Jones’ book on the writings of Alphonsus Liguori, in Classics of Western Spirituality Series..)


Blessed Maria Celeste Crostorosa, foundress of the Redemptoristines

Both the Redemptoristines and the Redemptorists are constantly praying that young women and young men, in their twenties and older, will come and share the passion in us for people. We want the work of the Most Holy Redeemer to continue into future generations. Talk to any Redemptorist, or contact us at ‘Every new generation is a continent to be won for Christ!’ (St. John Paul II)

‘The harvest is great, the labourers are few: ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest.’, Esker Monastery, Athenry.

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Death of Fr. Phil Dunlea, Redemptorist.

Fr. Phil Dunlea C.Ss.R., 17 years attached to Clonard Monastery, Belfast.

The death occurred suddenly on Tuesday last, July 23rd 2019, of Fr. Phil Dunlea, in our Clonard Community. May he rest in peace. His funeral took place in Clonard Church on Friday 26th, with burial afterwards in the Redemptorist plot in Milltown Cemetery.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis!

The following is a brief look at his life.

. Philip (Phil) Dunlea, C.Ss.R.was born in Cork city on 5th July 1935 and a few days later was baptised in the recently opened Church of Christ the King, Turners Cross, Cork.  He used say that his mother told him he was one of the first to be baptised there, but on one occasion he looked up the baptismal register and found his name was on either page 3 or 4.  Actually the church had been opened about three years before his birth.

He was one of a family of four boys, Philip, Brian†2015, Michael and John (Jack) former C.Ss.R. student and one girl, Louise.

As a young boy the family moved to Rathkeale, Co. Limerick and Phil lived there until he went to the Juvenate (now St. Clement’s College) in Limerick in 1948.

In August 1953 he headed to Esker in Co. Galway and joined our novitiate and, a little more than a year later, on 24th September 1954 he pronounced his vows as a Redemptorist.  He then travelled the short journey from Esker to our House of Studies, Cluain Mhuire, in Galway city to continue his training.  On Sunday 21 January 1962 Phil, together with 16 companions, was ordained a priest in Cluain Mhuire.

In the autumn of 1962 Phil and four of his recently ordained companions, Frs. Noel Gartlan, Louis Eustace, Hugh O’Donoghue and Brendan O’Connor were appointed to our mission in the Philippines.  Their departure was delayed, possibly due to difficulties in obtaining visas, and because of this delay they were among the first Irish Redemptorists to travel by air to the Philippines.

Shortly after arrival they had their ‘Pastoral Year’, a period to complete their training, during which they received initiation into the practical application of what they had learned in class.

At the end of the pastoral year they were assigned to different houses in the Vice-Province, but Phil remained in Cebu where he was appointed to teach in the new House of Studies (1961) in Cebu for the Filipino students, along with a number of their Irish counterparts: Tom Devitt, Jim Stanley, Gerry Pierse, Pat Reynolds and John Goode.  He often jokingly spoke of his teaching canon law to the students and he who, just a short time beforehand, had been a student himself.

Previously, from the mid 1950s, the Filipino students had gone to Bangalore, India for their studies, but immigration problems had eventually made this impracticable.  However, a few years after the opening the House of Studies in Cebu, there was a change of mind due to the smallness of numbers.  So, from 1965, for the next five or six years the Filipino students were sent to Ireland for their studies.  As a result of this move Phil, in 1965, was assigned to teach in the Juvenate (minor seminary) in Iloilo.

He returned to Ireland in 1969, in the company of Frs. Pat O’Sullivan and Noel Gartlan, to ‘recharge his batteries’.  On his return to the Philippines in 1970 he spent varying periods in the parish in Dumaguete and also in Scala Retreat House on the outskirts of Cebu City.

About 1978 he was back again in Ireland on furlough, returning to the Philippines via the U.S.A. where he did a month’s supply for a priest in New York and arrived in Dumaguete in February 1979.  Before this Fr. Luis Hechanova, the Vice-Provincial had written him a few letters asking about his feelings of returning to the Philippines and asking what work he would prefer.  Towards the end of 1978 Fr. Luis wrote telling him that he had appointed him to Dumaguete, “your first choice.”

In July 1980 there is mention of “compassionate leave” for Phil.  At the end of January 1981 he returned to Ireland, as both his father and mother were ill.  In the summer of 1981 Phil actually renewed his re-entry permit, but apparently following the death of his father he decided on remaining in Ireland.

