Bus caravan Visits Parishes in Orange Area
AREA-Against the inspirational backdrop of a beautiful autumn day, over 100 participants enjoyed the Oct. 20 archdiocesan Heritage Tour, sponsored and organized by the archdiocesan Office of Property Management.
The daylong excursion-three buses led by a special police escort-included stops at four treasured churches located in the towns of East Orange, South Orange, and Orange (see The Catholic Advocate, Oct. 10 and Aug. 8).
Msgr. Robert Wister, professor of Church History at Immaculate Conception Seminary of Seton Hall University (SHU), South Orange, along with Troy Joseph Simmons, director of church patrimony and architectural historian for the Archdiocese of Newark, led the tour, providing expert commentary on the history and significant architectural features of each parish. Both are members of the archdiocesan Commission for Ecclesiastical Patrimony, which was established by Archbishop John J. Myers in July 2006.
Ecclesiastical patrimony encompasses the history, churches, interior items (altars, statues, stained glass, etc.), artwork and documents that reflect the spiritual life and heritage of the Church (and a specific diocese). Simmons and Msgr. Wister described this patrimony as a living legacy-a foundation that sustains and inspires the faith of each generation. Earlier this year Msgr. Wister wrote an article that outlined the importance of the ecclesiastical patrimony and faith heritage found within the archdiocese (see The Catholic Advocate, March 7).
During the tour Msgr. Wister discussed the history of the Orange area. "The Oranges were originally part of Newark," Msgr. Wister explained. "Surprisingly, the towns were not named after the fruit, which is a common misconception. They were named after Prince William of Orange, who eventually became King of England." The City of Orange and the surrounding communities, during the early years of the 20th century, were nationally known for their well-appointed estates and Victorian homes.
The tour began with a stop at Holy Name of Jesus Church in East Orange, "one of the most beautiful churches in the Archdiocese of Newark," according to Msgr. Wister. "It's built in an ideal style for Catholic worship," he said, pointing out the majestic pillars that stand in the middle of the church beneath painted figures of the Apostles. "These pillars show that the church is held up by the teachings of Jesus and the example of the apostles. These are theological lessons built in stone."
Holy Name of Jesus bears a resemblance to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., having a shared architect in Charles Maginnis, who also designed Saint Vincent DePaul in Bayonne. It was through his vision