110 Years Serving Hungarian Catholics - The Beacon — October 2, 2014
















St. Stephen Parish in Passaic – only Hungarian parish on East Coast – marks anniversary with visit from the bishop

PASSAIC St. Stephen Magyar Parish here celebrated its 110th anniversary with Bishop Serratelli as main celebrant of an anniversary Mass Sept. 20. Concelebrating the Mass with the Bishop was Father Laszlo Vas, St. Stephen’s administrator; Father Kevin Corcoran, the bishop’s priest/secretary; Father Stefan Las, pastor of Holy Rosary, Passaic; Msgr. Stanley Lesniowski, pastor of St. Joseph’s, Passaic; Father John Connolly, pastor of Sacred Heart and administrator of Ss. Cyril & Methodius, both in Clifton; Msgr. John Demkovich, diocesan mission director; and Father Steven Kaznica of SS. Peter & Paul Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Passaic
The 110-year old parish community was founded when Hungarians of the Roman rite became a growing presence in the city of Passaic along with immigrants from Poland and Slovakia, who had flocked here to work in the flourishing textile mills. It was in March 1903, the parish was incorporated and named for the first Christian king of Hungary.
Even after 110 years and changing demographics, the history of the parish continues to be written according to Father Vas. It is the only parish on the East Coast that serves Hungarian parishioners. The parish has a fulltime Hungarian priest, is a center for cultural activities of Hun gary and has several Masses said in the Hun gar ian language. About 350 families belong to St. Stephen’s following the tradition of their parents and grandparents.
“The average commute for our families is one and a half hours but the people are happy and dedicated to make this sacrifice. They sometimes belong to the local parishes where they live but still come to Sunday Mass at St. Stephen’s,” said Father Vas. “We have parishioners that come from South Jersey, Connecticut and New York because for them, this church is personal.” 
The bishop’s visit was part of a yearlong of events to mark the parish’s 110th anniversary. Two other bishops visited during the year — Bishop Ferenc Cserhati of Esztergom-Budapest Diocese and Bishop Laszlo Bocskei of Oradea Diocese, both in Hungary. In addition, Janos Ader the president of Hungary, visited the parish on Saturday, Sept. 27.
Father Vas said, “I consider myself just the fruit collector in the history of St. Stephen’s and the parish grew because of those who planted the seed and it keeps growing because of the many faithful parishioners. The parish is still alive and prospering and the 110th anniversary is a wonderful celebration to parish’s past and future.”