His ministry in Ireland really began in 1981 with his assignment as bursar of the Limerick Retreat House.  This was followed in 1984 with his appointment as school chaplain in St. Clement’s Redemptorist College in Limerick.

His next move came in 1986 with his appointment as curate in Brookfield Parish, West Tallaght, Dublin.  Seven years later, at the nominations in 1993, he became curate in our Parish of St. Gerard, Belfast.  After nine years in St. Gerard’s his next and final appointment was to Clonard Monastery in the autumn of 2002.

Here, until his death, he was very much part of the Clonard church ministry team and also of the chaplaincy team at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH).  As the chaplaincy team wrote in tribute following his death: “Phil was a much loved and respected part of our chaplaincy team in RVH for almost 17 years. He was a lovely, gentle, caring and supportive man of God.”  Over the past couple of years he has been an assistant priest in the nearby Parish of St. Paul.

In Clonard Phil became interested in Christian Meditation, especially the method promoted by the Benedictine, Fr. John Main.  Not only was he a promoter of the Meditation but was personally very committed to it.  Every Thursday evening a group of Christians gather in our community oratory for an hour’s meditation where Phil was a leader and encourager.

Other interests of his were listening to classical music, reading the latest in theological developments and bird watching.


Over a period of twenty weeks earlier this year a “School of Prayer” was held in Clonard when a series of speakers presented different systems of prayer. One Tuesday in April Phil, together with Mary McKinney, presented the John Main system of Christian Meditation. The various presentations were video recorded and put on the web, including that led by Phil and Mary McKinney and if you are interested you could cut and paste this link:

The recording begins with a ‘shaky’ camera and during the hour Phil has an input of about twenty minutes early on and towards the end of the recording. A big part of the programme seems to be given over to the participants.

From The Irish News:

TRIBUTES have been paid to a west Belfast Redemptorist who died suddenly just minutes before he was due to say Mass at Clonard.

Fr Phil Dunlea was making coffee for the Redemptorist community at about 6.45am on Tuesday when he collapsed in a small dining room in the monastery.

The 84-year-old, who was originally from Rathkeale in Co Limerick and grew up in Cork, had been based at Clonard for the past 17 years.

He was ordained in 1962 and, before joining the Clonard community in 2002, he had been based for nine years at St Gerard’s on Antrim Road where he was a curate.

Clonard Rector Fr Peter Burns said the Redemptorist community had been left “shaken by the suddenness” of Fr Dunlea’s death.

“Our community woke up yesterday morning to the death of one of our confreres unexpectedly,” he said.

“He was getting ready to say the 7am Mass. He was making coffee in the small dining room and just collapsed and died on the floor.”

“He was a very quiet but a very easy presence in our community and we are very shaken by the suddenness of his death,” he added…

Tributes were also paid to Fr Dunlea online, with one woman describing him as “very soothing and sincere” while another said he had been a “gentle and spiritual support”. Another person described him as “such a kind, clever, loving man – an example to the world”.


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Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer, Third Sunday of July

The Most Holy Redeemer: 'I, the Lord, are your Redeemer' (Window in Esker Redemptorist Retreat House)

This year, 2019,  the Third Sunday of July falls on July 21st. For Redemptorists throughout the world, this is the Sunday on which we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer.

Why do Redemptorists celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer? The Answer:

Who are Redemptorists?

A young priest, Alphonsus de Liguori, 36 years of age, gathered a group of companions around him in November of 1732. He was passionate about reaching out to people who were abandoned, socially and religiously, in the countryside all around the then-great city of Naples, in Italy. They were ‘like sheep without a shepherd’. After a shaky start -his first companions left him -he gathered a group of like-minded men around him, who had the same passion, to go out to people, to share the Good News of Jesus of Nazareth with them, to show them the divine dignity that was in each human being, and to share with them the wonder of being redeemed, being set free, by the blood that Jesus shed for all people, everywhere.

That was the dream then. That is still the same dream now. Redemptorists all over the world (about 6000 in number) and their companions work to bring the joy of the Gospel to everyone we meet. ‘Caritas Christi urget nos’ –Christ’s love drives us.

