By 1883 it was becoming clear that an even larger cemetery would be required for Philadelphia’s German Catholics, who for nearly two generations were served by St. Peter’s Cemetery. Over the next two years, Father Joseph Wirth, pastor of St. Peter’s, managed to purchase 20 acres on the northwest side of Richmond Street in the Bridesburg section of the city. In 1887, the ground was blessed as Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery. There is a large gate at the entrance to the cemetery and a building that spans the driveway. This is the original caretaker’s house, and our current office. This building was the caretaker’s home until the 1970’s. The garage served as a stable where the horses were rested during the burials.
Originally, there was a statue of the Most Holy Redeemer on the roof of the building, with 2 angels on either side. The statue of Jesus disappeared during WWI. There is a belief that it was taken for scrap because this was a German Cemetery. The ground of the cemetery was not initially intersected by city streets. The city took the land from the cemetery when they put the streets in.
In May of 1887, Father Charles Sigl had the bodies of the eight priests and brothers who died at St. Peter or at St. Boniface since 1844 removed from the crypt in the garden at St. Peter’s to Most Holy Redeemer, where a plot was set aside for these sons of St. Alphonsus who served these two Redemptorist parishes. Scores of Redemptorists now repose in that section.
In order to keep the memory of the deceased alive, an active Purgatorian Society in honor of the Precious Blood of Our Lord was established in 1869. This confraternity enjoys the spiritual graces that flow from daily Mass at which are recalled the lives of its members.
There continues to be space available at this cemetery for new burials. Please contact our office for details.