CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
now known as the
CATHEDRAL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
The mother church of the diocese, Immaculate Conception and its members played an integral role in the development of Camden and was deeply woven into the social fabric of the city. Unlike many institutions, Immaculate Conception has remained in Camden and continues to serve the spiritual needs of its members, social services, as well as provide cultural input into a city desperately in need of exposure to examples of classical and contemporary performing arts.
On April 4, 2008 Bishop Galante announced the following changes which affected to churches in Camden and Pennsauken. The changes, taken from the text of the bishop's speech, are as follows:
* Merge the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Camden), Holy Name (Camden) and Our Lady of Mount Carmel & Fatima (Camden), with the primary worship site at the Cathedral and a secondary worship site at Our Lady of Mount Carmel & Fatima.
* Merge St. Joan of Arc (Camden) and St. Bartholomew (Camden) with the worship site at St. Joan of Arc.
* Cluster the new parish at St. Joan of Arc (Camden) with Sacred Heart (Camden).
* St. Anthony of Padua (Camden) and St. Joseph Polish (Camden) will remain as stand-alone parishes.
following is derived from
The few Catholics residing in Camden nearly forty years ago were content to attend divine service in a poorly-furnished room in the old City Hall, which stood on the south side of Federal Street, above Fourth, where the present market is located.
are not many now living who participated in those services, but the few
who still remain have had the satisfaction of seeing the little mission
grow to a congregation numbering four thousand souls, and possessing
church property valued at two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
E. J. Waldron, who was attached to the Cathedral Parish, Philadelphia,
is the first priest who is known to have attended to the spiritual wants
of the Catholics of Camden. He celebrated, on every other Sunday, the
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the old City Hall for some time, but it
was deemed wise to select another place of worship. The residence of the
late Henry M. Innis, on the south side of Bridge Avenue, above Third
Street, was used for the purpose until more commodious quarters were
secured in Starr's Hall, which stood on Bridge Avenue, below Second
Street, and was demolished some years ago to make room for the
Pennsylvania Railroad yard. Mr. Jesse W. Starr kindly gave the
worshippers the use of the room and divine service was celebrated there
every other Sunday until a church was erected on the southeast corner of
Fifth and Taylor Avenue, in 1859.
laborious efforts of Father Waldron to secure funds for the erection of
the Philadelphia Cathedral necessitated the transfer of the Camden
mission to Rev. William Donahoe. The latter succeeded in advancing the
work of his predecessor and was then called away to take charge of a
church at Norristown, PA.
October, 1850, until the spring of 1853, Rev. H. B. Finigan, who was
stationed at Gloucester celebrated Mass in Camden and was succeeded by
Rev. J. N. Hanigan, also of Gloucester, who continued to attend the
mission from May 1, 1853, until November 11th of that year. On this date
Camden was formed into a separate parish, with Rev. James Moran as its
first resident pastor. In 1857 a lot of ground on the southeast corner
of Fifth and Taylor Avenue was purchased of W. D. Cooper, Esq., on which
to erect a church. Ground was broken for the same on June 9, 1859, and
in three months time the building was completed. It was built of brick
and amply answered the wants of the growing congregation. The building
is still standing and is now used as a Grand Army of the Republic hall.
was called the Church of the Immaculate Conception and was dedicated by
Right Rev. J. K. Bayley, Bishop of the Diocese of Newark, on November 5,
1859. Father Moran continued in charge until 1863, when he was succeeded
by the Rev. Patrick Byrne. The
latter was not satisfied with the church at Fifth and Taylor Avenue and
he wisely selected the lot of ground on the southeast corner of Broadway
and Market, upon which, to erect a new and much handsomer edifice. Its
cornerstone was laid by the Right Rev. Bishop Bayley, on May 1, 1864,
and the name of the old church was transferred to the new one. It is one
hundred and fifty-two feet long, sixty-five feet wide, is built of
Trenton brown stone, with Connecticut stone trimmings and represents the
English decorated Gothic style of architecture. Father Byrne
subsequently secured the entire block upon which the church stood and
also a large plot of ground on the Moorestown pike, two miles from the
Delaware River, for use as a cemetery.
