About Us

St. Stephen Protomartyr Church was established in 1907 by a group of Hungarian immigrants. Among its Founding Fathers were Stephen Zackar, Ferenc Becza, Kalman Balajthy, Emery Sule, Kalman Noszko, John Berta  and Joseph Szup. The first Holy Mass was celebrated on December 5, 1906 ( at St. Mary’s )  by St. Stephen’s first pastor – Rev. Victor von Kubinyi. The certificate of incorporation was signed by the Bishop of Trenton, Most Rev. James McFaul and the construction of the building itself was done by Charles Eppinger and his company at the cost of $2987.00 ( includes the church furniture and the organ )… The church was made entirely of wood. The Bishop dedicated the church on April 1, 1907 at the first Mass offered in it. The rectory was erected a few years later at the cost of $1887.00. On February 9, 1921 ( Ash Wednesday ), the church was destroyed by fire. The same year,  the construction of the new – present church edifice was finished at the cost of $19,987.00. In April 1942, Fr. Alexander Bor initiated the building of the garage and a fence around the property at the cost of $600.00. The landscaping, renovations and redecoration of the interior of the church were also done at his time in the office. Beautiful stained glass windows were installed by Hiemer Company of Paterson, N.J. and the Hammond organ was installed as well. Appointed as Pastor in 1949, Fr. Joseph Vadas re-decorated the church, with numerous renovations done at the same time. The main Tridentine altar was designated by Pope Pius XII as “Altare Privilegiatum.”  In June 1950, Fr. Albert Poor came to                the parish. In 1961, the congregation peaked 451 families, with 298 children in its CCD program. The Sisters of Divine Charity from Hungary served at Saint Stephen’s from 1942 to 1955. In 1956, Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul came to the parish, serving it until 1976. During Fr. Poor’s pastorate various improvements were made to the church and its grounds.  The basement of the church was remodeled and made the Parish Center. A parking lot was added. The interior of the church was painted and its exterior was covered in stone. Fr. Poor retired in 1987.  During Fr. Glenn Comandini’s pastorate, a monthly Seniors Luncheon was introduced and the church renovation was done ( included new sanctuary furniture, new carpeting, new doors ), Confession Room, a  complete painting of the church’s interior plus a new marble altar & pulpit, dedicated in August 1995. A relic of St. Maria Goretti was placed inside one of   the altar’s columns. The statue of the sanctuary angels and that of St. Stephen Protomartyr were purchased for the church and in 1996 new pew cushions and kneeler pads were installed.  During  Fr. Maciej Melaniuk’s pastorate ( 1998 – 2002 ) a new air-condition system was installed in the church and a parish banner was purchased. In 2006, the parish had 195 active families with 33 children in its CCD program.  On September 23, 2007 the 100 anniversary of Saint Stephen’s was celebrated with a solemn Mass offered by Most Rev. Paul Bootkoski,  the Bishop of Metuchen, concelebrated by Saint Stephen’s new Pastor, Fr. John J. Szczepanik and other priests. The liturgy was followed by a Parish Anniversary Banquet.

The following are the pastors, who served at St. Stephen Protomartyr Church during its 108-years’ history: Fr. Victor Von Kubinyi ( 1907-1910 ), Fr. William Gilfilin ( 1910-1912 ),          Fr. Paul Csizmadia ( 1912-1915 ), Fr. John Szabo ( 1915-1917 ), Fr. Alex Rogovsky ( 1917-1921 ), Fr. Albert Bela Szmolgia ( 1921 ), Fr. Louis Thomas ( 1921-1922 ), Fr. Alexander Kiss          ( 1922 ), Fr. Ladislaw Csanyi ( 1922-1928 ), Fr. Emery Kasztovszky ( 1928-1930 ), Fr. Joseph Szabo ( 1930-1937 ), Fr. Leoplold Mosonyi ( 1937-1939 ), Fr. Alexander Bor ( 1939-1949 ), Fr. Joseph Vadas ( 1949-1950 ), Fr. Albert Poor ( 1950-1987 ), Fr. Sergio Reyes ( 1987-1992 ), Fr. Glen Comandini ( 1992-1998 ), Fr. Maciej Melaniuk ( 1998-2002 ), Fr. George Pisanello ( 2002-2006 as administrator ), Fr. Stanley Gromadzki ( 2006-2007 as administrator ) and Fr. John J. Szczepanik ( August 1, 2007 – present ).

