Redemptorist News

Esker Solemn Novena, 31st May – 8th June, 2022: ‘Let us Dream’

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Solidarity with Ukraine

The Redemptorists have a strong presence across Ukraine. The Redemptorists are also actively engaged in emergency responses in Poland and Slovakia.

The Redemptorists are/have:

  1. Opened their houses, churches, and halls as shelter areas in Ukraine for fleeing and frightened families.
  2. Implementing wrap-around care programmes for families as they cross the borders from Ukraine.
  3. Supporting and assisting and hosting refugees as they cross the borders into Poland and Slovakia.
  4. Delivering tons of medical aid to five different hospitals.
  5. Opened a care centre for orphans fleeing Kharkiv.
  6. Preparing and delivering food to the elderly, disabled in their flats and to families stranded in basements in besieged cities.
  7. Established a tested corridor for delivering humanitarian assistance into Ukraine.
  8. Accompanying families and offering spiritual solace as family members go to war.

To support the Redemptorist Solidarity work with Ukraine:

Donate to: Redemptorist Solidarity Office, Scala, Castle Road, Blackrock, Cork, or online at: www.serve.ie

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STATEMENT FROM THE REDEMPTORISTS

It is with immense regret and after lengthy consideration that we must announce a decision to bring our mission at Esker Monastery to a close. The Redemptorists first came to Esker in 1901 and since then have experienced and valued immense support from the people of the locality and beyond.

We appointed independent consultants to examine the future direction of the Esker Monastery in 2019, after a decision was taken at a Chapter of the Dublin Province ‘to investigate the pastoral, legal, planning, contractual and all other relevant issues with a view to deciding the future of the Esker site by the end of April 2021.

The final outcome of this consultation process was that we could no longer maintain a presence at Esker, leading to this most difficult announcement.

 We have informed our staff of the decision and we take this opportunity to thank them and all who have gone before for their commitment to our mission, as well as their friendship and support over so many decades.

 We have informed all those who have supported our ministry here at Esker of our decision in recent days and we thank them for contributing in various ways to making Esker such a special place.

 We Redemptorists take such fond memories from Esker, of wonderful times in such a special place, but we regretfully must face the realities of the present day and plan accordingly for the future.

We plan to withdraw from Esker by the end of November 2022 and we will make final decisions on how we will dispose of the property in the coming months.

Historical Note:

The 17th century

Esker has been a monastic settlement since the late seventeenth century when Dominican friars settled there following their ‘eviction’ from Athenry. The friars ran a hedge school at Brusk (500m from the present Redemptorist lands at Esker) up until the early 1690s. The school was attended by over 300 students from all parts of the country and they, and the friars, lived in huts in the woods. The school was closed in 1691. In 1698 all friars were banished from Ireland, but it appears that two of the Dominicans, on account of their advanced years, were exempted from the general exile.

The 18th century

The Dominican community in Ireland was bolstered by the return of three Dominican fathers from Spain in 1707 and, a few years later, from Louvain. The friars were able to rent a solitary spot in Esker, where they built a small cabin in a place now known as ‘The (Hazel)nut Field’. In 1715, an accidental fire having destroyed their dwelling, they moved to Esker na pay (of the cows), the site of the current Redemptorist Monastery, where they built a house.

The 19th century and Famine links     

The links between Esker and the Irish famine of the 1840s are both direct and strong.  The Rev. Dr. Peter Smyth OP became sub-Prior in Esker from 1824 and, two years later, he opened a ‘free school’, eventually attended by 600 poor children. He was Prior of Esker from 1843-53. He was largely responsible for a new church and convent at Esker on which work began about 1838.

The year 1847 was the worst year of the Great Famine. Father Smyth’s most ambitious school was the ‘College of St Dominick’ which opened in

1847 to teach both agriculture and letters and to generally provide advanced education for better-off Catholics.  Fr. Smyth died at Esker on 6 June 1861.

The Arrival of the Redemptorists

The first Redemptorists to Ireland arrived in Limerick in 1851 in the direct aftermath of the Great Famine.

