Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church
979 Avenue C - Bayonne, New Jersey 07002 (201) 436-2222   Fax:(201) 437-5235
Founded 1894
New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places
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The History of Our Church and Parish

...continued from History page 1
I am pleased that my recollections seem of some help in the history of the church. My name at time of living in the parish was name withheld for privacy and name withheld is my marriage name. I moved to the parish at the age of 3 months in 1933 after being baptized at St. Henry's. I received my First Holy Communion at the Church in 1941 on Ascension Thursday. At that time all First Communions were held on this day each year. It later became apparent to me that since it was a weekday my Dad was unable to attend and since he did the family photography I have no picture of this occasion. I did not attend St. Vincent's School but was a student at Washington Public School and attended Religion classes weekly.

I have vivid memories of the Drum and Bugle Corp that was started by Fr. Watija* (This is not at all the correct spelling but I do not have any reference to it). He was a dynamic people priest along with Fr. Neilon** (sp) again not sure of the spelling. Between them they provided a great environment for the children and teenagers of the parish. Father W was instrumental in developing the finest Drum and Bugle Corp in the Parish winning the

national championship probably some time in the 1940s. The competition they won was held in Florida and Fr. W took the group by bus to Florida for the successful event. When word reached the parish that they had won the national championship and the bus would be returning to the Parish probably about midnight to 2 a.m. hundreds of us from the Parish lined 47 St. from Ave. B to C to greet them returning. It was a proud moment for all of us. The teenage dances every Wed. night were a great draw also.

Friday night Bingo was one of the most popular ones in the city. I had a grandmother who traveled by train from Cranford to attend Friday night bingo!

Fr. Neilon** was somewhat more reserved and was instrumental in developing and preserving the Women's Sodality*** Groups. At one time there were two groups one for the teenage girls and another for those graduated from high school and probably working. (Not many of us attended college at this time.) The Women of the parish also had a strong club.

I do not know how much of this is already known to you but I pass it on.

The Church in a simpler time had some customs that I recall as a child but have not seen for many years. When an adult entered mass there was seat money collected. In the vestibule ushers had stands at the main doors and the contribution was 10 Cents. What fascinated me as a small child was that most people seem to have a quarter so the ushers had piles of 15 cents as change to be taken by the attendees as they entered.

Fr. W, I believe was initially named pastor of St. Paul's Church in Jersey City but soon after was assigned as pastor at St. Andrew's in Bayonne from where he retired. I left Bayonne in 1957 after several years of marriage and am not up to date with Bayonne Life after that period. I also believe Fr. Neilon** was made pastor of the church in South Orange NJ. These 2 priests remained close friends for life and I am told that they retired together to Florida. I cannot verify this but local gossip can be very accurate.

I now live in Florida but have resided in several other states in my married life. Never came across another parish like this and there were many including Air Force Chapels that showed such spirit. I was also familiar with Fr. Dolan (later Monsignor) but do not have as many recollections other than he always said the 8 a.m. Mass.

I probably would not enjoy having my name in print so I would respectfully request it not be printed. Anything mentioned above which could jar the memories of other senior members of the parish I would be happy you share in any form including printing.

Editor’s notes:
*the correct spelling is Fr. Wojytcha
**the correct spelling of Fr. Neilon not yet ascertained
***sodality = a confraternity or association, especially a Roman Catholic religious guild or brotherhood.

The Website administrator on behalf of the entire parish would like to express our most sincere and heartfelt appreciation to the parishioner that took time to email us her valuable recollections that have in fact brought us all back to the year of 1933 when she was a child.  Thank you and May Our Lord bless you always.



Bayonne's St. Vincent de Paul Church earns state and national landmark designations
By John Gomez/For The Jersey Journal on October 11, 2011

This is a reprint of the Jersey Journal article about the landmark designations and you can view the photos at this link: http://photos.nj.com/jersey-journal/2011/10/st_vincent_de_paul_church_in_b_2.html

Preservation news like this is quite uncommon: the state and federal landmark designation of a major architectural monument in Hudson County.