‘Simon, do you love me?’ asked Jesus of Simon Peter. ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you’. ‘Feed my sheep!’  That’s what the young Alphonsus taught, again and again, that Redemptorists are to be about: if we love Jesus Christ (‘Jesus Christ is the centre of your life’ as a group: this is in our Constitutions), If we love Him, we will feed his people constantly.   Hold us to it!

Why the name ‘Redemptorists’? Our full title in Latin is ‘Congregatio Santissimi Redemptoris’ – a congregation of priests and brothers, under the title of ‘The Most Holy Redeemer’. In Italy, we are known as the Missionari Redentoristi, (playing on the word Redemptoris, in the Latin) and in Ireland we call ourselves ‘Redemptorist Missionaries’. Our middle name is SENT – just like Jesus! Everything about us is meant to reflect that -the way we live, the way we work, the way we pray, the joy in us, our community life together around the person of Jesus, the Redeemer. ‘The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve’, Jesus said.

And St. Mark tells us, about the calling of the Twelve Apostles: ‘he called them to be with him, and to go out.’ ‘To be with him’ in our lives, in our prayer and preparation: ‘to go out’ in our efforts always to reach out, to go to people, to be with them along the road of life: to go out physically to people, to reach out by all media available.

The Redemptoristines were founded one year before us. They live enclosed lives of prayer for the whole world. In Ireland, t

'You have redeemed us Lord in your blood' - Window in Esker Church

hey are in Drumcondra, in St. Alphonsus’ Monastery, St. Alphonsus Road.

Both the Redemptoristines and the Redemptorists are constantly praying that young women and young men, in their twenties and older, will come and share the passion in us for people. We want the work of the Most Holy Redeemer to continue into future generations. Talk to any Redemptorist, or contact us at

‘Every new generation is a continent to be won for Christ!’ (St. John Paul II)

or Talk to us in Esker –

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Death of Brother John Long, C.Ss.R., Esker

It is with sadness that we announce the death at 3.30am this Sunday morning, June 30th, 2019, of our Redemptorist confrere, Brother John Long. He passed away peacefully here in his Esker community. May his soul rest in peace.

Funeral arrangements:  Reposing in Esker Monastery from 4pm to 7.30 pm Monday July 1st: removal to Esker Church at 7.30pm.  Funeral Mass Tuesday July 2nd at 12 noon, with burial afterwards in the Esker Community Cemetery.

Brother John recently turned 96 years of age. Born May 22nd, 1923, in Maree, near Oranmore, he was always proud of his Galway roots. John came as a postulant Brother to Cluain Mhuire, in April 1949. He received the Redemptorist habit in November 1949, and was professed November 26, 1950. Brother John spent most of his years tending the farms, between Esker and Cluain Mhuire in Wellpark in Galway. He spent some time also in Limerick, in Dundalk, and for a short while in Dublin. He was always a most willing confrere, ready to turn to anything that needed to be done. A man of deep faith and prayer, he was a jovial man and a great confrere to live with, engaging easily with those around him. John was particularly well known all around the area of Esker Monastery. We hand him back to the Lord who called him from his earliest days, and we give thanks for his life and presence among us, ‘living a life of love’ as a Redemptorist Brother in the tradition of St. Gerard Majella.  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis!.

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Esker Annual Novena: June 4-12: w’days 8 &10am, 4, 6, 8,10 pm

Novena to the Mother of Perpetual Help

Our annual Esker Novena to the Mother of Perpetual Help began here on Tuesday June 4th, 2019      

Dates: Tuesday June 4th to Wednesday June 12th, incl.

Times: Weekdays: 8am, 10am, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm, 10pm

Times: Sunday:  8am, 10am, 12noon, 4.30pm, 6pm, 8pm.

Confessions will be heard before and after each session of the Novena in Esker, with the exception of Sunday.

Special Events: Saturday June 8th, Mass and Anointing of the Sick at 12noon.

Sunday June 9th: Blessing of Babies and Small Children, at all sessions.

Esker Novena is a home for everyone!  ’God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, God is in this person’s life. You have to trust God.’ (Pope Francis).

The Icon of Mary, in Esker Church

Our Preachers: Fr. Brendan Callanan C.Ss.R. (the new Superior in the Esker Community, as of May 15th): Brendan is a proud Cork man! He has spent a total of 33 years in S. America, between Brazil and Suriname. He was provincial of the Dublin province of the Redemptorists for six years, 1993-9. He returned from Brazil four years ago and has ministered in St. Joseph’s parish in Dundalk since then.

