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  • Honoring the 125Th Anniversary of Saint Patrick Parish

    by Representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen

    Posted on 2013-01-25

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    FRELINGHUYSEN of new jersey in the house of representatives Friday, January 25, 2013 Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the Saint Patrick Parish in Chatham, New Jersey, which is celebrating its 125th Anniversary in January of 2013.

    The Township of Chatham gained a local, stable Irish population in response to the terrible potato famine in Ireland, in the 1840s. These Catholic families picked up and settled in Chatham, regularly attending mass in a local Madison Parish. However, these immigrants decided they needed a local parochial school for their children since all other options were deemed to be too far. The St. Patrick Catholic School was incorporated in 1875, followed by the completion of a new building for parishioners in 1887, marking the birth of the St. Patrick Parish. After renovations due to fires in the early 20th century, the Parish built a new church in 1955. As the church continued to grow, it decided to establish a new Parish Center in 1989 which would house a rectory, convent and youth ministry in addition to providing resources for program expansion. This center, in 2009, was named after the late, beloved Father Hinds.

    The demographics of the once predominantly Irish church have grown significantly to include members of many different heritages such as Italian, Polish, Asian, and Hispanic that reside in Chatham. The parishioners have also begun several ministry programs such as Environmental Stewardship, Christmas in a [[Page E63]] Box, Basket Bonanza, Cooking at Eva's Village in Paterson, and a Health Ministry providing information and assistance. The church is also very well known for its annual social events consisting of a St. Patrick's Day Celebration, an Oktoberfest Celebration, and a ``Breakfast with Santa'' that aim to bring families and friends together to enjoy the holidays. With the help of Msgr. Tom Coletta, St. Patrick Parish has become a sister church to Our Lad of Victories Parish in Paterson. The Catholic places of worship have garnered a shared spirituality through combined Masses, retreats, ministry training, and youth activities.

    St. Patrick Parish is recognized as one of the strongest religious institutions in Morris County. Having encountered much adversity through the years, the members of the Parish have always been able to guide themselves through the hardships with their strong bond of community and unwavering faith. The St. Patrick Catholic School has provided the Chatham Catholic community with an excellent opportunity to obtain education and faith for young men and women of the community.

    Former St. Patrick pastors: Bishop Dominic Marconi of Newark, Monsignor Ronald Amandolare, and Monsignor John J. Carroll frequently celebrate mass with the church to honor its parishioners and their departed, good friend Father Edward Hinds. This collaboration has been led by current pastor, Father Robert Mitchell. The contagious, unbreakable connection can be defined by Father Mitchell's description of the members of his parish: ``All who find a home at St. Patrick's share a common bond that unites them through joys and sorrows, challenges, surprises and the success and failures of life. This makes real the wisdom of our founding members and the generosity of those who followed.'' Through this message, the community has built long-lasting relationships.

    Mister Speaker, I ask you and your colleagues to join me in congratulating the Saint Patrick Parish as it celebrates its 125th Anniversary.


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