All the more reason to be left breathless and numb at the news coming out of Bayonne last week that St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church -- a truly magisterial work of ecclesiastical architecture on Avenue C between 46th and 47th streets -- was placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

This is major.
Bayonne, for all of its austere urban antiquity, is not well-represented on the prestigious Registers despite its rich architectural inventory of historic districts, structures and objects.

Receiving the exciting news via email, I immediately imagined -- and wished for, as all preservationists do -- a domino landmarking effect, where Bayonne's worthy meritorious architectural menagerie -- Mount Carmel Polish Catholic Church, the Mechanic's Trust Company Building, the Bayonne Bridge, St. Henry's Roman Catholic Church -- is given the attention and resources it deserves.

But that, I quickly came to accept, is a crucial civic campaign for tomorrow. Today belongs to the parish of St. Vincent de Paul and the three passionate preservationists who came together to pursue the Registers no matter the red-tape obstacles.

TOWARD A LANDMARKING
To Priscilla Ege, Dr. Carmela A. Karnoutsous and Peter K. O'Brien, St. Vincent de Paul's singular place in local, architectural and stained-glass history were all worth the laborious research and intricate assembly of the National Register nomination. As commissioners on the Bayonne Historic Preservation Commission, Priscilla and Carmela had piloted the church to local landmark designation in December 2008, setting the stage for the recent state and federal recognition.

But the real roots to their landmarking drive reach back to 2007 when Priscilla, an accomplished architectural scholar, and Peter, a professional photographer, had a eureka-moment conversation.

Walking through the barrel-vaulted central nave of St. Vincent de Paul -- I was there to interview them for an extended article about the church's stained-glass masterworks crafted nearly 80 years before by the Irish genius Harry Clarke -- the two archivists, caught up in a spatial enthusiasm that only sacred spaces can conjure, looked at each other and announced, all at once, a National Register undertaking.

DISCOVERING HISTORY

That was the last I had heard of it.
Somewhat surreptitiously, Priscilla and Peter, working with Sara Andre, a senior historic preservation specialist at the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office in Trenton, got to work on the research and visual documentation.

Not long after, they called on their friend and colleague, Carmela, an esteemed professor of history at New Jersey City University and author of Internet-based monographs about local landmarks and legends.

Over the next three and a half years, all three guided and mentored each other through the depths of the draft writing process. Peter pointed his lens at Clarke's "Savage Beauty"-like figures above the apse, capturing awesome images of shadow-jeweled saints and long-necked feathered figures straight out of Edgar Allan Poe tales and German Expressionism films.

Diving into the parish's history, they discovered and wove into their narrative the names and effigies of founders, planners, builders, decorators. In a flowing style filled with amazing descriptions and terminology, Priscilla, the report's lead author, captured the parish's beginnings in 1894 as an uptown church for Irish residents. In her masterful rendition, Father Joseph Dolan comes to life as a well-traveled priest obsessed with Romanesque architecture.

The Boston-based medieval revival architect Charles Maginnis draws plans for a finely formed Lombardy-Romanesque edifice. Harry Clarke, already at the height of his European fame, sends North America his only complete set of radically rendered stained-glass windows -- a clerestory-climbing collection not merely regarded today as a muted repository but as a sentient museum of rare Clarke church glass.

In 2010, the trio submitted a final draft nomination report for St. Vincent de Paul Church to Trenton for several hearings and deliberations. It was then forwarded to the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., where, as expected, the illustrated document was placed in a high pile of other reports from around the country.

The waiting game -- a painful part of preservation -- had begun.

GIFT TO BAYONNE

"I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to preserve a magnificent piece of history and architecture for my hometown," Priscilla says.

"The designation of St. Vincent's as a landmark brings a sense of pride to the city as it strives to preserve its history," Carmela says.