May, 1873, Rev. P. Byrne was transferred to St. John's Church, Trenton,
by Right Rev. M. A. Corrigan, D.D., and Rev.
Peter J. Fitzsimmons took charge of the Church of the Immaculate
Conception, in this city, of which he is still rector. For some years
previous to his coming the children of the parish were taught in a brick
building on Federal Street, between Seventh and Eighth Streets. Seeing
the urgent need of better accommodation, he commenced, in May, 1874, the
erection of a new school and Sisters' house on Broadway, and completed
them at a cost of nearly forty thousand dollars.
September of the same year the Sisters belonging to the Order of St.
Joseph, having their mother's house at Chestnut Hill, Pa., opened the
school in the new building and continued in charge till the summer of
1885, at which time they were succeeded by the Sisters of Mercy, from
Bordentown, N. J.
During three years the membership of the congregation had been increasing and it was found necessary to make some addition to the church property. For this reason a square of ground was purchased in the Eighth Ward, on which was erected the Church of the Sacred Heart. A separate parish has been formed and Right Rev. M. J. O'Farrell has appointed Rev. William Lynch rector.
1880 Rev. Peter J.
Fitzsimmons engaged as teachers the Brothers of the Holy Cross, from
Notre Dame, Ind. They came to reside in the house he had specially built
for their use on the church grounds, and have had charge of the boys'
school since their arrival. By constant efforts this property has been
improved and at this moment it is acknowledged that no other
congregation in this city possesses a church property equal to it in
value. The church members are not wealthy, but out of their slender
means they have paid off a large debt and supported schools having an
average attendance of four hundred and fifty children.
COMPLETE TEXT and PHOTOS
|Philadelphia Inquirer - March 21, 1913|
|Click on Image for PDF File|
at the Church of the Immaculate Conception
March 17, 1920
Story by Mr. Daniel P. McConnell, of the Camden Post Telegram,
for Wednesday, March 18, 1920
Camden last night gave a splendid welcome to the Very Rev. Dean William J.
Citizens of other faiths, judges, doctors, lawyers and those in more humble stations of life, rubbed elbows in the vast audience that packed to capacity the Catholic Lyceum. All were present for a common purpose- to honor the new prelate, who comes to Camden with a splendid reputation as a Christian gentleman, patriot and ambassador of the Catholic Church.
At the reception in the Lyceum, former Judge William T. Boyle presided. He in turn introduced Rev. Francis J. McCallion, who was acting pastor of the parish. Father McCallion was given a wonderful reception after Judge Boyle extolled his oratorical and executive ability. In a splendid speech Father McCallion paid a glowing tribute to Dean Fitzgerald, the subject of the evening's testimonial.
James F. Lennon was the principal speaker for the occasion. Already famed for his ability as an orator, Mr. Lennon probably gave his best talk last night. It was a tribute to the new Dean and the members of the Catholic clergy and Sisters of Mercy.
In his remarks Mr. Lennon told of the
duties of a priest, of his mission and his value to the community. To the good sisters a glowing tribute was also paid by the speaker. Mr. Lennon also lauded the public school
system and explained the principles of the parochial school. His reference to the 312
Immaculate Conception members who fought in the war for Democracy evoked a storm of applause. To the late and
lamented Monsignor Mulligan Mr. Lennon offered a deserved tribute. In the course of his address the
Turning to Dean Fitzgerald Mr. Lennon extended to him a warm welcome after which he presented the pastor with a large basket of beautiful flowers, a gift of the ladies of the parish.
Mayor Charles H. Ellis was warmly received and in a splendid talk the city's chief executive turned over the keys of the city. The Mayor's talk was punctuated with witty remarks concerning the "suburb of Philadelphia".
