Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Holy Redeemer Church

August 21st, 2009, Promulgated by Choir

The story of Holy Redeemer Church on Hudson Avenue begins in 1861. The parishioners of St. Joseph’s Church organized an orphan asylum to support the congregation’s orphans.

A large parcel of land was purchased along Hudson Avenue for the orphanage, but because of conflicting diocesan laws, it was decided to erect a church-school building on the land.

The first church structure was dedicated in 1867. The present church, at the northeast corner of Hudson and Clifford Avenues was dedicated in October of 1877.

Oscar Knebel, a native of West Germany, designed Holy Redeemer in the Italian Lombard style, but with an unusual addition of a pair of Bavarian, onion-domed towers, very characteristic of the Austrian Tyrol area and Switzerland. The tower is 196 feet high.

The sumptuous stained glass windows, depicting saints and other religious events, were made in the Franz Meyer studio in Munich, Germany.

The last church organ, installed in 1947,was in the residence of the late Andrew W. Mellon, a longtime Secretary of the Treasury.

The founding priest was Rev. Fidelis Oberholzer. He served for 33 years until 1902.

One of the assistant priest, Father Francis Xavier Kunz, founded the Order of Martha in 1911. This was not an order of nuns, but of housewives. They met once a week to sew for the young priests who were doing missionary work in the sparsely settled regions of the West and Southwest. These priests had no means of purchasing the necessary altar linens and vestments required for the celebration of Mass. So, the Order of Martha worked diligently to make, in their first year, 456 piece of altar linens. In addition to sewing, they raised money by having small card parties and social events held at the members’ homes.

In July of 1922, Father Kunz was transferred to St. Francis Xavier Church on Bay Street, where he was named pastor. The Order of Martha followed him. Father Kunz died in May of 1936. While the Order of Martha keenly felt the loss of their organizer and spiritual director, they resolved to carry on for his sake. With this in mind, their crowning achievement was realized in late 1937 with the dedication of St. Francis Xavier Church in Eden, Montana. This church was built and completely furnished through the contributions and work of the local Order of Martha as a fitting memorial to Father Francis Xavier Kunz, their founder.



5 Responses to “Holy Redeemer Church”

  1. Dr. K says:

    Thank you for this information. The unique exterior of Holy Redeemer has long captured my interest. It is nice to finally see what it looked like on the inside, though I imagine it probably looks a lot different today as a Church of Christ worship site.

    Also, congratulations on the first post!

    ~Dr. K

  2. Thanks Dr. K …I got a little "click happy" and posted it prematurely. Mi dispiace.

    Does anybody have a Catholic church they would like me to write about? If so, leave a note here.

  3. Gen says:

    Beautiful stuff. Thanks.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Very informative. I enjoyed reading this piece of local DoR history. I hope these church profiles becomes a regular feature of the Cleansing Fire.

    Some possibilities for future installments:
    +St. Boniface
    +St. Theresa
    +St. John Evangelist in Greece (Didn't they used to have a Latin Mass after Vatican 2?)
    +St. Mary's in Rochester


  5. Dear Anon 7:39. I'm not aware of a Latin Mass (either Novus Ordo or Tridentine) at St. John's in Greece. We use to have Mass once a month at the old Assumption Church in Fairport. Father Leonard Kelly very willingly said Mass for us. This was in the early to mid 70s. He was a no-nonsense priest who really cared about saving souls.

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