Fr. Patrick O’Donnell’s informative booklet, entitled ‘The Story of Esker’, describes the period from 1857 (the closure of St. Dominic’s College) to 1893 when the last Dominican, Fr. Eustace “left the convent of Esker and with him the last Dominican was removed from that monastic building”. The principal reason given in the text was that “Esker had been a heavy financial burden [to the Dominicans] for a number of years.” The Dominican Convent (as it was called) was given to Clonfert Diocese in August 1893.

In 1901, Clonfert Diocese sold Esker to the Redemptorists, and in 1901-03 the main house was demolished, and the new Monastery was built.

The 20th century

When Esker was acquired by the Redemptorists in 1901. Its main apostolate was as to act as a centre for Parish Mission in the West of Ireland and as a house of Formation. The Redemptorist students left Esker in 1940 for Cluain Mhuire, the newly built house of studies in Galway and Esker  was designated as the Novitiate for the Irish Province, In 1949, an extension was built to what is now the Retreat House to facilitate the growing numbers entering the Congregation. In 1970 the Esker novitiate was closed and the building converted for use as a Retreat Centre which was in regular use until recently.

A major initiative was taken at Esker in the early 1990s in relation to the unused farm buildings. As recounted in a book by Fr Brendan Mc Convery C.Ss.R., “Esker converted some buildings in its disused farmyard into a ‘Youth village’ with accommodation for school groups during term time and for other groups of young people including those from abroad, during the summer holidays”. This development of Youth Village 2000 was a fruitful enterprise, and led to the development of a very successful Youth Ministry led by a specialist team. The covid pandemic impacted seriously on the Retreat and youth ministries in Esker.

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Esker Church Schedule & Esker Annual Novena May 31st to June 8th 2022.

Our Annual Nine day Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help will thankfully be  held in person this year.  It will commence May 31st and end on June 8th.  There will be six sessions per day.  8am, 10am, 4pm, 6pm & 8pm.  Please spread the word.  Regretfully this is will be the final novena held at Esker as the Redemptorists will be leaving on November 30th 2022.

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Weekday masses – Monday to Friday  8am & 10am  Retreat House Chapel

Saturday in the main Church at 8am & 10am.   

Sunday in the main Church 8am & 11am.

Mass v the Webcam weekdays at 10am and the 11am on Sundays.

Retreat House Chapel is OPEN for private prayer from the hours of 10.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday and Saturday in the main Church.  Sunday the Church will be closed after the 11am Mass. 

People are invited to come and pray privately.   Monastery Shop is now open from 10am – 1pm Monday to Saturday.   Call  091 -844007 if you need speak to reception. 

Statement from the Redemptorists- Closure of Esker November 2022

It is with immense regret and after lengthy consideration that we must announce a decision to bring our mission at Esker Monastery to a close. The Redemptorists first came to Esker in 1901 and since then have experienced and valued immense support from the people of the locality and beyond.

We appointed independent consultants to examine the future direction of the Esker Monastery in 2019, after a decision was taken at a Chapter of the Dublin Province ‘to investigate the pastoral, legal, planning, contractual and all other relevant issues with a view to deciding the future of the Esker site by the end of April 2021.  

The final outcome of this consultation process was that we could no longer maintain a presence at Esker, leading to this most difficult announcement.  

We have informed our staff of the decision and we take this opportunity to thank them and all who have gone before for their commitment to our mission, as well as their friendship and support over so many decades.  

We have informed all those who have supported our ministry here at Esker of our decision in recent days and we thank them for contributing in various ways to making Esker such a special place.  

We Redemptorists take such fond memories from Esker, of wonderful times in such a special place, but we regretfully must face the realities of the present day and plan accordingly for the future.  

We plan to withdraw from Esker by the end of November 2022 and we will make final decisions on how we will dispose of the property in the coming months. 

Historical Note:   

The 17th century  - Esker has been a monastic settlement since the late seventeenth century when Dominican friars settled there following their ‘eviction’ from Athenry. The friars ran a hedge school at Brusk (500m from the present Redemptorist lands at Esker) up until the early 1690s. The school was attended by over 300 students from all parts of the country and they, and the friars, lived in huts in the woods. The school was closed in 1691. In 1698 all friars were banished from Ireland, but it appears that two of the Dominicans, on account of their advanced years, were exempted from the general exile.