The Mayor said that the great day had arrived when religious strife was no more and creeds were united for one common cause.
With much feeling Dean Fitzgerald told of his appreciation of the great honor. He was visibly affected by the testimonial, but modestly stated that he considered it not only a reception to him, but to the members of the Catholic clergy.
Dean Fitzgerald assured all that he was glad to come to Camden and he asked the hearty co-operation of his parishioners. He turned and gazed over the members of the reception committee seated on the stage and told how happy he was that men like former Senator Baird, County Clerk Patterson, Mayor Ellis and other big men of the city and county were present to do him honor.
After the reception in the Lyceum Dean Fitzgerald adjourned to the parlor of the Lyceum where he met members of the parish and other friends. He stood under a canopy of flowers and colored electric lights.
The guard of honor was
comprised of fifty-fourth degree Knights of Columbus.
Unable to be present, because of previous engagements, Rev. Leon K. Willman, pastor of the Broadway M. E. Church, and Rev. Edwin F. Hann, of First M. E. Church, sent letters of regret in which they wished the new pastor success in his new fields of labor.
Success of last night's eventful
occasion can be attributed to Rev. Francis J.
This morning the church reception was held with a solemn high mass, which was sung by Dean Fitzgerald. F ather Whelan was deacon, Father Hennig, sub-deacon, and Father Shay, master of ceremonies. Father McCallion delivered a splendid sermon for the occasion and the singing of the altar boys was very fine. William H. Lorigan presided at the organ.
Children of the parish this afternoon tendered a reception to the new pastor. The altar boys will present Dean Fitzgerald with an enlarged and framed likeness of himself.
Camden Courier-Post - June 2, 1932
W. Kobus - Holy
Name Roman Catholic Church - Church
of the Sacred Heart
Ss. Peter and Paul's Roman Catholic Church - Church of the Immaculate Conception
Camden Courier-Post * February 8, 1938
CHURCH BENEFITS IN WILL
The major portion of a $10,000 and upwards estate is left to religious organizations in the will of Miss Gertrude L. Higgins, of 718 Market Street, which was filed for probate in the office of Surrogate Frank B. Hanna yesterday.
Miss Higgins died in Cooper Hospital on January 24. She was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Higgins. After making bequests to relatives, friends and the church organizations, Miss Higgins directed that the residue be given to the Church of The Immaculate Conception. The Camden Safe Deposit And Trust Company is named executor.
The bequests listed in the will follow: .
Bridie Lucy Richter, cousin, Camden, all personal effects, including household goods, books, silverware and jewelry and $1000; Rose Faigan Lodge, aunt, Philadelphia, $1000; Agnes Evans Huber, cousin, Woodlynne, $200 ; Mrs. Sarah Ostertag, friend, Camden, $200; Margaret Higgins Webb, Albany, N. Y., $20; Rose Higgins, Albany, $20; Eugene Higgins, cousin, Albany, $20; Joseph Higgins, cousin, Albany, $20.
Many Religious Requests
Property 718 Market Street, to be sold and the proceeds distributed as follows: one-third to Rev. Sylvester Eisermann, in trust for St. Paul's Indian Mission, Marty, South Dakota; one-third to Rev. Edward Berheide, in trust for The Little Flower Indian school, St. Michael, North Dakota; one-third to Rev. Joseph Maguire, in trust for The Society for the Protection of Destitute Roman Catholic Children, Buffalo, N. Y.
The Catholic Home for Orphans at Hopewell, $500; property 218 North Brown street, Gloucester, New Jersey, to be sold and the proceeds distributed as follows: one-third to The Society of The Divine Word of Techno, Illinois, to be used for the education of young men for the priesthood; one-third to the school sisters of Notre Dame Motherhouse, Baltimore, to be used to educate young ladies to become school sisters of Notre Dame; one-third to Mother M. Teresa, in trust for Mt. St. Mary's, Plainfield.
