Elizabeth – St. Patrick’s

By | January 3, 2011

A scaled-down copy of the great cathedral of Cologne can be seen from the New Jersey Turnpike and from planes landing at Newark Airport. The church, under construction from 1889 until 1901 is constructed of gray granite with white dressed granite trimmings. Its estimated cost was $400,000. It seats 1,600. The pastor who oversaw the construction was Rev. Martin Gessner. According to parish history, Father Gessner and parishioners carried stones to the site and assisted in the construction to reduce costs. The builder was Frank Mulligan. Interior carpentry work was done by James Cantwell, and the finishing by P. J. Kiely, both of Elizabeth. The interior marble statues by Joseph Sibbel are of Italian marble.

“St. Patrick’s Church, Elizabethport, New Jersey, which was recently dedicated, is a remarkable edifice.  Having been in course of construction since 1889 under the personal supervision of its rector, Rev. Martin Gessner. No debt has existed at any time, from the inception to the completion of the edifice.  Father Gessner raised the money among his own parishioners.  He refused to borrow on bond or mortgage.  When money was not in hand he stopped work until money accumulated to keep up the ‘pay as you go’ principle which he maintained from beginning to end of building operations.  The structure is in the medieval Gothic school of architecture. The material is gray granite from Maine, with white dressed granite trimmings and granite columns and capitals in the interior.  The towers are 212 feet tall.

All the marble statuary in the interior is by Mr. Joseph Sibbel, sculptor, who journeyed to Italy for the express purpose of selecting it in the quarries, made famous by Michael Angelo.”

New Zealand Tablet, Volume XXVIII, Issue 3, January 18, 1900, page 27.

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St. Patrick's Building History

1899 -

1940 – The church was cleaned and painted.
1961 – Several pinnacles and gargoyles were removed from the towers for safety.
1994 – The sacristy was gutted by fire and repaired. The church was undamaged.
1995 – The sanctuary ceiling was restored and the church and the Stations of the Cross were repainted. The statues were cleaned.

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Susan Muenzen Comeaux on May 21, 2019 at 5:25 pm.

Mr. Ferrari, your cousin’s family must have known my father’s first cousin, Rev. Roland Muenzen. He was ordained at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in May, 1947 and was Pastor there for many years.

Patricia Ferrari on February 9, 2019 at 6:48 pm.

Thank you for this lovely history of the church. I am writing a genealogy for my cousin, whose family worshipped here , probably from its inception, through at least 1956. From 1910- to at least 1925, members of the Cassidy family attended the parish school as well.
I will include the link to the blog in my genealogy.

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