The History of St. Michael's the Archangel, Passaic, New Jersey
The completion of the Dundee Canal in 1860 together with laying the first railroad on First Street in 1886 offered explanation for the number of factories and mills sprouting up in Passaic. This industrial “boom” attracted into the Passaic are for the first time Slavic immigrants from the farms and forests of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From December of 1879 through the next decade the number of Slavic immigrants continued to increase. Among these immigrants were a growing number of Catholics of the Byzantine Rite. These minority Catholics carried with them from their European homeland not only a hope and desire for a new-found prosperity, but also profound love and yearning for their beautiful, traditional Byzantine Rite.
However, they unfortunately found themselves in a new land without the benefit of a resident priest who could conduct services that were familiar to them, or administer the sacraments in ways that were particular to them. During this time, they sought spiritual comfort at St. Nicholas Church, then the sole Catholic Church in Passaic. This, however, was not their own Rite or their expression of worship. They longed for the Church of their homeland; they longed for the Church of their fathers; and, most importantly, they longed to be orphans no more.
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