The Meaning of the Redemptorist Cross


The Redemptorist Cross with the Redemptorist coat of arms created in 1738

(Brazil) – The Cross is one of the pillars of the Redemptorist spirituality, together with the Nativity, the Eucharist, and Mary. These representations of the mission and the vocation of the Redemptorist Congregation are highlighted in some symbols, such as the Redemptorist shield or crest, the Redemptorist cross, the Redemptorist habit, among others.

Among these symbols, we will highlight the Redemptorist Cross which is used on several occasions.

The history of the Cross

The cross is a sign used in many cultures and religions, but its definition has taken on a new meaning from the crucifixion of Jesus.

In Christianity there are several crosses, such as the anchored, Latin, Greek, of St. Peter, Pontifical, of baptism, Tau, of Jerusalem, Malta, St. George, St. Andrew, among others. All refer to Jesus Christ and his death and often indicate a historical relationship, such as the cross of Saint Peter, which is reversed because the apostle asked to be crucified upside down, so as not to feel worthy to die like his Master.

For the Redemptorists, the cross represents Redemption. For St. Alphonsus, the founder of the congregation, it was his devotion to the mystery of the Incarnation (Crib), to the Mystery of the Passion and Death (Cross) and to the mystery of the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist (Tabernacle) and in Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

The first symbol of the Redemptorists was the shield (or a coat of arms), which was created by his brother Vito Curzio, in 1738, six years after the foundation of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. The Redemptorist Cross follows the symbolism of this shield.

Father Lucas Emanuel, the vocation promoter, explains what the Redemptorist cross contains:

“In it, we do not have Christ on the cross, because it is the Cross of Redemption. In addition to the cross, we have the instruments of the Passion, the spear, the sponge, and also the representation of Mount Calvary, present in the Redemptorist coat of arms. The dove above the cross symbolizes the Holy Spirit. In the verse, we have the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a devotion that accompanies the congregation since Pope Pius IX handed it to the Redemptorists and asked to make her known to the whole world.”

The Redemptorist Cross is used by the priests, brothers, seminarians and the faithful associated with the mission, including the Oblates, the Redemptorist Laity, the Redemptorist youth and even those who identify with the charism.