The Parish of Our Lady of the Angels was created in 2005 after a merger between St. Joachim and Immaculate Conception Church, both located in the city’s Chambersburg section of Trenton, New Jersey.
Franciscan Father Pietro Jachetti was the founding pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in 1875. In the late 1880s, Father Jachetti oversaw the construction of the neo-Gothic style church which continues today to stand as a monument in the City of Trenton. Father Jachetti was a native of Monteleone di Spoleto and was instrumental in ministering to the immigrants coming from the Valnerina of Umbria to Trenton in order to make a better life for themselves and to provide more adequately for the future of their families.
The German, Irish and Slavic communities that were already well established in Chambersburg recognized the sizable numbers of immigrants entering in their community. Challenges arose with overcrowding issues in the neighborhoods and there was tension between the national groups, as well as within the community. To minister to the new Italian arrivals, St. Joachim Parish was established in 1901 as a personal (national) parish and was charged to receive the immigrants primarily from Naples, Calabria, San Fele, as well as those from the Valnerina of Umbria. This mission was accomplished with the presence and ministry of the Maestre Pie Filippini (Religious Teachers Filippini) who, in 1910, were sent to live in the parish and teach the children of the burgeoning Italian community.
ABOUT OUR PARISH
The parish welcomed a group from Monteleone di Spoleto and tourists from Valnerina. Among the entourage of guests was Benedictine Father Cassian Folsom, founding prior of the Monastero di San Benedetto (Monastery of St. Benedict), Norcia, in the Umbria section of Italy and a former seminary professor of Father Lee. The delegation brought with them the Flame of Peace of St. Benedict, which is a torch that is symbolic of St. Benedict, patron of Europe. The light of the torch represents St. Benedict of Norcia’s message of solidarity and fraternity, which was spread by his followers as a way to sow seeds of faith and culture first throughout Europe and with the succeeding centuries throughout the world. The light from which the torch is lit burns continually at the birthplace of St. Benedict in the crypt of the Basilica of San Benedetto in Norcia. Church and state collaborate closely to accomplish a double mission of proposing to the world the fruits of faith and culture.
The visit by the delegation from Norcia to Trenton was part of an ongoing initiative called the “Valnerina in the U.S.A.,” which is a project developed in 2006 by the Committee of St. Benedict (Comitato San Benedetto). The project has as its goal to strengthen relations with Italian-Americans living in Mercer County, namely in Trenton and Hamilton Township.
Since its beginning, the churches have been led by many priests:
Msgr. Aloysius Pozar 1901-1912; Rev. Jeffrey E. Lee 2000-2013; Rev. Cesar Rubiano 2010-2020;
A community that is grounded in our past: German, Irish, Slovak, Italian, Franciscan, Maestre Pie Filippini, while welcoming immigrants from Central and South America, the Caribbean and beyond Our Lady of the Angel’s strives for ways to honor traditions and ways to build new bridges of understanding and communication with those communities from which many of our ancestors emigrated.
Chambersburg continues to witness a steady shift and, with that, the emergence of a new Catholic community, one that is not to replace those who have gone before us, but rather to continue to build upon our rich and celebrated past in order to be Church in our day.
Today, the Parish Community of Our Lady of the Angels is a vibrant and multicultural Roman Catholic Parish which belongs to the Diocese of Trenton and headed by Pastor, Reverend Carlos Aguirre. A welcoming place of worship and friendship, it has 2 centenary church buildings: Immaculate Conception Church and Saint Joachim Church. Through work, play, and prayer, our parish offers guidance, education, and service to all.