Our "outstanding example of ecclesiastical architecture"

Our "outstanding example of ecclesiastical architecture"

Journeys into Hackensack

Hackensack is a diverse place in many ways. There are many peoples. Neighbors vary. So does architecture. Some parts are so lovely and picturesque; others not so much.

Some of the city's buildings are iconic. The old Red Lion Inn, Oritani Field Club, Fox and Oritani Theaters and Packard-Bambergers may all be gone, but we can still drive by the Y, Sears, the old People's Trust Building (214 Main Street), and perhaps my personal favorite, Holy Trinity Church.

Iconic indeed. The parish dates back to the 1860's, and the church building to the 1920's.

A decade earlier architect Raphael Hume had designed Holy Trinity’s Rectory. So when plans for a new church came to fruition it was Hume who was chosen again.

What he created was this beautiful Romanesque Byzantine structure. With its eight Corinthian marble columns at the entrance, its octagonal dome and soaring apse, its pipe organ and beautiful stained glass windows, its impressive interior appointments, at once austere and ornate, Holy Trinity has been so well-maintained over the years that even today local newspapers acknowledged our church as “the outstanding example of ecclesiastical architecture in Bergen County.”

It was Monsiegneur Joseph J. Cunneely, Holy Trinity's long time pastor who presided over the construction. Sadly he died on June 30, 1929, just 28 days after seeing the church open.

In the history of the Hackensack/Teaneck area there have been three major eras of Catholic immigration. From 1845-1860 came the Irish and Germans; from 1890-1920 a large number of Italian, Polish, and other European families arrived; and since 1960 many Latin Americans have settled in the area.

In 1972, a Spanish speaking priest was added to the parish staff. In the intervening years increasing numbers of immigrants from South America have settled in the area. The Hispanic Committee, which has been in existence since 1975, was formed to answer their needs. Its members have worked very actively to promote the spiritual, social and material welfare of our newly arrived parishioners. By 1984 a monthly Mass was being offered in Spanish and a bilingual Mass was offered on Easter

From the mid-1990's a period of significant repairs and restoration to the church took place - including  a new roof and repair of leaky windows. The church was painted inside.

Another important element at the church is its pipe organ,  built by the Kilgen Organ Company. The company was founded by the Kilgen family in the Seventeenth Century (1640) in Germany. The family later immigrated to the United States and their church organs became known throughout the country. A example of their fine workmanship can still be found today in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The company came to an end in the late 1920’s.Holy trinity’s organ was put in place sometime between 1927 and 1929. Holy Trinity's organ pipes are still in use today. The console (keyboards) began to deteriorate through the years (wiring, cracked keys, etc.) and it finally needed to be replaced. A new console was put in place in 2001.

Holy Trintity has seen many changes around it. More are in store. It remains there as beautiful and as meaningful as ever - an integral part of the Hackensack community and skyline.