OLC PAST & PRESENT
OLC (Our Lady of Czestochowa Roman Catholic Church) is part of Jersey City’s Historic Paulus Hook District. The land on which the church is located was part of the property purchased by the Associates of the Jersey Company in 1804. In 1830, the Company gave land to the congregation of St. Matthew’s Protestant Episcopal Church for its place of worship. The original building opened in 1831. The church was destroyed by fire in December 1869. The church was quickly rebuilt and reopened for services in 1870.
In the early part of the 1900s, as this area of Jersey City became more industrialized and populated by immigrants, the congregation of St. Matthew’s declined and the parish closed.
In 1905, the church building was purchased by St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, one mile away, since that Polish parish could not accommodate the number of immigrants then in the area. St. Matthew’s became Our Lady of Czestochowa Roman Catholic Church, a name taken from a shrine in Poland that houses a beloved icon of the Virgin Mary. A copy of that icon is displayed in the central area of our church. For many years both St. Anthony’s and OLC served the Polish speaking Catholic population of downtown Jersey City.
In 1995, the mission of OLC evolved to reflect the dramatic changes taking place on the waterfront. Since that time, OLC has become a truly “international parish” serving the new and varied population of the area and parishioners of all ages from the USA and around the world.
OLC is often viewed as the “community church” since it has become a vital and active part of the neighborhood and its doors are open to all who seek to grow in their relationship with God.
In addition to providing for the spiritual needs of its parishioners, OLC sponsors two fine schools that serve educational and spiritual needs of the children of the neighborhood, namely, The OLC School and the Little Harbor Academy.
During recent years, a tremendous amount of work has been done to maintain and improve the parish’s historic church and its other four buildings. However, the most important work taking place is not the renovation of a building, but rather the creation of a faith community that joyfully proclaims God’s love to all on the waterfront.