Happy Birthday, St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s College Church!
In honor of the 100th birthday of an iconic structure on the corner of Bergen Avenue and Mercer Street in Jersey City, more than 600 people attended St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s College Church’s Centennial Mass on Sunday, June 24. In addition to commemorating the parish’s 100-year anniversary, the Mass also honored the birth of St. John the Baptist.
“I was most impressed with the coming together of people at our College parish that had a connection to St. Aedan’s and Jersey City,” said Rev. Rocco Danzi, S.J., director of campus ministry at Saint Peter’s College. “We were welcoming them [the parishioners] back and I felt a sense of family. Almost like this is one faith family coming together.”
He added, “Looking at all that from [my position at] the altar, it was just really cool to see that kind of diversity, the different chapters of the church, and now this new chapter that includes Saint Peter’s College all together.”
Presiding over the Mass was The Most Reverend Dominic A. Marconi, D.D., the homilist was Reverend Charles P. Granstrand and Rev. Vincent Sullivan, S.J. – who serves as the administrator of St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s College Church – delivered the welcoming address, while a choir provided music during the faith-infused celebration.
Following the Centennial Mass, a dinner was held at McIntyre Lounge and included entertainment provided by D.J. Elmer, emcee specialist; Tara Kulbatski, vocalist; and Reginald Todd, recording artist. A video that detailed the parish’s history was also featured.
St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s College Church’s long history began at the turn of the 20th century. Before the parish came into existence, Masses that accommodated the odd working hours of trolley motormen and conductors employed at the local car barns were held in a small room on the upper floor of Foye Hall (located at the corner of Foye and Montgomery streets in Jersey City). When it became evident that the congregation had amassed enough people to create a new church, the development of St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s College Church (then St. Aedan’s Parish) began at the former site of St. Joseph’s Church.
On June 23, 1912, Bishop of Newark The Most Rev. John J. O’Connor officially ordained the parish, which was named for Ireland’s Parish Bishop of Ferns in County Wexford St. Aedan (550-632) to reflect the church’s Irish-American origins. Reverend Roger A. McGinley, then pastor of St. Brigid’s Church in New Durham, N.J. – and also for whom the McGinley Square area of Jersey City is named for – became the first pastor of the parish and served for the next 24 years.
Last year, Saint Peter’s College partnered with the parish to form St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s College Church. Prior to this partnership, a bond had been formed between the College and the parish as St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s College Church had provided the perfect setting for the College’s numerous baccalaureate and other Masses, as well as celebrations hosted by Saint Peter’s. Coming together to serve the community was the next logical step between both establishments’ dedication to serving God and the community. While Saint Peter’s greatly benefits from all that St. Aedan’s offers, the Church has not ceased to operate as a place of worship for current and future parishioners.