Father Wendel’s family has been in Most Holy Redeemer parish continuously since 1888, when his grandmother emigrated to the Lower East Side from Germany. Born in 1933, Father Wendel graduated from Most Holy Redeemer elementary school and the Lower East Side’s LaSalle High School, and later earned degrees from Saint John’s University, Catholic University in Washington, and Manhattanville College. He has taught both high school and college and served for many years as a parish priest, including six years as pastor of Most Holy Redeemer, where he has lived and worked since 1996. He has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to social justice, especially through his work on behalf of homeless men and women, those addicted to drugs, and community residents living with HIV/AIDS.
Kavanagh joins current Most Holy Redeemer Pastor, Father Charles McDonald, C.Ss.R., the parish, and the community in expressing admiration and gratitude for Father Wendel’s long service and wishing him well in the years ahead.