CHURCH OF THE MOST HOLY REDEEMER
In 1929, on the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Charlottetown, Bishop Louis J. O’Leary invited the Redemptorist Fathers to establish a foundation in Charlottetown and minister to the spiritual needs of the people living in the west end of the city. It was a young dynamic Father Joseph McGreel, CSsR. who was appointed by his Provincial Superior to assume the task of the pastor of this new parish on Prince Edward Island. Within ten days of his arrival, Father McGreel completed a house-to-house census of the 250 families living within the boundaries of the new parish. Six weeks later, the excavation for a basement church which would accommodate 600 people was begun at the corner of Upper Queen and Bayfield Streets. The Church was opened with the celebration of Midnight Mass at Christmas 1929.
From its very beginning, Holy Redeemer was destined to become a very closely-knit, spiritually motivated and socially active parish community. A parcel of land a short distance from the church was acquired and used in summer months for tennis courts and in the winter season as an outdoor skating facility. It was a marvelous recreational site for both children and adults and remained in use until the 1950’s.
The Island’s first credit union, The Liguorian, was established as a parish credit union in 1936. Over the years, many clubs and societies have been formed and have become a part of Parish history. Among these were: the Altar Society, Holy Name Society, Liguorian Players Drama Club, Liguorian Youth Club, Foreign Mission Society, Teen-A-Club, Catholic Women’s League, Knights of Columbus, Legion of Mary, Blue Army, Brownies and Girl Guides, Wolf Cubs and Boy Scouts, and R.C.I.A.
It was realized in the early 1960’s that the basement church could no longer accommodate the growth taking place in this part of the city and plans were made to build a new church on land acquired on Spring Park Road. In July 1964, our beautiful new church and rectory designed by one of our parishioners, Alfred J. Hennessy, was officially opened. It is a most devotional church with all lines pointing to the altar of sacrifice where Christ daily becomes sacramentally present among us in the celebration of Holy Mass. This church will seat approximately 1,000 people.
A parish, much like an individual, will in the course of its life experience both joy and sorrow. For our Parish, the first real cause of distress was the announcement that the Redemptorists would be departing in June 1975. We had come to love these holy men of God for the zeal and dedication which they had given to our parish community for nearly half a century. We shall long remember them for their outstanding Missions, beautiful Tridua, Retreats and other spiritual exercises. We shall always be grateful to them for introducing the Devotions to Our Mother of Perpetual Help in our parish in the very early 1930’s
It was quite evident with the arrival of our first Diocesan Pastor, Father Eddie Steele, that we had “merely changed the guard” and would be well looked after in future years by the priests of this Diocese whose reputation for holiness and leadership is known throughout the Nation. It was with the initiative and guidance of Father Steele that our Parish Centre on Pond Street was built in the late 1970’s. In the past twenty-one years, six different pastors and numerous assistant pastors have served us well, and we have been blessed by all who have come to work and live among us. We are indebted, also, to the Sisters of the Congregations of Notre Dame and St. Martha for the exceptional dedication of their Sisters who assist the Pastor on a daily basis in conducting the affairs of the parish.
As we journey on as The People of God, may our Most Holy Redeemer continue to bless us each and everyone, for “With Him There Is Plentiful Redemption”.