St. Paul Church
Constructed in 1955-1956 on the site of the previous church building, the present church of St. Paul Parish is an example of modern American-Gothic Architecture. The edifice was conceived, designed and supervised by architect and parishioner, Thomas Henry Moran. Mount Airy granite from North Carolina and Indian limestone trim were selected as the exterior materials for their durability and lasting beauty. The tower reaches 88 feet heavenward and houses five bells. Three of the bells were cast in bronze at the Paccard Foundry in Annecy, France and were installed by Professor Arthur L. Bigelow of Princeton, who also donated one of the bells dedicated to St. Vincent DePaul. In front of the church stands a ten foot Carrara marble statue of St. Paul holding his scroll of Epistles and his sword of the Spirit to guard the faith. Sculptured at the Armando Battelli Studios, Pietrasanta, Italy, the statue is a gift of John McShane, whose company was the general contractor.
The Altar is the focal point of the interior of the Church and all appointments are designed to enhance the celebration of the Eucharist. The marble in the St. Paul Church came from the quarries and studios of Moreno Tedeschi located in Pietrasanta, Italy. The predella or platform before the altar is of Red Levanto marble. It supports the altar which is made of tan Botticino marble. Attached to the front panel of the altar are symbols of the Eucharist and St. Paul. Attached to the rear wall of the Church and rising twenty-seven feet is the reredos. Two columns .of Portoro marble frame the center slab of coral which supports a thirteen-foot oak cross with an eight-foot lindenwood corpus of Christ by the noted New York wood carver Henry Burretta. The crucifix is outlined in Venetian gold mosaic. Above all is a carved tester or crown revealing symbols of the Holy Spirit and the Savior. The side altars are constructed in much the same manner as the main altar but in miniature. Botticino marble is used in the pulpit with a slab of Portoro in the center supporting the two slabs of marble upon which are numbered the ten Commandments. The altar rail is a combination of Portoro and Botticino marbles harmonizing with the marbles used in the construction of the altars.
Selected for atmosphere and minimum of upkeep the interior walls are of Indiana lime stone; the trusses are laminate; the aisles are of quarry tile; the floors of terrazzo. The reconciliation rooms are located on the side walls were recently renovated to provide the opportunity for face to face in addition to the traditional screen. In the rear, a shrine in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Anthony and Padre Pio has been incorporated for the devotion of the faithful. Small shrines to the Sacred Heart and St. Theresa of the Little Flower of Jesus adorn the wall separating the vestibule from the nave of the church.
Before the old Church was torn down, the stained glass windows, the Stations of the Cross, the St, Joseph Altar, the Baptismal Font, the 1919 bell and the altar furnishings were removed for use in the new Church. In keeping with a tradition in which something of the old Church is incorporated into the new, the main altar and the Blessed Virgin Mary Altar were crushed and mixed into the concrete poured into the foundation of the new Church.
The Stain Glass Windows
The stained glass windows in St. Paul Church were designed and executed in Clifton, New Jersey, in the studios of Hiemer and Company. Twelve large three-panel side windows depict Christ’s life on earth, with the Blessed Mother appearing in most of the windows. The events shown are the Creation, the Nativity of Christ, the Presentation in the Temple, the Finding of the Boy Jesus in the Temple, the Wedding in Cana, the Sermon on the Mount, Christ Blessing Children, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Conversion of St. Paul and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The choir window contains the symbols taken from the Creed near the center, and in the seven panels underneath, the symbols of the seven sacraments. The two front vestibule windows contain symbols of St. Peter: the two crossed keys and the inverted cross upon which he was crucified, and St. Paul: the cross hilted sword with the book bearing the words “Spiritus Gladius”. The stain glass windows in the sanctuary are from the 1919 Church and depict various saints.
During the construction of the present St. Paul Church in 1955 -1956, the original parish organ commissioned in 1917 under the direction of Albert H. Rosewig, organist and choir director at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Philadelphia, built and installed by Haskell and Company of Philadelphia was removed from the old church and installed. Finally, due to wear and tear, and constant repair the 1917 organ ceased to function. Under the direction of Father DeMarcellis, the parish with the assistance of the Knights of Columbus from St. Paul Parish was able to purchase an organ which had been donated by J. William Leakin to the Peabody Conservatory of Music in 1925. It was renovated, rebuilt and installed in the choir loft under the direction of Robert E. Gladden. On October 22, 1984, Bishop John Reiss of Trenton presided at the Liturgy of Dedication. We are reminded by the Vatican Council that “the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up people’s minds to God.”
The Church Bells
After the completion of the new St. Paul Church on October 10, 1957, Father Edward C. Henry, Pastor, blessed the three bronze bells for the new belfry. Cast in bronze by the Paccard Foundry of Annecy, France, the bells were raised to the tower and hung by Arthur Bigelow, Princeton Carillonneur. The largest bell is the gift of St. Paul parishioners; the smallest one, dedicated to St. Vincent DePaul, is the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Bigelow. The re-tuned center bell was taken from the former 1870 church. In June 1964, two additional bells were added to the existing three bell peal.
The Eucharistic Chapel
The Eucharistic Chapel lies next to the Sanctuary. It was renovated in the summer of 2005. Glass doors were installed as well as a new ceiling and lighting. It contains a cross of St. Francis at San Damiano, the carved figure of Christ and the children, and a new carved wood statue of the Blessed Mother, all of which have come from Italy. The chapel is a serene and beautiful place for prayer and for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
The Remembrance Chapel
The Remembrance Chapel located in the bell tower off of the vestibule was the original location of the baptismal font. The baptismal font having been moved into the nave of the church, the area was renovated during the Year of St. Paul to be a place of remembering the faithful departed of St. Paul and it families. The chapel is adorn with memorial lights and the parish's Book of Remembrance. A hand made tapestry of Our Lady adds warmth and a reflective atmosphere.