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St. Anthony of Padua Church, North Caldwell, N.J. - Traditional Latin Mass


This site is not an official website of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Click here to visit the SSPX home page.
St. Anthony of Padua Mission is the Home of Traditional Catholicism in North Jersey. We are the faithful of the parish that was founded by the late Father Paul Wickens. St. Anthony of Padua, Hammer of Heretics, we beseech thee to intercede for us. Help us to restore the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Roman Catholic Church and Traditional Latin Mass.

Background and History of St. Anthony's Parish

St. Anthony of Padua Mission, currently located in North Caldwell, New Jersey, was founded by the faithful followers of the late Father Paul A. Wickens, former pastor of the church that was known as St. Anthony of Padua in West Orange, New Jersey. (To read about Father Wickens, his life, and his apostolate, please visit his memorial website.)

Father Wickens' wisdom, leadership, and perseverance were a source of great inspiration to his faithful followers for more than two decades. Over the years, the former St. Anthony's parish grew from a small group to a large, strong, and thriving Traditional Catholic congregation.

All of that changed on July 8, 2004, when Father Paul Wickens passed away after a 6-month fight with cancer.

Those who knew Father Paul Wickens for 10, 15, 20 years or more — and who listened to his sermons every Sunday — remember quite vividly his warnings about the Novus Ordo church. Father Wickens repeatedly warned about the loss of faith and extreme danger to our souls — and to our children's souls — that would result from ongoing association with the Novus Ordo church. He was gravely concerned about the ongoing and widespread homosexual influence that has infested the priesthood and rocked the modern church with its scandals. Constantly warning the faithful members of his flock, Father Wickens particularly singled out the Newark Archdiocese (see file download "Silent No More").

In November 2004, the management (the "Board of Directors") of the West Orange property appointed a new pastor, an employee of the Newark Archdiocese — the same corrupt diocese that Father Wickens had warned against for many years. This appointment was in utter contradiction to Father Wickens' last 20 years of public ministry, and against his explicit wishes for his Chapel (see file download "Cordaro certification") to become a part of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX).

The appointed pastor subsequently brought in other diocesan priests to the West Orange church. Under this atmosphere of scandal and secrecy — and with the corrupt Newark Archdiocese given spiritual control of the former St. Anthony's parish — it was the last straw for the faithful of that congregation. We knew it was time for us to be in a truly Roman Catholic parish with complete fidelity to the traditional Mass, dogma, and unchanging Magisterium of the eternal Roman Catholic Church.

And so, to carry out Father Wickens' wishes and honor his memory, St. Anthony of Padua Mission of the SSPX was established in Fairfield, New Jersey, and moved to North Caldwell, New Jersey, in August 2006. We invite all faithful Traditional Roman Catholics — and all Catholics who are curious about the eternal and unchanging traditions of the Church — to join us in celebrating the Roman Catholic Traditional Latin Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Mission.

 

The Truth About the Changes at St. Anthony's in West Orange

Why did hundreds of faithful parishioners leave St. Anthony's in West Orange?
  • St. Anthony’s was established as an independent Traditional Roman Catholic Church — i.e., not affiliated with the Archdiocese.

  • The Board of Directors — contrary to its written correspondence of August 15, 2004, and its repeated verbal assurances to countless parishioners — appointed a diocesan priest as "pastor" of the church in West Orange. Despite what some may have been led to believe, this priest reports directly to the Archdiocese — call the Archdiocese and ask them yourself.

  • Hundreds of faithful parishioners strongly disagreed with the actions taken by the Board — and so they left.

So what's so terrible about bringing in diocesan priests?
  • Anyone who follows the news knows about the appalling and staggering homosexual/pedophile scandals infesting the modern Church.

  • Father Paul Wickens was one of the few courageous priests to speak out against this horrific scandal. The parishioners who left wanted nothing to do with a corrupt Archdiocese.

Didn't the Board of Directors say that it wasn't handing over the property to the Newark Archdiocese?
  • Whether or not the property is in the possession of the Archdiocese, few would argue that the spiritual direction of the West Orange church is now in the hands of the Archdiocese and its Novus Ordo priests. These are priests whose vocations were formed under "the spirit of Vatican II" and its ambiguous, distorted view of the Catholic Faith.

