Father James F Johnson, beloved parish assistant for four years, is seen with part of the 1942 graduating class. Father Johnson is now pastor of St. Anthony's Parish, Northvale.
The Pastor and the People
Father McCartie, the pastor of St. Michael's and hence pastor of the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier, was a small, wiry man of great energy. In personal conversation he was affable, and in the pulpit he was a fair preacher. The mother church, St. Michael's, kept him from visiting the mission chapel too often. However, he managed to come to St. Francis every second Sunday of the month to urge generosity from his people toward the monthly collection. His favorite and frequently repeated remark was "And I do not want to hear it." He was known to hand back nickels and dimes to those whom he knew were not fulfilling their duty in support of the Church. The priests who did come regularly for the two Masses on Sunday, at eight o'clock and at nine-thirty, were Fathers Justine Cochran, Burke and Mechler. Due to the lack of a resident priest during the week, Mass was celebrated only on Sunday. For this reason the Blessed Sacrament as not reserved in the chapel tabernacle during the week.
In fact, this situation resulted in our' first parishioners receiving Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist in a very per sonalized way - the number of communicants had to be counted before each Mass, and only that number of hosts was consecrated. The seeds sown in those pre-parish days by our pioneer priests produced, in no small measure, part of the rich harvest that we reap now in the golden days of our fifty years' existence as a parish. In the year 1914 the small congregation had grown to approximately 60 families. Seventh Street was unpaved and Abington Avenue.
The pulpit of the original chapel had an interesting history. An early record puts it this way: "The pulpit which was donated by Reverend Isaac P. Whelan, rector of St. Patrick Cathedral, is prized as a relic of interesting associations. It was placed in the Cathedral 53 years ago by the Right Reverend James Roosevelt Bayley, the first Bishop of Newark, afterward Archbishop of Baltimore. It was occupied in succession to him by the Right Reverend Bernard McQuaid, now Bishop of Rochester, formerly Vicar-General of this Diocese, by Right Reverend M.A. Corrigan, subsequently translated to the Archdiocese
of New York, by Right Reverend Winand M. Wigger and by Right Reverend John J. O'Connor, the present Bishop of Newark. For a period of 40 years Right Reverend Monsignor Doane, pastor of the Cathedral preached from this pulpit."
Msgr. Dooling (current pastor of St. Francis Xauier Parish) and Father Patrick J. Owens came to the parish on the same day and were introduced to their new parishioners at a picnic on August 1, 1946. Father John P. Doraio is seen with them on that day.