The 18th century- The Dominican community in Ireland was bolstered by the return of three Dominican fathers from Spain in 1707 and, a few years later, from Louvain. The friars were able to rent a solitary spot in Esker, where they built a small cabin in a place now known as ‘The (Hazel)nut Field’. In 1715, an accidental fire having destroyed their dwelling, they moved to Esker na pay (of the cows), the site of the current Redemptorist Monastery, where they built a house.

The 19th century and Famine links  - The links between Esker and the Irish famine of the 1840s are both direct and strong.  The Rev. Dr. Peter Smyth OP became sub-Prior in Esker from 1824 and, two years later, he opened a ‘free school’, eventually attended by 600 poor children. He was Prior of Esker from 1843-53. He was largely responsible for a new church and convent at Esker on which work began about 1838.

The year 1847 was the worst year of the Great Famine. Father Smyth’s most ambitious school was the ‘College of St Dominick’ which opened in  1847 to teach both agriculture and letters and to generally provide advanced education for better-off Catholics.  Fr. Smyth died at Esker on 6 June 1861.

The Arrival of the Redemptorists

The first Redemptorists to Ireland arrived in Limerick in 1851 in the direct aftermath of the Great Famine.

Fr. Patrick O’Donnell’s informative booklet, entitled ‘The Story of Esker’, describes the period from 1857 (the closure of St. Dominic’s College) to 1893 when the last Dominican, Fr. Eustace “left the convent of Esker and with him the last Dominican was removed from that monastic building”. The principal reason given in the text was that “Esker had been a heavy financial burden [to the Dominicans] for a number of years.” The Dominican Convent (as it was called) was given to Clonfert Diocese in August 1893. In 1901, Clonfert Diocese sold Esker to the Redemptorists, and in 1901-03 the main house was demolished, and the new Monastery was built.

The 20th century  -  When Esker was acquired by the Redemptorists in 1901. Its main apostolate was as to act as a centre for Parish Mission in the West of Ireland and as a house of Formation. The Redemptorist students left Esker in 1940 for Cluain Mhuire, the newly built house of studies in Galway and Esker  was designated as the Novitiate for the Irish Province, In 1949, an extension was built to what is now the Retreat House to facilitate the growing numbers entering the Congregation. In 1970 the Esker novitiate was closed and the building converted for use as a Retreat Centre which was in regular use until recently.

A major initiative was taken at Esker in the early 1990s in relation to the unused farm buildings. As recounted in a book by Fr Brendan Mc Convery C.Ss.R., “Esker converted some buildings in its disused farmyard into a ‘Youth village’ with accommodation for school groups during term time and for other groups of young people including those from abroad, during the summer holidays”. This development of Youth Village 2000 was a fruitful enterprise, and led to the development of a very successful Youth Ministry led by a specialist team. The covid pandemic impacted seriously on the Retreat and youth ministries in Esker.

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And remember, at all times, the primary ‘church’ is your own home, and also out in nature, in God’s wonderful creation, God’s ‘cathedral’,  all around us. There, you can pray, alone or as family, any time, and in any place. Use this difficult but blessed time to learn again to pray together as a family, and personally,  even in the littlest ways. Be with us online for Masses, on this website www.eskerreds.ie, and Webcam.

When you pray some where, some time, then you can pray any where, any time!

Let your friends know that they can easily find us now on www.eskerreds.ie, and then clicking on WEBCAM button on the right: You can also send messages or prayer-requests to info@eskerreds.ie. For Mass at the times mentioned, click on Webcam button on the right, on the home page. When you go to webcam, it brings you to Churchservices.tv: here you can join us live, or you can scroll down and join by a recording of an earlier Mass, at any time. You can also join us on Facebook Redemptorists Esker. 

Donations in support of Esker: As with everyone else, Esker is struggling financially at this time. Your support for Esker is greatly appreciated. You can make a contribution by clicking on the Donate button on the Home page, and following the steps. Míle Buíochais! Or place an offering in the Donation box at the back of the Church, when you are visiting.