Property 806 Birch Street, to be sold and the proceeds to be distributed as follows: one-third to Mother M. Evangelista, in trust for St. Joseph's Home for the Blind; one-third to Mother Regina, in trust for St. Joseph’s Home for Girls, Seventh and Spruce streets, Philadelphia; one-third to Father Superior, Detroit, In trust for Mariannhill Mission, to be used for the education of young men for the priesthood.
Edna Lodge, cousin, Philadelphia, $20; Lewis Lodge, cousin, Philadelphia, $20; Dominican Sisters of The Perpetual Rosary, Haddon avenue, $1000; Catholic Home for the Aged, Beverly, $500; the Commissariat of the Holy Land, Franciscan Monastery, Washington, $1000; the Sulpician Fathers of Washington, $500; Father Louis Pastorelli, Baltimore, $500 to be used to educate young men for the priesthod.
The Capuchin Fathers, Yonkers, N. Y., to spread the faith among the Negro and Indian Missions, $500; Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration, Clyde, Mo., to educate young women to become nuns, $300; Jesuit Martyr's Shrine, Auriesville, N. Y., $100; Father Patrick O'Boyle, of St. Joseph's Union, New York, to feed and clothe orphans, $100; The Church of The Immaculate Conception, Camden, residue.
Elizabeth Mary Brain, who died January 2, left an estate of $14,000 to Elvie E. Colmer, a daughter, of Beach Haven, and Alton I. Gilman, a son, of 312 Mechanic Street.
Ethel Horner Garwood, of Salem, and Maurice W. Horner, of Medford, were left the $14,000 estate of their father, William M. Horner. He died November 23, 1937.
The will of Almeda G. Lippincott, who died January 17, bequeaths an estate of $19,500 to Charlotte E. Lippincott, a daughter, and Jacob Lippincott, a son, both of Stratford. Wearing apparel, furniture and jewelry were left to Mayor Royden K. Lippincott, her husband who was named executor.
Burleigh B. Draper, former vice president of the First Camden National Bank and Trust Company, is named sole heir to the $6000 estate of his wife, Mrs. Ruby MacDonald Draper, who died January 22.
James M. Gardner, who died January 19 leaves a $2100 estate to his wife, Anna M. Gardner, of 619 State Street.
|Article written noting the Silver Jubilee of Father J. Joseph McCallion's service in the priesthood, written around 1941-1942.|
By Mr. Daniel P. McConnell, Staff Writer Courier-Post Newspapers
Pilfering a few minutes of the newspapers's time before starting our chores covering the court house offices and courts on one morning some 25 years ago we were sipping a malted milk in Hinski's drugstore.
Gerald, the store's drug clerk and auxiliary soda jerker, confided that a new curate had been assigned to the venerable Church of the Immaculate Conception. That wasn't particularly hot news. We had seen several curates arrive and leave. Most of them stayed a year or two. Three years was a record.
This reporter was a parishioner of the Holy Name Church. However, as a youngster we went to Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception before our own parish was established by the revered Rev. Thomas J. Whelan.
It wasn't many weeks before the older fellows who frequented Hinski's drugstore were talking about this newly appointed curate at the Church of the Immaculate. He was a fine-looking young priest, they said. He was an orator. His sermons were masterpieces. they added.
So on one balmy Sunday morning this curious reporter learned that this brilliant young priest was to speak at the 10:30 a. m. Mass. To Mass at the Immaculate Conception parish we went. It was the holy season of Lent.
The sermon we heard that morning on the Crucifixion was the most moving, dramatic and finest we ever heard. Women, young and old, dabbed eyes with handkerchiefs. Strong men sobbed unashamed. This perhaps cocky reporter, who only a short time before witnessed his first execution at the New Jersey State prison, was moved to tears.
That young priest and silver-voiced orator was the Rev. Francis J.
