Discover St Lawrence
Who We Are
We are the Catholic Community of St Lawrence, where Catholics of Weehawken, NJ come together each week as a family of faith.
Our Mission & Vision
Saint Lawrence is a parish family united as disciples of Jesus. We welcome all to our community of faith. Our goal is to share and foster the gospel values of worship, charity, justice and service.
We individually uncover and discover a distinctive spirituality as we live out the journey of life.
Saint Lawrence is also a stewardship parish where we generously share God’s gifts.
Much has changed in Weehawken, and in Hudson County, since the earliest days of the parish. The influx of immigrants and others attracted by the industry of the area caused the parish to grow rapidly in its early days. Later, in the decades after World War II, shifts in population patterns and the construction of the Lincoln Tunnel in the 1930s nearly forced St. Lawrence to close permanently as it approached its half-century mark. Fortunately, throughout its history, the church has been blessed with priests of extraordinary dedication, guidance and strength as well as loyal generous and persistent parishioners.
St Lawrence Church was probably named in honor of Father Lawrence, CP who celebrated the first Mass in the City of Weehawken in a storefront on Park Avenue in 1883. Before that time, the Catholics had to travel some distance to attend Mass because there was no Catholic church in Weehawken. Some climbed the old zigzag road up the side of the Palisades to St Michael’s Monastery Church in West Hoboken, some chose to take the horse car on old Bullsferry Road to Our Lady of Grace Church in Hoboken. Many regularly crossed over to downtown Manhattan on the ferry from lower Hoboken to St Peter’s Church on Barclay Street.
By the year 1883, the center of population in Weehawken was the First Ward, and Catholics there increased in number to such an extent that a Catholic church became an absolute necessity. In response to an appeal to St Michael’s Monastery for a priest, Father Lawrence was sent. The practice of having a visiting priest was continued until 1886, when on October 27, St Lawrence Parish was founded.
They chose the corporate title, St Lawrence Catholic Church, Weehawken, NJ. The patron saint of the parish, St Lawrence, was a deacon of Rome in the third century under Pope St Sixtus II. Venerated since earliest times as the most celebrated Roman martyr, his feast day is celebrated on August 10th.
The first pastor of the new parish, Rev. John J Murphy, was appointed on December 1, 1886. He said his first Mass in Weehawken on December 19, 1886, in Bedford’s Hall, which was used as a temporary chapel until a church could be built.
The cornerstone of St Lawrence Church was laid by the Right Rev Bishop Wigger on March 20, 1887, and the church was dedicated by him on August 21st of the same year.