They realize that one of the most lasting gifts we can ever extend to a municipality is an architectural monument -- indigenous in its plan and materiality, deeply connected to the citizenry, stemming from the social fabric, seeped in the steps of nostalgia.

St. Vincent de Paul Church, its candied campanile cone illuminated at night, is that very gift -- bestowed by three heroic historians who joined scholarly forces in an act of architectural fate.

Editor's Note: The author acknowledges that no building reaches landmark status without the participation of many. The Rev. James Manos, St. Vincent de Paul's former pastor, assisted archivists throughout the application process. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, under the leadership of Troy J. Simmons, Patrimony Project Manager, are to be recognized for their support. And, most pivotal, parishioners were the key to the National Register.



The following 3 pages are found in the extensive application for Landmark status.  These pages contain the historic timeline of the founding of the church:




Timeline of the founding history of Saint Vincent de Paul Church and the advent of Catholicism in Bayonne:

  • 1700 during the late 1700’s a German Jesuit priest began serving groups of Catholics in the Pamrapo uptown section of Bayonne
  • 1800 during the early and mid 1800’s visiting priests also served the people in this area
  • 1836 Irish Catholic laborers settled in the Pamrapo area while working in the construction of the Morris Canal between the Greenville part of Jersey City and the northern part of Bayonne
  • 1852 Mass was said in a house on Lord Ave by Rev John Kelly, Pastor of St. Peter’s Church, Jersey City
  • 1865 to 1894 people attended Mass at either St. Mary Star of the Sea established in 1852 located downtown or at St. Henry Church established in 1889 located in the center of town. There were no churches in the uptown section of Bayonne.
  • 1869 City of Bayonne incorporation – it is notable that the Catholic growth preceded the incorporation of the City
  • 1890 to 1910 Bayonne became home to a large number of German and Irish Catholics and many settled uptown to work in the booming construction industry. A group of houses on 52nd St. became known as “Plasterers Row” and a “power house” of the uptown Catholics and important to the history of St. Vincent de Paul Church.  They had no church building of their own and on Jun 6, 1894 a committee of eight men from “Plasterers Row” became the founders of the church
  • 1894 a charter was issued by Bishop Wigger for the parish of St. Vincent de Paul; less than a month later the trustees adopted legal by-laws and purchased the first of several lots on Avenue C between 46 and 47th Streets; the first church was in a $10 a month rented hall at 12 West 48th St, presently Altamura’s bakery
  • 1905 - September 3 the cornerstone was laid for second church made of wood and erected on 8 lots the trustees purchased on Ave C between 46 and 47th Streets
  • 1920 the school was constructed at 80 West 47th St; the uptown area and the city continued to attract people from around the world that would arrive at Constable Hook by ships and the upward economic growth and the increase in parishioners had outgrown the second church; the overflow of parishioners had to attend services at the St. Vincent Parochial School
  • 1927 the old wooden second church had become outdated in size and was razed to allow for the planning by Father Joseph Dolan and the construction of the 3rd and present church began
  • 1927-1930 the school was used for religious services and to celebrate Mass during the new church construction
  • 1929 the present Rectory was built set back from the corner of 46th and Ave C
  • 1930 the present church was finished and dedicated
  • 2007 Project for the Historic Landmark designations began
  • 2011 – August 24 Church placement on the NJ and National Register of Historic Places

We don’t exactly know when the old more modest wooden rectory that was on the 47th St. side of the church and the Victorian convent house on the 46th St. side were torn down.

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Mass Schedule:  (Weekday 7:AM and 8:AM) - (Saturday 8:00AM) - (Saturday evening 5:PM)
(Sunday 8:AM, 10:AM, 12:PM and [7:PM
Spanish]) - (Holyday of obligation 7:AM, 8:30AM, 12:PM, [6:PM Spanish], and 7:30PM) (Federal/Civic secular Holiday 9:AM)
Sacrament of Reconciliation:  Saturday 4:PM to 4:45PM - The Order of the Mass

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