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A few images that may lift your hearts:

From the corridor in Esker Monastery

 

 

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

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’:

AN ACT OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION:   From Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, by St. Alphonsus Liguori:

My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I desire to possess you within my soul. Since I am unable now to receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as being already there, and unite myself wholly to you: never permit me to be separated from you. 

A Íosa, creidim go bhfuil tú I láthair go fíor san Naoimh Shacramint. Gráim thú ós cionne 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 mar go bhfuilir ann cheanna féin, agus aontaím mé féin leat go h-iomlán. Ná lig dom go brách a bheith scartha Uait. AMEN.

 

'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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St. Gerard Majella & Esker:- Join us on-line, 8pm, Mon.12th to Wed.14th Oct.

St. Gerard’s Feast day is October 16th. In preparation for his feast, we will have, in Esker, a celebration (on-line) in his honour at 8pm for the three days, Monday October 12th to Wednesday October 14th.  St. Gerard is so much part of Esker and of the Esker story. Countless couples have come for the blessing of St. Gerard’s relic, for over one hundred years. Names of Redemptorists like Fr. Tom Creagh, Fr. Sean Foley, and others, are associated with the blessing of the saint’s relic. So many come back to give thanks for the birth of a baby, when they had practically given up hope of conceiving.

We give thanks for St. Gerard’s work, still: he is Patron of Mothers and of expectant Mothers – he is patron of families. Join us for these three evenings of reflection and prayer, in his honour.

St Gerard Majella, pray for us all, at this time.

(See Carousel for details of the St. Gerard’s Annual Novena, on-line, from St. Joseph’s Dundalk, from October 8th to 16th. )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coping with Anxiety: a prayer for any time

St. Francis de Sales, bishop of Geneva in the late 1500′s, was a man of great compassion and gentleness of spirit. Amongst his writings, we find this prayer that has helped many people over the ages: it may help you in this anxious time: copy it for yourself. 

 

 

“Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then. Put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.”
St. Francis de Sales

 

(Copy for yourself or others)

 

 

 

 

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Prayer to St. Michael, the ArchAngel

Pope Leo XIII composed this prayer in the 1890′s, as he foresaw great attacks upon the Church and the Christian faith. Pope Francis, in September of 2018, invited Catholics to pray this prayer during the month of October of that year, along with the Rosary: he rightly sensed a great attack upon the Church, both from within with the scandals and sins of Church members, and from without from foes opposed to Christ and Christianity, across the world. Christ and his message are being hounded today, like never before, worldwide. St. Michael (Micha-El) is a messenger of God (‘El’): Michael’s name means ‘Who like God?’, ‘Quis ut Deus?’.  God is in charge. God conquers the Evil One. We pray for courage and bravery, today.

PRAYER TO ST. MICHAEL:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. .

 

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Congratulations to three Diamond Jubilarians in Esker, Sept. 25th, 2020

On Friday, September 25th, three members of our Esker Redemptorist Community celebrated sixty years of their Ordination to the Priesthood, on Sept. 25, 1960. They are Fr. John Corbett C.Ss.R., a native of Athenry: Fr. Phil Hearty C.Ss.R., a native of Dundalk, and Fr. Richard Tobin C.Ss.R., a native of Dublin.

Fr. John spent all of his priestly life in Ireland. Fr. Phil spent many years in Brazil, and has served in the parish of Lusmagh in the Clonfert diocese for the past fourteen years, until recently. Fr. Richard spent some early years in the Philippines, and has worked as a parish missioner in most parts of Ireland.

We wish them every blessing on this great milestone in their service of the people of God, and wish them every blessing and health in the years ahead. Rath Dé oath!

Fr. John Corbett C.Ss.R.

 

Fr. Phil Hearty C.Ss.R.Fr.Richard Tobin, C.Ss.R.

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‘Gospel Reflection’ – ‘Lectio Divina’ –

 

 

'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'.

 

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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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)

ALPHONSUS, A MAN ON FIRE

“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..)

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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 vocations@redemptorists.ie. ‘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.’

seamus.devitt@redemptorists.ie, Esker Monastery, Athenry.

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