Who Are the Redemptorists?
Before the Redemptorist Fathers and Brothers came to Brooklyn, they came to stay in Manhattan in 1841, when Father Gabriel Rumpler and two Brothers were asked to staff St. Nicholas Church on East 2nd Street, in today's East Village. It was the Catholic parish in New York for German immigrants. In 1844 they built a new church for the new parish of the Most Holy Redeemer, on East 3rd Street.
The Redemptorists came to stay in Brooklyn in 1892 -- quite possibly walking across the brand new Brooklyn Bridge to get here.
Their founder, St. Alphonsus Liguori, was born in Naples, Italy in 1696, the son of a royal navy captain and a devout mother. Against the wishes of his family he left a promising legal career and became a priest. A1phonsus dedicated himself completely to the service of the poor and most abandoned, and in 1732 founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists).
St. Alphonsus' picture appears on the right.
He and several followers adopted a style of ministry to "mission among the people." Redemptorists traveled to rural and isolated communities sharing the word of God and living among the poor.
Many turned to Alphonsus for guidance because of his simple style. He insisted that Redemptorist preaching be down-to-earth so that the faith could be accessible to all regardless of social, cultural, or educational background. Redemptorist missions began in the countryside outside of Naples, and gradually expanded into central Italy, Poland, Germany, and the rest of Europe including Russia.
In 1832, six Redemptorists traveled to America and began their first missionary work outside of Europe. They initially worked with Native Americans, and then began ministering to Irish, German, and Slavic immigrants.
In 1900 Redemptorists from New York and Boston traveled to Puerto Rico to help establish parishes there. In 1930 they did the same in Brazil.
Wherever they go they bring the icon of Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Part of their mission is to make her known and to lead people to have confidence in her love and her intercession.
For more information about the Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province, visit redemptorists.net.