  • In sermon after sermon, Father Paul Wickens decried the corruption (both spiritual and moral) of the Newark Archdiocese. He repeatedly warned his faithful to avoid the Novus Ordo and its influences. "Remember," he said, "if you hang around with smokers, you'll end up smoking."

  • The Board members think that they negotiated a great deal because they still (for now) control the property. They just don't get it: lay-controlled churches are not Catholic! Period!

  • An interesting question: Why would the Archdiocese supply priests for St. Anthony's when there is a shortage of priests? What do they hope to gain? Or do they just want their "foot in the door," in the hope of eventually gaining full control? (By the way, if the property is eventually sold to the Archdiocese, who will receive the $2-3 million for which the property undoubtedly will sell?)

Isn't it true that the Board appointed a diocesan priest because no other priests were available?
  • No! According to the Board, the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) offered a priest for two years with "no strings attached." The Board chose to reject that offer — purportedly because the SSPX priest would not physically reside in the rectory. (Ironically, it is our understanding that the rectory at the West Orange church — after extensive and costly "renovations" — is still not occupied by the Archdiocesan pastor.)

  • By rejecting the SSPX offer, the Board also eliminated the possibility of the SSPX establishing a traditional elementary school at the West Orange church, something for which Father Wickens had often hoped.

Why didn't Father Wickens just decide what to do with St. Anthony’s?
  • The West Orange church was established as a religious corporation under New Jersey law, Title 16. Because of this legal structure, Father Wickens could not legally determine its future — only a legally-elected Board of Directors could make those decisions.

What would Father Wickens have done?
  • Some say that Father Wickens would have wanted to stay independent; some say that he would have wanted to turn the chapel over to the SSPX. In the last four months of his life, Father seemed to vacillate between these options.

  • There are, however, countless parishioners who would testify that Father Wickens, in his final days, told them in no uncertain terms that he wanted the West Orange church turned over to the SSPX, "lock, stock, and barrel" — because, as Father said, "they are the only ones who can guarantee the stability and continuity of the Chapel." In an interview, Father Wickens clearly expressed his desire for St. Anthony's to affiliate with the SSPX upon his death.

  • Father Wickens reportedly handwrote a "Last Wishes for the Chapel" in March 2004, in which he stated unambiguously that the West Orange church and all properties were to be turned over to the SSPX upon his death. This document was legally witnessed by Father John Cordaro (see Father's statement) and several other eyewitnesses. The present location of the "Last Wishes" document is unknown.

Didn't the Board of Directors play a tape in which Father Wickens supposedly said he wanted John Perricone (of the Newark Archdiocese) to "take over"?
  • Many who listened to that tape believe that it was extensively edited. Why were parishioners not permitted to hear the entire tape, rather than just edited excerpts?

  • In that tape, Father Wickens NEVER said that Fr. Perricone was his one, "hand-picked" successor.

  • If Fr. Perricone was Father Wickens' "good friend," as has been suggested, why did Father Wickens never once mention his name to any of us? Where was Fr. Perricone when Father Wickens desperately needed a priest to say Mass in the months before he died? Where was Fr. Perricone at Father Wickens' funeral Mass? There were many priests who filled in over the years for Father Wickens, but never Fr. Perricone.

The Board said that it did what Father Wickens would have wanted.
  • Those who knew Father Wickens for 10, 15, 20 years or more knew that he had utter contempt for the ongoing corruption in the Newark Archdiocese: it had maligned and impugned his good name for years. The Archdiocese called Father (and his flock) schismatic, disobedient, and worse. Their false praise for him, now that he is dead, is reprehensible, diabolically opportunistic, and a disgrace to Father's memory.

  • Those who knew Father well, knew that he NEVER would have entrusted the souls of his flock to the corrupting influences of the "Newchurch." The simple fact is this: Father Wickens could have "reconciled" with the Archdiocese at any time prior to his death, had he desired to do so — but he rejected their terms as too modernistic and unacceptable.


"Boiling the Frog Slowly" — Fr. Paul Wickens frequently used this metaphor
to explain the gradual erosion of doctrine in the modern church.

 

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