Newark – Saint Peter (Queen of Angels)

By | February 7, 2012


St. Peter’s Church, founded as a German parish, was suppressed in the late 1950s. The church was constructed with red brick with sandstone accents.The church became the home of Queen of Angels Parish, an African American congregation, until 2011 when the church was closed and the congregants moved to St. Augustine’s Church.

In 1862, shortly after construction was completed, a storm damaged the church, knocking down part of the steeple and pinnacles.

In 1931, the tower was struck by lightning and the upper portion, containing the clock, fell to the ground. The foundation of the church was destabilized as well.

In the 1960s (?), the church was coated with Brickote.

Plainfield – Saint Stanislaus

By | January 21, 2012

This parish was joined to St. Bernard’s Parish in Plainfield in 2005 and the church closed.

East Orange – Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament

By | December 29, 2011

Newark (Vailsburg) – Sacred Heart

By | August 9, 2011

This massive gray church, with its majestic towers and entranceway, was built on a scale usually associated with cathedrals. The construction was by William H. Fissell.

It is an adaptation of the Baroque style simplified with Art Deco details, typical of the 1920s when it was designed and constructed. In some accouints, the style is called “Italian Renaissance.” When opened in 1929, it was the largest parish church in the United States, seating 2,480. The preacher at the dedication ceremony was Rev. Fulton J. Sheen.

The muted gray interior, designed by John Earley, is illuminated with spectacular stained glass. According to parish accounts, they were designed by and/or fabricated by local artists Charles hodge and John Farrell. In the nave, Old Testament heroes face saints of the New Covenant. Prominent are Saint Patrick and St. Boniface, testifying to the Irish and German heritage of the congregation that built this edifice.

The striking rose window features a crucifix that divides it in a three dimensional manner. The soft glow in this window is produced by alabaster, not glass.

The two transept balconies are an unusual feature in this churhc, and add to its distinctiveness. Much of the decoration utilizes what is called “applied mosaic,” a style popular in the 1920s and 1930s. It can be seen in the figures in the apse, done in Art Deco style. This method used common stone rahter than glass or marble and produced a soft effect.

The Baroque main altar is rare Algerian onyx decorated with little pineapples. Details in the church include pietrasanta marble. The main altar and the side altars were made by Daprato of Chicago. A lengthy Cararra marble and bronze altar rail depicts the faces of the Twelve Apostles, whose features are copied from those in the “Last Supper” by Leonardo DaVinci. On either side of the altar are twin raised pulpits, a rarely seen feature. Flanking the main altar are eight-foot high Art Deco bronze urns for flowers. They were manufactured in Dublin in the early 1950s.

Jersey City – St. Boniface

By | August 9, 2011

St. Boniface was established to serve the once-flourishing German community of downtown Jersey City. A modest-sized, simple, and attractive Gothic Revival building, the church was opened in 1866.

In 1894, a new main altar was erected, and, in 1896, magnificent stained glass windows fabricated by the Tyrolean Stained Glass Company of Innsbruck, Austria, were installed. Steeples were added to the facade in 1897 but, due to structural problems, the upper portions were removed in 1928. In 1897, bells from a manufacturer in St. Louis, Missouri, were placed in the steeples.

The church was redecorated in 1900 and a new communion rail was placed in the church in 1903. In 1913, the church was again redecorated and electric lighting replaced the original gas lighting. Further redecoration took place in 1938 and 1955 but the church retained its original appearance until it was closed in 2006.

Jersey City – Sacred Heart

By | August 9, 2011

An excellent site containing magnificent photographs of the stained glass and some of the sacred art in this church is

Newark – St. Charles Borromeo

By | August 7, 2011

St. Charles Borromeo church is both a departure from conventional church architecture and a great achievement in expressing a devotional spirit. The architect, Joseph Sanford Shanley, conceived a church which would be relatively small, functional, and suited to the square plot of land upon which it was to be built. Hence he designed it octagonal in shape instead of cross-shaped, without pillars to permit full view from every part.

The exterior of brick was selected as being the most suitable for this shape, and the varied coloring was chosen to harmonize with the existing school building across the street.

The circular-church effect, which is produced inside by four similar arches at the north, east, south, and west sides of the church, tends to produce a congregation-centered effect, a spirit which is in full harmony with later liturgical changes. Further, the similarity of the altar alcove with the other three alcoves, tends to unite the altar to the congregation, rather than separate them, as is so common in a cruciform church.

Four saints in applied mosaic decorate the interior of the church. they achieve a happy balance of not being too detailed, and at the same time, not merely symbolic.

The windows achieve a happy balance between realism and symbolism. Designed and made by Emil Frei, they show the potentialities of a relatively inexpensive material. Color has been sparingly used and most of the glass is only slightly tinted – yet the overall effect is both beautiful and delicate. The heavy lead lines bring out the character of each window.

– Archives of the Archdiocese of Newark