By Christie L. Chicoine

CS&T Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA – Redemptorist Father Kevin J. Moley, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Parish and rector of the National Shrine of St. John Neumann at Fifth Street and Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia, was recently elected provincial superior of the Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province, headquartered in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Father Moley, who has served as pastor and rector here since June 2005, will cease both duties upon his departure to the Diocese of Brooklyn the week of Jan. 17.

A native of Brooklyn, Father Moley, 67, was the provincial superior of the Baltimore Province from 2002 to 2005 and the provincial superior of the Province of San Juan from 1990 to 1996, the latter of which included Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. {{more}}

Although the Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province maintain their headquarters in Brooklyn, they have retained the name Baltimore Province to honor their beginnings as an independent province in that city in 1850.

The jurisdiction of the Baltimore Province currently includes Baltimore, Delaware, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Ohio, St. Croix of the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as the islands of Dominica, St. Lucia and Trinidad.

On Wednesday, Jan. 5, Father Moley concelebrated Mass on the feast day of St. John Neumann at the altar of St. Peter’s lower church where the remains of Philadelphia’s fourth bishop and first canonized saint are interred.

In closing remarks at the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Justin Rigali, Father Moley acknowledged the parishioners of St. Peter and all others who have worshipped at the shrine.

“It certainly has been a privilege to be the pastor of this church for the last five-and-a-half years,” said Father Moley. “It’s a church where you’re celebrating such a great man, priest and Redemptorist and bishop of the Church.”

St. John Neumann “gave himself totally to God and to God’s people,” Father Moley said. “You have to be inspired.”

Father Moley relayed to the overflow congregation St. John Neumann’s “resume” of accomplishments throughout his eight-year tenure as Bishop of the Diocese of Philadelphia from 1852-60. Among them: the establishment of the parochial school system and the building of 80 churches and 35 schools.

“He knew the pastoral urgencies of his diocese and the needs of the immigrants and of the poor, and he made sure he did something about it in taking care of God’s people,” continued Father Moley.

The Jan. 5 Mass officially opened the Neumann Jubilee Year in commemoration of the 200th birth of St. John Neumann on March 28. The Neumann Jubilee Year officially closes June 23, 2012.

On Sunday, Jan. 9, the parish Mass commemorating St. John Neumann’s

Jan. 5 death and March 28 birth was celebrated at St. Peter the Apostle Church.

A native of Bohemia, St. John Neumann was ordained a priest in 1836 and became a Redemptorist in 1842. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI on June 19, 1977.

The step where the saint collapsed before his death at age 48, near 13th and Vine Streets in Philadelphia, is displayed in the shrine museum at 1019 N. Fifth St.

Acknowledging that he was sad to leave St. Peter’s Parish, the shrine and the Philadelphia Archdiocese, Father Moley said he commiserated to Cardinal Rigali as the two were about to process into the church for the Jan. 5 Mass at St. Peter’s.

“I told him I was going through mourning because I would be leaving soon this parish and shrine to become the provincial superior,” Father Moley told the congregation.

“And he said to me very tenderly, ‘You can change that. You should put the provincial house in Philadelphia.’

“Who knows – I might just do that,” quipped Father Moley.

For more information about the National Shrine of St. John Neumann, visit or call 215-627-3080. For more information about St. Peter Parish, call the rectory at 215-627-2386.

Correspondence to Father Moley may be sent to Father Kevin J. Moley, C.Ss.R., 7509 Shore Road, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11209. He may also be reached by e-mail at or by telephone at 718-833-1900.