Fr. Gerry Moloney C.Ss.R.: a native of Doon, Co. Limerick. Ordained in 1988. He spent 20 years as Editor of Reality magazine and director of Redemptorist Communications. He is a big supporter of Limerick hurling, Munster rugby, and Liverpool. This is his third time preaching at the Esker Novena.

Clare Gilmore is from Co. Down. She is a graduate of Milltown Institute in Dublin (2000): She has worked in youth ministry, hospital chaplaincy, adult faith development. She preaches parish missions and Novenas. She is currently working in Drumalis Retreat Centre, Larne.

Fr Denis Luddy C.Ss.R.: another proud Cork man. Ordained in 1991, he has spent most of his priestly ministry in Ireland, giving parish missions, novenas and retreats. Denis is a highly regarded preacher.


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Happy 96th Birthday to Brother John Long

Today, May 22nd 2019  in Esker, we celebrate the 96th birthday of Brother John Long, Redemptorist. Brother John is a proud native of Maree, near Oranmore, and a great Galway GAA fan. We wish him every blessing and joy on this occasion. Rath Dé art, a Sheáin!

Brother John Long, C.Ss.R.



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Welcome to Fr. Brendan Callanan C.Ss.R., new Rector of Esker

A hearty welcome to our new Rector of Esker Redemptorist Community, Fr. Brendan Callanan.

Fr. Brendan Callanan C.Ss.R. is the new Rector or Superior in the Esker Community. He arrived here on Monday May 13th– Feast of Our Lady of Fatima -and takes up office on this Wednesday, May 15th.

Brendan is a proud Cork City man, and proud too of his education in the ‘North Mon’ Secondary School. He took his first vows as a Redemptorist, here in Esker on September 15th, 1964, and after his studies (including a Science degree at UCG/ NUIG for four years) he was ordained on 2ndJuly 1972. Following his Ordination to the priesthood, Brendan worked for many years in Brazil, in our Redemptorist Vice Province of Fortaleza. In 1993, he was elected Provincial of the Dublin Province of Redemptorists, where he served for six years, 1993-1999. He then worked for two years in Clonard Monastery Belfast, before returning again to Brazil in 2002. Later, from 2007 to 2011, he worked in Suriname, in the Redemptorist mission in that country north of Brazil. He learned enough Dutch to be able to minister there in that remote area which is dear to the memory of Redemptorists everywhere: that is where the Redemptorist, Blessed Peter Donders, worked and died, ministering for years in a leper colony there.

Brendan returned to Ireland four years ago, and was appointed Administrator of St. Joseph’s Redemptorist parish in Dundalk. He now comes to Esker, his newest place of ministry to God’s people including the Redemptorist Community. Rath Dé ort, a Bhreandáin! Céad Míle Fáilte romhat!

P.S. Brendan has a great knowledge of all things GAA, most especially the Hurling. Being from Cork, ‘tis no wonder!

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Death of Fr. Brian McGrath C.Ss.R.

It is with great sadnness that we announce that Fr Brian McGrath CSsR has returned home to the God that he loved and served so faithfully. Fr Brian died peacefully on Saturday morning, March 30th,  in the Abbey Nursing Home, Blackrock, Co.Louth.
Fr Brian was member of the Redemptorist community in Dundalk.
May Fr Brian’s gentle soul rest in peace.

Born 23-03-1930, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
Professed: 08-09-1948, Dundalk
Ordained: 26-05-1956, Bangalore
Died: 30-03-2019, Abbey Nursing Home, Blackrock, Dundalk.

Funeral arrangements:
St Joseph’s Redemptorist Church, Dundalk
Sunday 31st March 6.30pm: Removal to Church
Monday, 1st April at 12.00 noon: Funeral Mass
Burial afterwards in Redemptorist plot, St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Dowdallshill, Newry Road, Dundalk.

Today at noon tthe Requiem Mass for Fr Brian McGrath CSsR took place in St Joseph’s Redemptorist Church in Dundalk. We said our final Goodbyes and gave thanks for the life and ministry of Fr Brian. May his dear soul rest in the peace of Christ.

Below is a short sketch of the life and ministry of Fr Brian, a much loved Redemptorist.

