A Chinese Catholic church and school in Chinatown and in the center city of Philadelphia. Provides ministry to all the Chinese Catholics in the vicinity of the Greater Delaware Valley in the East Coast of America.
In 1939 Bishop Paul Yu Pin, then vicar of Nanking, China, came to Philadelphia and asked Dennis Cardinal Dougherty to gather the Chinese Catholics together so that he could visit them. The Bishops were dismayed to find that there was only one Chinese Catholic family in Chinatown and a few scattered Catholics in the city.
Cardinal Dougherty appointed Father William A. Kavanagh, vice chancellor of the Archdiocese, to found a new mission in the Chinese community. Father Kavanagh gathered a group of 15 Chinese together at Benedict Hall and taught them how to make the sign of the cross. Father Kavanagh proved himself to be a tireless worker for the Chinese community and a dear friend to all, especially the children.
In October of 1939 the first 9 Chinese were baptized. By Pentecost Sunday of 1940 there were 58 converts ready for the sacrament of confirmation. The mission among the Chinese was so successful that Cardinal Dougherty used the money raised from his own jubilee along with the gifts of generous benefactors to build Holy Redeemer Church and School. On October 5, 1941 the new facility was dedicated, the first church built for the Chinese in the western hemisphere.
Holy Redeemer school was staffed by Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity until 1992. These Sisters generously taught generations of Philadelphia's Chinese community. In recent years, Capuchin Friars from St. John the Evangelist Church have provided priestly service.
Over the past two decades the Catholics from Philadelphia have been joined by new immigrants, Catholics from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam. Mass is now offered every week in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. The past decade has seen great growth at Holy Redeemer--Mass attendance has gone from about 90 people per week to more than 200; the school enrollment has increased from 165 to a capacity 250 students; and Holy Redeemer has provided many services to the Chinese community. We pray for God's renewing Spirit to guide us in the days ahead.
Copyright © 2016 Philadelphia Holy Redeemer Chinese Catholic Church and School