Parish History

A Brief History of St. Anthony of Padua Church
Father Clemente Cardarelli offered Mass for the first time on August 21, 1904 in the Danish Brotherhood Society Hall on Irving Street and B Street in Port Reading.  In early February 1962 a Township Ordinance was passed renaming Irving Street to Lee Street.

A few months later a small house was rented for $5.00 per month  and was converted into a chapel.  On November 13, 1906, the formal incorporation of  St. Anthony of Padua Church occurred.  The first chapel was located on Woodbridge Avenue, now Port Reading Avenue where the present D'Orsi's Bakery is located and served the community until 1914.

In 1911 Father Cardarelli resigned and Reverend Columbino Galassi who was rector for Holy Rosary Church in Perth Amboy  was asked to take over the Port Reading Mission and funds were raised  and property was purchased for a church.

The  Cornerstone for the new Church was laid on June 28, 1914 and the church was dedicated by Bishop James McFaul on October 28, 1914. Cost to build the new Church was $16,500.00 and the final mortgage payment of $1,500.00 was made on August 27, 1923.  The new church was also located on Port Reading Avenue approximately 600 feet west of the first chapel.

The majority of  the congregation was made up of  Italian families who immigrated  to Port Reading from Pietrastornina, Italy. Most worked for the Reading Railroad which was the main employer in Port Reading.

In 1943 Father Stanislaus Milos became the first resident pastor of the Church of St. Anthony. There were 750 families with 15 different ethnic backgrounds and the majority spoke English.  During his 32 year pastorate the rectory was built in 1950 and still stands today, the church was expanded in 1959 and in 1964 the Woodbridge Township School 9 was purchased for $15,000.00 and opened in September, 1964 as St. Anthonys' School.

The Altar and Rosary Society was formed in 1946; and the Holy Name Society was formed in 1947.

During the pastorate of  Father Garrett J. Fitzgerald due to declining enrollment the school was closed in 1987.

Due to structural failure of the original church from 1914 the executive board of St. Anthonys' began research and planning for a new church. Construction for the new church was started in February 1990; and dedicated by Bishop Edward T. Hughes on March 12, 1991 during the pastorate of  Father Robert Lynam.  The cost to build our present church was 2.6 million dollars,  funds were obtained  by the sale of the old rec. hall and school on West Avenue to Hess Oil Company, for 1.2 million dollars,  with the balance of the funds coming from the  parishioners pledges.

Rev. William J. Smith was installed as the ninth Pastor of St. Anthony of  Padua Church on April 3, 2005.

On July 1, 2012  St. Anthonys' and Our Lady of  Mount Carmel Parish were merged by the Diocese of Metuchen  into the Parish Family of  St. Anthony of  Padua.

A Brief History of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
On October 10, 1920, Bishop Walsh established Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church to serve the needs of Hungarian speaking residents of Woodbridge, and in May, 1921 land was purchased on Amboy Avenue, and the dedication of the original church was held on August 7, 1921. During its first years the parish was under the administration of Rev. Bela Smoliga., pastor of Our Lady of Hungary in Perth Amboy. Fr. Hugolin Feisz O.F.M. served as the first pastor from 1927-30. The thirty year tenure of Rev. Vincent Lenyi saw the greatest expansion of the parish. An army barracks was purchased and renovated into a parish hall 1935; the rectory was built in 1936; and in 1957 a home was purchased to serve as a convent. Groundbreaking for the present church took place in 1959, and Bishop George Ahr dedicated the church on June 25, 1960. The old church was converted into a school, which opened in 1961. The Daughters of Divine Charity served the school from its opening until their withdrawal in 1970. Rev. Michael Vincze was installed as pastor on August 28, 1964 and served until 1992. The parish celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1996 during the pastorate of Rev .Vincent Cornejo. Upon his retirement in 2004, the parish was partnered with Our Lady of Peace in Fords, with Msgr. Robert J. Zamorski serving as pastor, and Fr. Jerome K.Kim as Parochial Vicar. The parish now serves a diverse Hungarian, Filipino and Korean congregation. Over the years, the parish has hosted many notable Hungarian visitors, including Prince Otto of Hungary in 1940, Jozsef Cardinal Mindzenty in 1974, and Ladislaus Cardinal Paskai, Archbishop of Esztergom and Primate of Hungary in 1989. In January 2006, Rev. Albert Sunho Kwon was appointed as Parish Administrator, and has recently returned to the Pusan Diocese. Effective October 2007, Father William Smith had become the pastor of the parish. Our close friends, the Korean community, has now relocated to the South Edison/Highland Park area.

Effective July 1, 2012 with the Diocesan renewal/restructuring, the parish has merged in with St. Anthony of Padua.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                  

 

 

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