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Let's Celebrate a Hundred Years of History

Inside the basement of Holy Trinity Church, where services were held in its early years.

The whispers of a new community to be called Holy Trinity Parish were first heard in 1902 as the Order of the Most Holy Trinity preached God’s word to courageous Italian immigrants who were sharing the faith with the people of Star of the Sea Church.  In May 1904, the Rev. Isidor Cortese, an Italian priest, was assigned to Star of the Sea Chruch to administer to the needs of the Italian Catholics. By 1906 the Most Reverend Bishop James McFaul announced the formation of an independent National Parish in Long Branch, Holy Trinity Parish, which would meet the needs of the Italian people.

Although no priest resided at Holy Trinity until 1921, the needs of the people were served by generous men from the inception of the parish.  Father Cortese first served the spiritual needs of the small flock of 100 families until 1906, when Reverend John Prosseda arrived as Pastor with a mandate to give the people a place of worship.  Constuction began in June1907 and by 1908, an adequate House of Worship, now St. Joseph's Hall, was completed. In 1910 Father Prosseda was succeeded by Reverend Alex Petrone, who stayed until the arrival of Reverend Francis Fischer in 1912.

By 1916 the small, colorful Church was completed. The Schibell family recounts how the beloved Statue of Our Lady of Grace was brought from Italy, entering the United States at Perth Amboy and continuing on it's journey by ox cart to Holy Trinity Church. Now, the people whose roots were struck in the warm climate of Southern Italy now had a new church to which they brought their children. The first recorded Baptism is that of Henry Alfred Fiocca, who was baptized by Father John Prosseda on April 21, 1908. 

In 1921 Holy Trinity was assigned its first resident Pastor, Reverend Gerardo Cristiani.  Saints' Day Celebrations were held three times each summer: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, July 16th; the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15th; and the Feast Day of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8th.  Father Cristiani was Pastor for 28 years.  He returned to Italy in 1924 for a visit, during which time Reverend William J. Hickey ministered to our parishioners.  Father Cristiani pastored the ever-growing flock into the years of the Second World War. He retired in 1939. 

Reverend Emilio A. Cardelia replaced Father Cristiani, staying at Holy Trinity for two and one-half years.  He was assisted by Reverend Joseph Tomko, followed by Reverend Stephen Buividar. During Father Cardelia's time here, property was purchased on which the convent was built. Also during this time, the Maestre Pie Filippini (Religous Teachers Filippini) Sisters came to teach Catechism to the children of the parish.

Schoolchildren and the Filippini Sisters in front of the old School and Convent

Under Father Cardelia, the various church societies were organized and the Maestre Pie Filippini (Religious Teachers Filippini )Sisters came to teach Catechism to the children of the parish.  During this time,  Father Cardelia had two assistants, Reverend Joseph Tomko followed by Reverend Stephen Buividar.  During his brief stay Father Cardelia made many friends with whom he visited until his death. 

Reverend Gerald T. Celentana came to pastor the parish in June of 1941. Father Celentana was assisted by three priests: Reverend Joseph Donnelly, Reverned Nicholas Murphy, and Reverend James Cammisa. With the establishment of the convent, three sisters took residence ar Holy Trinity. Sister Superior Josephine Palmeggiano headed the small group. With her came Sister Mary and Sister Filomena.

Holy Trinity Church - Christmas, 1961

Father Celentana was succeeded by Reverend George Albano in June 1959. He was assisted by Reverend Joseph Doino. Together they serviced over 900 families. During their time at our Parish, Holy Trinity School was built.The school was dedicated June 1962. Father Doino became Pastor in 1970 and remained until 1974, when he was succeeded by Parish Administrator, Reverend Salvatore Livigni who served until 1979. During this time the Chapel of the Saints was constructed.

Fr. Albano is welcomed back to Holy Trinity

 

Reverend Frank Iazzetta came to Holy Trinity in1979 and remained until 1982. During this time Father Iazzetta stressed the importance of our Italian heritage and the need to incorporate the Directives of the Lay Participation as outlined by Vatican II.  By reviving some of our old traditions such as the Italian Festival dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, held July 1980, and creating a Lay Advisory Board, Father Iazzetta hoped to contemporize the Faith of Holy Trinity Parish and yet remain faithful to the rich traditions of her people.

Reverend Anthony Capitani served as administrator for a short time in 1982.

Reverend John Campoli served as Pastor from 1982-1991.  Under his leadership a preschool, Trinity Treasures, was founded. He also attracted a great many people to the Healing Masses that were held at Holy Trinity Parish.  Even after Father Campoli left, there was such a demand for these Healing services that Deacon Al Pacitti continued the healing ministry by presiding over the services

Reverend Monsignor Thomas N. Gervasio served as administrator from 1991-1995. Monsignor Gervasio was responsible for installing the Stations of the Cross.

Reverend Albert Riccardelli served as pastor from 1995-1998. During his time at Holy Trinity, a sacristy and a Prayer Garden were built.

Some concelebrants at the 2002 Celebration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (l to r): Rev. Msgr. Edward Strano (weekend assistant), Rev. Msgr. Thomas Gervasio (former administrator), Rev. Sam Sirianni (parish vocation), Rev. Al Riccardelli (former Pastor) and Rev. Anthony Sirianni (parish vocation)

 

Reverend Joseph N. Rosie served as pastor from September, 1998 to February, 2002. During his time the interior and exterior of the Church were renovated.

Rev. Daniel F. Swift came to Holy Trinity in 2002 and remained until 2005. During his time rennovations were completed to the interior of the Church, and rennovations to the interior and exterior of the Rectory, Convent, and School were begun. With the help of a host of parish volunteers, the Church and Convent grounds were landscaped. Father Dan also increased the number of altar servers, and began a Bereavement Ministry, a Children's Liturgy Committee, an Buildings and Grounds Committee, a Children's Choir, a St. Vincent DePaul Society, a Parish Pastoral Council, and a Juniior and High School CYO.

 

In October 2005, Reverend Garrett Fitzgerald became Holy Trinity's new Administrator.

Since its inception, Holy Trinity has been a vibrant parish. It has grown from a handful of families to over 1100 families. With God's Grace, we will continue to grow.