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Register of the Records of



0.5 ft.

MSS 30


In 1939, an exiled Chinese Archbishop, the Most Reverend Paul Yu Pin, Vicar Apostolic of Chung-king, visited the rectory of St. John the Evangelist Church and expressed his desire to speak to the Chinese of Philadelphia about the current events in their homeland.  To the pastor of St. John's, Monsignor Francis X. Wastl, this request posed the great problem of assembling the Chinese.  Msgr. Wastl contacted the Sisters of the Holy Trinity who were, at that time, doing missionary work in Chinatown.  He asked them to alert the people of Chinatown to the opportunity of hearing Bishop Yu Pin speak and also to make a survey of the Chinese Catholics in the area.  This survey revealed that there were very few Chinese Catholics.

Despite the extensive efforts of the missionaries, progress in converting the Chinese to Catholicism was extremely slow.  Through one of the missionaries, the Very Reverend William A. Kavanagh, Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese, heard of this problem and decided to help solve it.  However, in order to begin this work, he needed the permission of His Eminence Dennis Cardinal Dougherty.  Cardinal Dougherty, in addition to giving his permission to begin this work, gave Msgr. Kavanagh his permission to speak in his name when raising funds and seeking assistance.  Cardinal Dougherty's support was one of the most important factors leading to the founding of the Holy Redeemer Chinese Catholic Church and its school.

The present structures of Holy Redeemer were dedicated on October 15, 1941.  Holy Redeemer, located at 915 Vine Street, is a succorsial, or mission, church of the parish of St. John the Evangelist, which is located at 13th Street above Chestnut.  It is administered by the pastor of St. John's.  The church, its school, and its neighborhood works have been hailed as giving new dignity to residents of a long neglected community.


The records of Holy Redeemer Chinese Catholic Church were given to the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies by that organization in 1975.


This collection, originally housed in two scrapbooks, consists of photographs, newspaper clippings; programs, invitations and announcements relating to various church and school functions; the personal correspondence of the contributors to these scrapbooks; and many other miscellaneous items.  Most of the material dates from the 1940's and 50's, but there is also material from the 1930's, 1960's and 1970's.

Photographs taken from this collection are now housed in Photo Group 120.

The box list of the Register of the Records of the Holy Redeemer Chinese Catholic Church is nine pages long.