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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On Saturday October 18, the St. Ladislaus Church held Mass and hosted a community gathering at the Hungarian American Athletic Club hall to celebrate the church’s 110th anniversary.
St. Ladislaus Church, located at 40 Plum Street, was founded in 1904 and falls under the leadership of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen. It has been a beacon of faith to the Hungarian community and other residents of New Brunswick since its founding.
During several waves of Hungarian immigration into New Brunswick, the church was an undeniable fixture in the lives of its parishioners in the forms of sermons, baptisms, marriage officiating ceremonies, and as the nexus of worship and safe haven for the struggling residents of New Brunswick eager to claim the American Dream for themselves and their family.
Recently, three churches fused into a single parish: St. Ladislaus, Sacred Heart, and St. Joseph parishes each merged into the new Holy Family Parish of New Brunswick, all three churches under the Diocese of Metuchen.
Considered as the best option for the consolidation of their resources, the Holy Family Parish continues to promote its focus on their diverse congregation in New Brunswick and surrounding parishes.
The current pastor of Holy Family Parish is Rev. Msgr. Joseph J. Kerrigan.
The Reverend Capistran L. Polgar, a Franciscan friar who led the congregation of St. Ladislaus for 18 years beginning 1994, was born just a short distance away from the church. He served until his retirement in 2013, at the age of 73.
Soon after the founding of the church, the St. Ladislaus School was opened in the year 1914, and instruction were provided by the nuns of the Maidens of Divine Love, for the education of Roman Catholic immigrants residing in New Brunswick.
Back then, there were nearly as many catholic schools as public schools in New Brunswick.
Other organizations, such as the Hungarian Museum, Hungarian Scouts, the Hungarian Reformed Church, the Hungarian American Athletic Club (HAAC) and the Hungarian Civic Association (HCA), helped to further establish and serve the Hungarian immigrant culture and promoted ethnic pride in the communities of New Brunswick and Greater New Brunswick.
Despite setbacks from the dwindling congregation and the movement of Hungarian immigrants to suburban housing, the Hungarian community has left a lasting mark in the landscape of New Brunswick that can never be forgotten, and have also provided the model for which future generations of Roman Catholic immigrants may be cast and excel in while aspiring in the journey for their own American Dreams.
St. Ladislaus Church, now called the Holy Family Parish, continues to set the example of what a Roman Catholic community, powered by faith and love, can accomplish despite the odds.