By Diane Norek Harrison
LINDEN-This is an excerpt from material given to me by Walter Tylicki:
“Early in April 1909, Miss Louise Clougher—now Mrs. Conlon—was employed in the office of the Linden and Union Realty Company, located at the present site (1959) of the Linden Police Headquarters on West Blancke Street. On learning that the realty company was vacating the premise, Miss Clougher thought that the office would be ideal as a Chapel for the celebration of Mass and so approached the little band of Catholics.
“Mr. McDonagh was most enthusiastic and offered to pay the rent for the first year but through the cooperation of all the Catholics in Linden, the property was purchased and Father Francis Koch, O.F.M. then head at the church Extension Society in N.J. was appointed to have charge of the Chapel.
“The roster of families which formed the nucleus of St. Elizabeth’s Parish included: Andrysiak, Babos, Bilwiller, Capraun, Carroll, Clougher, Davidson, Gabrick, Galgonsky, Garrison, Healy, Hergenhan, Heringe, Hickey, Hoepner, Kornas, Krupinsky, Leichti, Lombardo, McDonagh, McHugh, McManus, Mahar, Maye, Nemthe, Pencak, Perkins, Rokta (one of whom, Elizabeth, is the wife of Honorable Mayor Hurst), Titus, Wagenhoffer, Weber and Weiser.
“The joy that welled up in the hearts of these good people must have known no limits, when the following item appeared in the Elizabeth Journal on Sat., May 1, 1909 ‘A Catholic Mass for all the Catholics of Linden will be celebrated tomorrow, Sun., May 22nd in the Linden and Union Realty Co. office in West Blancke St. at 9 o’clock.’ Here finally was the answer to their persevering prayers, ‘a chapel which they lovingly named in honor of St. Elizabeth, the patron saint of Elizabeth McHugh, a great benefactress of this little Chapel.’
“The altar boys who served Mass on the memorable occasion were John Martin and Edward O’Neill. The Chapel was dedicated by Father Francis Koch, O.F.M. on Oct. 10, 1909. An early Mass was celebrated by Father Koch with forty-three persons in attendance. At ten o’clock a High Mass was sung by Father Anselm Kienle, O.S.B and an appropriate sermon delivered by Father A.L. Clark of St. Joseph’s, Newark.
“An interesting paragraph from the Elizabeth Journal for Oct. 11, 1909 states: ‘Within the past five months the Catholics of Linden have known several epoch-making days, but yesterday was easily the most notable of all. There were two Masses in the morning, not unusual in large city parishes, but remarkable in a community which six months ago did not feel that it was possible to hold services of any kind.’”
My column will only be printed with reader contributions. I’m looking for some new contributors with old information. Send what you remember!
If you have your own memories or past material from Union County you can email me c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media 1139, East Jersey St,. Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ, 07201.
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