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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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Redemptorists ‘come home’ to Stella Maris

Last Saturday, Redemptorist priests, brothers, their families, friends and caregivers gathered to celebrate the beginning of a new ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

After years of planning and months of construction, 17 retired Redemptorists in need of skilled nursing care moved into their new home last month on the fifth floor of Stella Maris in Timonium, Md. The men living in the new St. John Neumann Residence, while no longer engaged in active ministry, remain a vital component of the Redemptorists’ missionary activities throughout the Baltimore Province and the world through their prayers and sacrifices.

“The move has gone very well; it’s a beautiful place,” said Very Rev. Gerard Szymkowiak, Redemptorist superior of the St. John Neumann Residence. “There’s great joy and great cheer. We’ve had visitors every day.”

Many of the residents arrived in Maryland from the Redemptorists’ former facility in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where they had maintained a community for 90 years. The move to Baltimore was considered something of a homecoming, however; the Redemptorists have served in the archdiocese since the 1840s.

On Saturday, the Redemptorists were joined by Very Rev. Patrick Woods, provincial of the Baltimore Province; Cardinal William Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, and Auxiliary Bishops Denis Madden and Mitchell Rozanski for a Mass celebrating the Redemptorist Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer. After the Mass, Archbishop O’Brien blessed the Neumann Residence.

During his homily, Father Woods said he was humbled by the “trust and deep sense of obedience” of his elderly confreres who made the move from New York to Baltimore.

“The men who are stationed here in Stella Maris rode horses in Brazil, fought racism in the South, spread devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help all over Florida, comforted the dying poor in the Dominican Republic, preached missions and retreats throughout the Eastern United States, forgave sins in tiny huts in the Campos of Brazil and Puerto Rico, brought the faith to children who smiled at the priests’ and brothers’ broken Spanish and Portuguese, and taught in the seminaries they built,” Father Woods said. “It is not easy to have men in their eighties and nineties, some quite sick, to leave all that is familiar to them, to leave home, as they once did as young men decades ago, and begin a new assignment. These are pioneers. They are missionaries.”

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