Esker ‘Gospel Reflection’ – ‘Lectio Divina’ – Thursdays 8pm, on Zoom



'St Mary of the Mountains' - an image very sacred to St. Alphonsus, and to every Redemptorist: she holds the Child in one arm, and the Book of the Scriptures in the other, and she is 'pondering these things in her heart'.

Esker Gospel Reflection: a group of people gathers each Thursday to reflect on the Gospel for the following Sunday.  The meeting takes place through Zoom (video-conference) on Thursday evenings, at 20:00 (GMT+1) and lasts a little more than an hour.  If you would like to participate, please contact us at, or phone (353) (0)91 844007.

Known also as ‘Lectio Divina’, this reflection together on the Word of God for the following Sunday, helps us to go deeper into the Word, and to hear how it speaks to any one of us. Tell your friends.

We ponder, we weigh, the Word made flesh who dwells among us to the end of time.

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Esker Church is open ! – or Join us daily on-line!

Esker Church is open again for Mass each weekday at 1oam:  capacity is 23 people. On Sundays, it is open for Mass at 11am, with capacity at 30 people. The Front Office is open daily, Monday to Saturday, from 10.30 to 12noon. The Church is open for visits, from 12 noon to 2pm, Monday to Saturday. It is not open on Sundays after the 11am Mass. Thank you for your understanding. 

You can join us daily ON-LINE at this website, for Sunday Mass at 11am, and for Weekday Masses at 10am. Let your friends know that they can easily find us now on, and can send messages or prayer-requests to For Mass at the times mentioned, click on Webcam button on the right, on the home page. 

A Message from Fr. Brendan Callanan C.Ss.R., the Rector in Esker.


Dear Friends,

We are living in a very unusual time. The pandemic is presenting unprecedented challenges to us all. Consequently, we have to take a number of precautions to help diminish the threat of the coronavirus.

We re-opened the church on the 6th of July for the celebration of Mass. I am very grateful to those who have come to church to pray and/or participate in the Eucharist. I am grateful also for your cooperation with the stewards.

Our church is relatively small and, for that reason, we can only accommodate 23 people in the body of the church. Courtesy of our arrangement with Church Services TV, you can join us on-line for our Mass each day by logging on to our website and clicking on the webcam to follow Mass live at the appropriate time (Monday to Saturday at 10.00am and Sunday at 11.00am)


I wish to remind you of some guidelines, which we all need to follow, to help make Esker Church a safe place for everyone and to enable us to keep the church open for daily Mass.

On Arrival you are asked to give your name. This is solely for tracing purposes, if that becomes necessary.

Sanitizer: please sanitize your hands as you enter and leave the church. Sanitizer is available in the porch.

The wearing of a mask is now a requirement in closed spaces.

Distancing: it is important to keep the required distance from others. This is why, on arrival in the church, the steward will show you to one of the designated places to sit for Mass, and after Mass will also guide you leaving the church. Physical distancing is important outside the church as well.

Face Covering: we encourage you to use a face covering when you are in the church. This helps us to protect one another.

Communion: to receive communion please remain in your place. The Eucharistic Minister will approach you. When you extend your arm, the sacred host will be placed on the palm of your hand. Communion will not be placed on the tongue.

At end of the Celebration: The steward will guide people, beginning at the back of the church, as they leave the church. If you wish to light a candle, please remain in your place and wait for the steward to guide you to the candelabra.

Novena Petitions/Thanksgivings: It has been strongly recommended not to leave pens or paper on the altar rails. The suggestion, then, is that you write your petition/thanksgiving at home and place it in the petition box when you come to church. I understand that this is an inconvenience but appreciate your cooperation in the matter. Alternatively, you can send your petition/thanksgiving by clicking here on,  or just click on ‘Pray with Us‘ at the top of this page, and entering your petition/thanksgiving prayer. Continue to send in your prayer requests, all the time. Thanks.

Donations: There is no basket collection during Mass but there is a donation box at the back of the church where you can give your contributions. On our website, there is also a DONATE button and it is possible for you to make a contribution that way. We are very grateful for any support you can give.

May God bless each and every one of us.

Fr. Brendan Callanan C.Ss.R., August 7th, 2020.





The Mass Schedule is as follows:

MASS  on weekdays, 10am , Monday to Saturday.  (On Saturday, Novena Prayers will be included).

MASS on Sundays, at 8am and 11am, in the church.

You are asked to arrive in good time, so that proper protocols may be observed, as required in this time of Covid 19. We appreciate your cooperation in all of this.

There are twenty three (23) spaces in the Church.  This is a relatively small number, but we are conscious of the continuing importance of physical distancing , – two metres at present.



