Parish History

Previously part of the Baltimore Archdiocese, the growth of the church was so significant that the hierarchy perceived the need to have two separate entities to provide adequate administration. 

Holy Redeemer was established in 1911 as a Mission of the parish of St. John the Evangelist, Forest Glen, Maryland.  No history of Holy Redeemer would be complete without a brief history of St. John's, a history rich and impressive dating back over two centuries when Rev. John Carroll, S.J., said his first Mass in his mother's home in Rock Creek, or Forest Glen as the area is currently known.  All the larger homes belonging to Catholics had rooms set aside for the offering of Mass because penal laws made it illegal to erect Catholic churches.  Fr. Carroll's zealous ministry created the need for a place of worship and in 1774 the Carroll Chapel, or St. John's Chapel as it is now called, was built close to the family home.

After Fr. Carroll left St. John's, Jesuit missionaries attended until it was made a missionary church of the newly founded St. Mary's parish in Rockville in 1813.  In 1850 a new chapel was built and the building officially became "St. John's Church".  Fr. Charles Rosensteel, pastor of St. Mary's who was in charge of the Rock Creek mission, was instrumental in the construction of a new stone church near the chapel and that was completed in 1894.  In 1911 a  small church dedicated as Holy Redeemer was built on the corner of Prospect Street and Connecticut Avenue.  Fr. Joseph Kennedy took over the work of administering St. John's and caring for the  church in Kensington. a few years before the death of Fr. Charles on June 13, 1940.  Holy Redeemer was established as a separate parish on June 12, 1948, with Fr. Stephen J. Hogan appointed as first pastor.  From that day on the parish grew rapidly.  Fathers Byrne and Murphy served as resident assistants and Holy Cross and Carmelite Fathers assisted on weekends.  Sisters of St. Francis loaned from St. Bernadette's parish provided instruction for the children of the parish.

In 1950 B.F. Saul graciously donated almost 7 acres of excellent land to the parish as a memorial to his father and mother.  In May 1951 a segment of Holy Redeemer was incorporated into the newly established parish of St. Catherine Laboure.  On September 30, 1951 dedication ceremonies marked the establishment of the school, convent and auditorium.  The old property on Prospect Street was sold and the new auditorium was used as a temporary church.  The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati came to staff the school. In 1956 part of the parish was incorporated into the new parish of St. Jude and in 1960 the Garrett Park portion of Holy Redeemer was incorporated into the new parish of Holy Cross.  On April 6, 1963 Archbishop O'Boyle dedicated the new Holy Redeemer church building.  Fr. Hogan was succeeded as pastor by Monsignor E. Robert Arthur in 1958, Monsignor Leo J. Coady in 1966, Monsignor Ernest T. Gatta in 1989, Fr. Walter Lawrence in 1993 and Fr. Michael Salah served until 2008 when Fr. Mark Hughes became pastor.  Since his advent, major refurbishing of the church building, the Holy Family Chapel and the Adoration Chapel has been completed.  These major improvement allow parishioners to enjoy comfortable and aesthetically pleasing places of worship.  Additionally under Fr. Hughes' administration the playing field was completely redone equipped with night lighting thereby proviiding an excellent field of play for Holy Redeemer's many athletic activities. Today Holy Redeemer is a flourishing parish with a growing school  and CCD program and impressive participation by parishioners in many church, service and community ministries.  The parish is truly a committed and vibrant community of believers responsive to each other and the needs of the less fortunate in the area.