Born 23-03-1930, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
Professed: 08-09-1948, Dundalk
Ordained: 26-05-1956, Bangalore
Died: 30-03-2019, Abbey Nursing Home, Blackrock, Dundalk.
Brian saw the light of day in Kilmallock, Co. Limerick on the 23rd March 1930. As Brian’s father, who was a bank official, had just been transferred to Youghal in Co. Cork, the whole family moved to Youghal to take up residence there. The first seventeen years of Brian’s life were spent there.
He received his early education in the Loreto Convent School and later in the Christian Brothers. The two final years of his secondary schooling took place in St. Clement’s Redemptorist College in Limerick
Having completed his secondary education, Brian entered the Redemptorist Novitiate in Dundalk in August 1947. After his introduction to the Redemptorist way of life in the Novitiate, Brian was professed on 8th September 1948.
His studies for the priesthood then began in the Redemptorist House of Studies, Cluain Mhuire, Galway. During his first years in Cluain Mhuire he studied at U.C.G. (University College, Galway), two further years were spent in coming to grips with the intricacies of Philosophy, Dogmatic Theology, Church History and other kindred subjects.
In 1939 the Irish Redemptorists opened a mission Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) and a year later open their first foundation in Bangalore, India. By the end of World War II the Redemptorists were in a position to train young Indians who had applied to join their ranks. It was necessary then to set up structures for their training and education. So in 1946 five Irish students were sent to Bangalore to join with local men and be the nucleus of this new venture, which was to become the Redemptorist Studentate (seminary) in Bangalore. By 1953 these five had been ordained and this explains the decision to send a further three Irish students to India to augment the fledging enterprise, they were Brian McGrath, Patrick Walsh and Liam O’Connell. Here they continued their studies in theology and Sacred Scripture as well as becoming imbued with Indian life and culture. On May 26th 1956 he, another Irish student, Brian Timoney, and two Indian students were ordained in the Holy Ghost Redemptorist Church in Bangalore. A class-mate of Brian’s during his pre-ordination years was the Redemptorist Varkey Vithayathil (†2011) who was to be ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1997 and subsequently created a cardinal in 2001.
A new phase in Redemptorist Mission and Apostolate now opened up before him. Preaching missions and retreats and learning to cope with the challenges and difficulties involved consumed all his energies, especially trying to master one of the many Indian languages and the never-ending train journeys, which sometimes took two to three days! Brian’s initial stint of missionary activity was quite short-lived however, as he was asked to go to our house in Chembur, Mumbai (Bombay) to take charge of a large parish school known as “Our Lady of Perpetual Succour High School”, shortened to O.L.PS.
To do this, however, he would need a teaching qualification. So back to Ireland and to U.C.G. where obtained his ‘Higher Diploma in Education’. He returned to India in 1961 and was duly installed as Headmaster of the Parish School. Having, as his rector, Fr. Frank Toner was a great boon as he gave expert wisdom and guidance to Brian on many occasions.
Fr. Brian recalled the eight or nine years he spent in the school as among the happiest of his life. However, all good things come to an end and in 1969 he returned to Ireland. His first of many assignments was to St. Clement’s Retreat House 1969-1972 where he spent three very challenging years.
His time in St. Clement’s Retreat House (1969-1972) he recalled was a stressful one, as there was a lot of civil strife and unrest and many people had been forced to leave their homes. The retreat house proved to be a haven of security and rest for quite a lot of these refugees. Brian always admired the resilience of the people and their ability to see the funny side of life, no matter how serious their own predicament.
Several other appointments quickly followed, briefly as a member of the ‘Mission Staff’ in Marianella in Dublin for two years 1972-1974. Then it was back to Belfast for the next four years 1974-1978 when he was based Clonard. For these four years he was Director of Our Lady’s Confraternity, this coincided with his appointment as Rector of Clonard Monastery for the triennium 1975-1978.
Of his days in Clonard (1974-1978), he recalled many happy memories of the Ladies Confraternity. He considered the confraternity as a great force for good for the growth of the Kingdom. He was very moved by their sense of loyalty and self-sacrifice and how they would strive at all costs to be present at their monthly meetings, no matter what obstacles they had to overcome in order to be there.
His next move was to Limerick where he held the post of Rector of Mt. St. Alphonsus, 1978-1984. It was during his time as rector in Limerick that the renovation of the sanctuary of the church took place. Such developments are not without controversy and this proved to be no different.
The next eighteen years, 1984-2002, were spent in Dundalk, first as curate and later as administrator of St. Joseph’s Redemptorist Parish for sixteen of those years, followed by two as chaplain to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. In 2002 he was assigned as C.C. in St. Gerard’s Parish, Belfast. In 2008 he once again took up residence in Dundalk, for a couple of years he was again chaplain to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. From then on he took his part in the church and parlour apostolate of the community.
For the past two years (2017-2019) Fr. Brian has had health challenges. Difficulty in walking had been the greatest obstacle, and the loss of mobility required a higher level of support than was possible to offer in the monastery. For a social character like Brian leaving the monastery and entering a nursing home was really a hardship but he made the best of the situation.
Our Superior General, Fr. Joe Tobin, said in a letter to Brian on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee of Ordination in 2006: “Very important also is the fact that you have always been a good community man and a much loved confrere – so you have every reason to be full of confidence and to rejoice”.
#Redemptorists #MissionaryVocation