LIVE-STREAMING OF MASS DAILY FROM ESKER –  Weekdays at 10am, Sundays at 11am.  

On opening the Esker website, you will find a button on the top right corner  - ‘Webcam’.

Click on the Web-Cam button on the right, to participate in our daily Mass, or, alternatively, find us on

We would be happy to hear from you by email, to let us know how you find it. You can also send in petitions and intentions for prayer.  Thanks.

SUPPORTING ESKER:  You can now donate securely to the upkeep of our Church and Monastery using a credit card. Simply click on the Donate Now button on this front page,  and choose the amount you want to donate. You will be guided through the steps.

ESKER 2020 ANNUAL NOVENA DATES:  September 1st to 9th, inclusive.  If you can’t come to the Novena, the Novena can come to you! Join us online.   We have not forgotten you, and we hope you will join in with us for this great event.  

Meantime, ESKER CHURCH is open daily, Monday to Saturday, from 12noon to 2pm, for people to visit and pray.  It will be Closed on Sundays, from after the 11am Mass.  Social distancing – 2 metres apart – is to be observed.  Please use the sanitisers that are available

The SHOP is opened now, Monday to Saturday, from 10.30 until 12noon.

The Monastery and the Walks  remain closed until further notice.

The Grounds and the Pitch & Putt Course remain closed until further notice.

REDEMPTORISTINE NUNS in Drumcondra, Dublin:  You can find them on, and follow Mass from there, daily, if you wish.


A few images that may lift your hearts:

From the corridor in Esker Monastery











               When you cannot receive Holy Communion physically, you can say this prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori, from his Visits to the Blessed Sacrament:

SPIRITUAL COMMUNION:   ‘ My Jesus, I believe that You art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You were already there, I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You; permit not that I should ever be separated from You.    Amen.

God bless and protect us all, at this time. Go bhfóire Dia orainn ! Dia linn, ló ‘gus oiche!

'The Madonna of Ireland' - in a church in Gyor in Hungary since 1652. Linked to the then-Bishop of Clonfert, Walter Lynch. (Photo adapted by S. Devitt C.Ss.R.)



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Pre Marriage Weekends: 2021 dates, – le cúnamh Dé!








Please pass the word about this and other Pre-Marriage weekends, planned for Esker in 2021.

We are planning for  PRE-MARRIAGE WEEKENDS in 2021:  Please God, we will be able to go ahead with them:  

Dates for 2021:

Pre-Marriage Dates as follows, for 2021:   15/17th    January,   2/4th April,    11/13th   June,       and     1st/3rd October


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

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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When you cannot receive Communion…

The Chapel of the Benedictine Nuns in Kylemore: photo S. Devitt

When you cannot actually receive Holy Communion, you can make a prayer of Spiritual Communion: you can express the longing that is in you to be united completely with Christ.   We can say a prayer of Spiritual Communion, such as this one by St. Alphonsus, founder of the Redemptorists: it’s in his ‘Visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament’:

My Jesus, I believe that You art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You were already there, I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You; permit not that I should ever be separated from You.    Amen.

AS GAEILGE:  ‘A Íosa, mo Thiarna, creidim go bhfuilir i láthair go fíor san Naomh Shacraimint. Gráim Thú os cionn chuile nidh faoin spéir, agus is mian liom go mbeifeá agam istigh i m’anam. Cé nach féidir liom Thú a ghlacadh anois go sacraimintiúil,   ar a laighead tar chugam go spioradálta isteach i mo chroí. Fáiltím romhat amhail is go bhfuilir ann cheanna féin. Agus aontaím mé féin leat go h-iomlán. Ná lig dom go brách a bheith scartha Uait. 

There is a beautiful song on YouTube, ‘There is a longing in my heart, O Lord…’. Listen to it here, and watch the words on screen.

A song that many young people love, ‘All of me loves all of you’ by John Legend, is his own composition to his bride for his wedding day, some few years ago. So many of the words can speak of the Eucharist, as well – words of self-giving, and of mutual love. I often use it with young people, after Holy Communion. ‘I give my all to you, you give your all to me…’  ’All of me loves all of you, all of you loves all of me.’    John Legend produced and played the lead part in ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar’, the show, about two years ago.

Wherever you are, and however you are, you can always walk in the presence of the Lord Jesus. He is the Vine, and we are the Branches… and we are all ‘one person in Christ’! He is within. At any time of day or night, you can go into the room of your heart, close the door, and be with your heavenly Father in that place. God is nearer to us than we are to ourselves.

Séamus Devitt C.Ss.R.



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