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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Monthly Archives: August 2009

A funeral Mass was celebrated Aug. 29 at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston for Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy. The church, commonly known as Mission Church, was founded by Redemptorist priests in 1871 to serve the growing population of German and Irish immigrants. Since its beginnings, Mission Church has continued its ministry to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ, in particular to the poor and most abandoned members of society.

The basilica is dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus, under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. A copy of the original, ancient icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help hangs in Mission Church, and in all Redemptorist churches. The Redemptorists have spread devotion to Mary under this title since 1866, and thousands have found comfort in prayer before her image.

"People come here because they don’t feel alone," said Redemptorist Father Philip Dabney, associate pastor of Mission Church. "There’s a certain presence here; some people call it the umbrella of comfort."

Sen. Kennedy was one such visitor who came seeking solace and help at Mission Church. That experience prompted the Kennedys to ask the Redemptorists for the use of Mission Church for the senator’s funeral.

"Sen. Kennedy had prayed at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help for other family members in their illnesses and for himself," said Very Rev. Patrick Woods, provincial of the Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province, which includes Mission Church. "Redemptorist Fathers Raymond Collins, pastor of Mission Church, and Philip Dabney approved the request to hold the funeral Mass at Mission and to offer pastoral support and comfort to the Kennedy family at this time in their lives. I am most grateful for the pastoral sensitivity of our confreres at Mission. May the Lord grant Sen. Kennedy eternal rest and peace, and may the Lord bring his gentle healing to all who mourn his passing."

For more information about the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also known as Mission Church, visit


For decades, the Redemptorists have worked the hills and valleys between Lancaster and Reading, planting the seeds of plentiful redemption among generations of families in eastern Pennsylvania. This summer, a small band of Redemptorists began a new chapter in this continuing story.

On August 3, friends, caregivers and fellow Redemptorists gathered at Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church in Ephrata to celebrate the beginning of a new ministry for six retired Redemptorist priests and brothers. The men are the first residents of a new assisted living space at St. Clement’s Mission House, just down the street from the church in Ephrata.

During evening prayer and benediction, the Redemptorists celebrated the start of their new ministry, which will be one of prayer for their brothers who continue to actively serve the needy in and around Ephrata. Very Rev. Alfred Bradley, vicar provincial, noted that the Redemptorists were responsible for founding many of the Catholic communities that exist today in that part of southeastern Pennsylvania. He called Ephrata a place “where the faith has been handed on from generation to generation to generation.”

After the prayer service, Father Bradley joined Very Rev. Patrick McGarrity, Redemptorist superior of St. Clement’s, and Msgr. William Waltersheid, secretary for clergy and consecrated life for the Diocese of Harrisburg, to bless the new assisted living quarters. The Redemptorists living there will be assisted by three Missionary Sisters of St. Benedict who cared for many of the men who relocated from the Redemptorists’ former facility in Saratoga Springs, NY.