St Gerard Majella pray for him.
#Redemptorists #Dundalk

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Fr. Brendan O’Rourke says his farewell.

Fr. Brendan O’Rourke, the Rector in Esker for the past eight years, says farewell to us, this weekend of March 31st. He will be Celebrant and preacher at the Masses on this Sunday. We in the Esker Redemptorist Community want to say a huge Thank You to him for his service over these eight years, his dedication to Esker and all it means to so many people near and far, and his kindness and courteous ways. He has exercised great leadership among us, always encouraging each one to give of his best in whatever way we can. So many people who have been blessed by his counselling skills are grateful for his presence to them. God bless you, Brendan, as you head for a time of well-deserved break. The Lord direct you in all that lies ahead. Míle Buíochais! Our prayers go with you.

P.S. We do not know as yet who they new person will be who will come as Rector to Esker. We hope to have white smoke before too long.


Fr. Brendan’s Words of Farewell:

Sunday March 31st brings to a close my time as Rector of Esker. Eight years have passed quickly! From time to time the years have brought challenges, as is the way of all life. I have no reservation in saying that the eight years have been, for me, very happy years.

I would like to thank all of you who come to Esker, and are part of Esker, for your welcome, friendship and encouragement. Many volunteers have shown great support for Esker. Long may such generosity continue! I thank all who are part and parcel of Esker for making it a place where we find welcome, and food for our souls!

The humanity and family spirit of the priests and brothers in Esker have enriched my life over these years. We have all pulled together and functioned well as a team and a community!

I am deeply indebted to and appreciate also, all who work or volunteer in Esker Monastery,the Retreat House, the Youth Village, and the grounds of Esker. I thank also the nursing and care staff who bring professionalism but also joy and laughter into the lives of our elderly and sick community members.

Back in 2011 Gearoid Mulrooney began as manager in Esker.  I have relied heavily on Gearoid and thank him for his hard work, his dedication and loyalty to Esker and to all our ministries.

There is so much to be grateful for. There is so much I will miss as I leave Esker. But also, so many happy memories and blessings to carry away. Please hold me in your prayer as I will each and every one of you!

I wish the new Rector of Esker every blessing and happiness! And, please God, I look forward to visiting Esker from time to time in the years to come!

Your brother in Christ,

Brendan O’Rourke, C.Ss.R.

———-  Brendan is from Wexford town and fell in love with the sea and beautiful Wexford beaches in his boyhood years. Joined the Redemptorists in 1967, and completed his philosophy studies in Galway, his theology in Dublin. He spent 6 years in the Philippine Islands in the early days of his ministry. Worked and studied in New York for ten years where he qualified as a Psychotherapist. Brendan returned to Ireland in 1992 and has been involved in retreats to priests and religious, counselling, spiritual direction, teaching and parish missions and novenas. He spent three years as Rector of Clonard Monastery in Belfast and then 5 years as Director of the Marianella Pastoral Centre in Dublin. After that he moved to the Redemptorists in Cork City in 2008 where the community focus was primarily youth ministry. In January 2011 Brendan was elected as Vicar to the Irish Provincial of the Redemptorists,  and in the following April he was appointed as Rector of the Redemptorist Community, Esker. In January 2015 Brendan was re-appointed as Rector of Esker for a further four years.

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