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Those who think you can only find gospel music at Baptist churches haven’t been to Holy Redeemer, a Catholic church located at 1819 Nevada Street on San Antonio’s East Side.

I started going to Holy Redeemer back in the 1980s whenever I needed a spirit boost. The choir, backed by an amazing band and organist, would process into the church singing “Hosanna, blessed be the rock of my salvation,” and you could feel the energy. When a woman by the name of Mrs. Ferguson (since deceased) sang, goosebumps would spring up over my entire body. I once brought a friend who grew up in Sweden to Mass at Holy Redeemer, and she turned to me and thanked me halfway through the service. Pow-er-ful.

Mrs. Ferguson may be gone, but Holy Redeemer is in good hands. An all-girls choir performed at the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass I attended, directed by Richard Castillo, a piano performance major at the University of the Incarnate Word. I didn’t see Richard from where I was sitting, but I assumed he was Black. I was wrong. He just plays like he’s Black. The guy knows gospel, and he rules the piano.

Holy Redeemer just celebrated its 100th anniversary, and my most recent visit was the first time I’d been in their new sanctuary. That’s sad because it opened in April 2006. The old church now serves as the narthex for the new sanctuary, and the parish is going to undertake a capital campaign this year to preserve the antique structure. Fr. Kevin P. Fausz, the pastor, welcomes all donations.

In fact, you are cordially invited to Holy Redeemer’s Annual Juneteenth Reunion Picnic at Comanche Park #2 on Saturday, June 15, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Bar-B-Q plates with all the trimmings will only set you back $6, and the church will receive $4 for every ticket sold. Contact Michael Jackson, event chairman, at (210) 254-2853 for more information.

Fausz, a gifted speaker, is very hands-on. He ventured off of the altar and into the parishioners to deliver his sermon. My favorite quote: “It is important to know who we are. It is more important to know whose we are. Everything we do should be shaped by love.”

After Mass, parishioners and visitors were invited to the Parish Hall to enjoy birthday cake and coffee. Fr. Fausz wasn’t pleased that the cake decorator had misspelled the name of the church. Instead of Holy Redeemer, it read Hole Redeemer. I think the decorator just forgot to add the accent mark over the e. It should have read Holé Redeemer. After all, it’s not every day that you turn 100. ¡Olé!

Masses at Holy Redeemer are 9 a.m., Tuesdays through Fridays; Saturdays at 5 p.m.; and Sundays at 9 a.m. and noon.