McCalion. We shortly made his acquaintance. Ours has been a lasting friendship down through the years. Father McCallion set a record when he stayed
five years at the Church of the Immaculate
Conception, now the Cathedral of the beloved first bishop of the
Father McCallion's five-year assistant pastorship was saddened by the passing of the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Bernard J. Mulligan. The death of the beloved pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception was mourned by Catholics, Protestants and Jews alike.
This reporter was operating the telephone branch exchange at
Cooper Hospital when Father McCallion gave
the sad news that Dean Mulligan had gone to his heavenly reward.
The scholarly Rev. Dr. William J. FitzGerald was named to succeed Dean Mulligan.
Father McCallion's name as an orator was heralded throughout South Jersey and his services as a speaker on the history of New Jersey were much in demand. As a member of the Catholic Lecture Guild of America he was called to speak in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, Baltimore and many other cities.
With all his speaking engagements and parish duties he found time to teach Greek in the newly-built Camden Catholic High School, which stands as a monument to the memory of Dean FitzGerald.
This ambitious and tireless young priest was made a member of the Camden Rotary Club, the first priest to receive such an honor in Camden.
The Camden Rotarians, unknown to Father McCallion, took up a private subscription to purchase an automobile which was presented to him with a fitting ceremony.
Father McCallion also took an active interest in the welfare and activities of students of Camden Catholic High School. He was chaplain of Camden Council, Knights of Columbus.
One Camden newspaper writer, commenting on Father McCallion's hobby wrote as follows:
Indoors, you'll find him in a nook,
Then came a dark, rainy day. The telephone in our cramped editor's office rang. Father McCallion has been transferred to Perth Amboy, we were told.
We didn't have a chance to snake hands and say farewell. Thousands of South Jersey citizens regretted his transfer.
When our beloved Bishop Eustace came to Camden Father McCallion was in his party. Hundreds of people crowded around the Cathedral rectory. As the one-time young curate tried to reach the rectory porch he was literally surrounded. An old lady kissed his hand. Others embraced him. His name was passed from person to person. He, too was being given a reception by former parishioners who had not forgotten him.
A Perth Amboy newspaper carried this editorial, which is herewith repeated in part:
"Perth Amboy loses a valued citizen and a faithful servant of the church by the departure of Rev. Francis J. McCallion, who leaves St. Mary's parish to assume charge of his own parish at Pleasantville .... Coming to this city from Camden nearly four years ago Father McCallion has made a host of friends among all classes, creeds and denominations .... His success in his new field of religious labor goes without saying. Perth Amboy offers congratulations and best wishes."
So we in Camden who can call you friend say, God bless you Father McCallion. We, too offer congratulations and best wishes on your silver Jubilee as a worker in the vineyard of Jesus Christ.
Camden Courier-Post * August 15, 1945
|Camden County Record - July 10, 1969|
Cathedral Club In Drive For More Members
A newly-formed social organization with lofty ideals devoted in general at community awareness is extending an invitation to all men living in the Camden area to join in a common bond of friendship.
The group is named the Cathedral Social Club with Joseph Marchese, president; Dr. Frank Bufanio, vice president; Robert B. Burke, secretary, and Albert J. Gruber, treasurer.
While outlining the aims of the group, Marchese said, "The invitation to join is to all men living in and around the community. We are seeking men who are earnestly interested in the welfare of our neighbors and their families.
"Here is where men of all ages, creed or nationality may join in common bond to help create a more friendly spirit not only with each other but also others with whom they come in contact at work, at home or wherever they may be."
Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 8 p.m. in the Immaculate Conception Cathedral rectory basement, 642 Market Street, Camden, N. J.
A club official stated the meetings are educational, constructive and interesting, and where questions may be asked or a problem submitted in writing if it is the questioner's wish. There are no dues attached to membership. After adjournment, refreshments are served by the entertainment committee for the enjoyment of members who find delight in a friendly night out.
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