AREA-The Archdiocese of Newark will host its semiannual Heritage Tour on Saturday, April 14, an all-day bus excursion that will visit four treasured churches in Hoboken, Jersey City and Bayonne.
The tour program includes stops at Saint Michael Parish, Jersey City; Our Lady of Grace Parish, Hoboken; and two parishes in Bayonne: Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Henry. The final stop at St. Henry will include Mass (at approximately 3:45 p.m.) with Bishop Thomas A. Donato, D.D., the pastor of Saint Henry and an auxiliary bishop of Newark. There will be a stop for lunch during the tour.
Tickets for the tour are $45 per person. Contact Theresa Lynch at (973) 497-4042 to register. Information also is available online (www.rcan.org); go to "quick links" in the upper left corner of the Archdiocese of Newark's home page, scroll down and click on "Heritage Tour."
The day begins with a continental breakfast and check-in, 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., at the Archdiocesan Center, 171 Clifton Ave., Newark, where secure parking will be provided. Tour buses-all climate controlled with a lavatory-will depart promptly from the Archdiocesan Center at 9 a.m. Buses will return to the Archdiocesan Center approximately 5 p.m.
Troy Simmons, architectural historian and patrimony manager for the Archdiocese of Newark, will lead the tour and provide expert commentary on the history and significant architectural features of each parish. Simmons currently is working towards a second graduate degree in Architectural Restoration and Preservation at Columbia University, New York (see The Catholic Advocate, March 7).
(Note: the following is a capsule history of the four parishes on the tour.)
St. Michael's Parish, Jersey City
The pastor of St. Mary's Parish in Jersey City, in 1866, determined that the expanding Catholic population necessitated a mission church, which eventually became St. Michael's Parish. The panic of1873 and the ensuing depression delayed completion of the building until Oct. 8, 1876. The final cost was $150,000.
Seven lots were purchased at 9th and Erie streets in May 1871. St. Michael's church, designed by Patrick Charles Keely in the Romanesque and Italian Renaissance style, is 180 feet long by 80 feet wide.
The façade is Nova Scotia free stone enhanced by granite and English tessellated and encaustic tile giving the church great beauty and dignity. The original church, located at 10th and Erie streets, became the home of St. Michael's High School.
Our Lady of Grace Parish, Hoboken
A church in Hoboken known as Our Lady of Grace was dedicated June 24, 1855. Plans for the French Gothic structure we see today began in 1873. Designed by German architect and Hoboken resident Francis G. Himpler, the building was completed by Father Patrick Corrigan and dedicated Nov. 10, 1878.
Msgr. Charles J. Kelly decorated the church. He installed the 11-foot Stations of the Cross, sculpted in plaster from the Mayer Studios of Munich. He also allowed Audsley, architect and illuminator from Liverpool, to decorate the plain walls and ceilings, and to design the pipe organ, largest in the country at the time.
The church is 200 feet long and 130 feet wide at the transept. The nave is 96 feet wide. The center altar is gothic with circassian walnut in blue, red and gold, 37 feet high, 21 feet wide. The Sacred Heart adorns its top, over depictions of both Our Lady and the Christ Child.
The five Sanctuary windows include the Promise of a Redeemer to be born of Woman, the Prophecy that a Virgin would bring forth a Son, the Annunciation, the Visitation and the Nativity.
St. Vincent de Paul, Bayonne
St. Vincent de Paul, Bayonne began as a mission from St. Henry. The first mass was said at Salterville Hall, Centre St. on July 7, 1895.
Father Joseph McCormick was appointed pastor on July 1, 1904, and was commissioned to build a new Romanesque church constructed of Plymouth granite. The cornerstone was laid in May 1927.
The church's interior is decorated with marbles from around the world and symbolic windows from Ireland. Bishop Walsh dedicated the church in the spring of 1930.
David Henry Building Co. did the masonry, carpentry, painting and glazing in the church which is 88 feet long, 36 feet wide and 44 feet high with semicircular apse and Venetian campanile 140 feet high.
The high altar is Algerian golden onyx while the wall behind it is carara marble in red, blue and orchid with eight columns in green Italian marble. The floor is Italian and French marble in grey and black while the 12 columns representing the 12 apostles are in green Tennessee marble. The stained glass windows, installed between 1939 and 1944, in the upper story are from the studio of Harry Clarke of Dublin and represent the Passion.
St. Henry, Bayonne
St. Henry's, constructed between 17 June 17, 1911 and May 30, 1915, is in the style known as modified-early English Gothic in the cruciform shape formed of nave and transepts with an apse.
The offices where intended to be contained in the square tower on the Gospel side along with a stairway to the organ gallery and belfry. Bedford Indiana limestone graces the exterior. Triple entrance doors of quartered oak and wrought bronze hinges admit parishioners under a high arch with columns and ornamented orders. The tympanum above the doorways has a large statue of the Sacred Heart.
The body of the church consists of nave and transepts. The church is 68.6 feet wide, 94 feet at the transepts, 153.8 feet long and 62.6 feet high in the nave. The front gable rises to 75 feet while the tower without its pinnacles is 83 feet.
Twelve three-light mullioned and traceried windows light the clerestory of the nave. The transept clerestories have four corresponding windows, and the apse has seven two-light mullioned and traceried windows. Similar windows in each transept match a large rose window above the main front entrance.
During the last restoration in 1997, St. Henry received new and patched stone, repaired windows and frames, restored oak doors and three restored limestone crosses on the facade.