Saint Stephen offered services in both, English and Hungarian until 1974. We still offer one Mass in Hungarian every year ( in September ) on the occasion of the Feast of St. Stephen of Hungary. On December 9, 2007 – the ministry in Spanish was founded by the Church’s Pastor, Fr. John J. Szczepanik.

On July 25, 2009 – a newly built outside Chapel of Our Lady of Mariapocs was dedicated during a solemn ceremony presided by His Excellency Most Rev. Paul Bootkoski, Bishop of Metuchen. The construction of the chapel was donated by our faithful parishioners Ann and Helen Csabay in loving memory of their parents Joseph and Sophie Csabay.

On November 7, 2010 – our statue of Saint Stephen of Hungary, made in Poland, was installed during a solemn Mass presided by the same bishop. It was a loving gift of Ann and Helen Csabay.

We offer the following Sunday services:  Mass in English ( Saturday at 5:00 p.m. + Sunday at 8:30 a.m. & 10:00 a.m. ) and Mass in Spanish ( Saturday at 8:00 p.m. + Sunday at 11:30 a.m. & 4:00 p.m. )

The following organizations are active in the parish:  Altar-Rosary Society, Holy Name Society, Seniors organization, Parish Council, Finance Council, Junta Hispana ( Hispanic Ministry Council ), Youth Group, Hungarian-American Society, St. Stephen’s Mexican Folkloric Dance Ensemble, three “Hermandades,” two St. Stephen’s Ecuadorian Dance Ensembles, Altar-servers, 3 parish choirs and a children’s choir.

We also offer a variety of spiritual and non-spiritual activities: please – see the “ACTIVITIES” section

SHRINE of Our Lady of Mariapocs is located on the left side of the church. Its beautiful image of Our Lady came directly from Her main Shrine in Hungary. The floor came from Peru,    the two angels from Mexico, the statue of a praying girl from Belgium, two main pillars from the Dominican Republic and the arrangement of lovely wooden tulips from Holland. There is a very small shrine of Jesus located on the front part of the roof – a gift from Fr. John’s sister, Malgorzata Przewoznik from Poland.  Our Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapocs is accessible       24 hours a day – 7 days a week, and well illuminated at night.

Since Fr. John’s arrival in the parish ( August 1, 2007 ) and under the Lord’s protection, the following major works have been done on our parish property:  * construction of the new roof on the church, * construction of the new roof on the rectory, * construction of the new roof on the parking garage, * complete renovation of the Parish Center, * renovation of        the rectory’s basement, * installation of new flooring in the rectory, * removal of black mold at the rectory, * melioration of the grounds around the rectory, * construction of  the above mentioned Chapel of Our Lady of Mariapocs, * purchase & installation of the above mentioned statue of St. Stephen of Hungary, * continuous increase in our parish membership ( from 190 active families in 2007 to 349 in the year 2015 ) & a steady increase in our CCD enrollment ( 124 children in the school year 2014/15 ), * establishment of the ministry in Spanish.

We warmly welcome all visitors. If you wish to talk to Fr. John during your visit, please call us at 732-257-0100 or at 732-766-3452 – Fr. John is always available for you at these two telephone numbers.

Our Parish Office hours: Monday – Friday from 10:00 a.m, to 4:00 p.m. On Wednesdays, the office is closed. However, you can contact and visit us any day and time upon request.

* Regardless of where you live – you can become one of the Honorary Members of Saint Stephen’s – a Small Parish with a Big Heart.

God bless you, and thank you for visiting our website!