During the first few years of the early 1880’s the Italian speaking population of Jersey City began to increase rapidly, but they had no church of their own. In the towns, villages and cities of Italy the local church had been to these people a spiritual and social force. By the end of 1884 Bishop Wigger directed Father De Concilio to organize the Italians of Jersey City into a parish and to build a church. Father James S. Hanly, the pastor of St. Bridget’s was assigned to guide the new parish through its embryonic years.
With the money contributed by the congregation, two lots, 340 and 342 Sixth Street, between Monmouth and Brunswick Streets, were purchased for about two thousand dollars. A small frame structure already on the site was used as a temporary chapel. The first Mass celebrated was in February 1885.
After the purchasing of the property Father Hanly and Father Chiuso, a resident priest, immediately set to the task of having a church built. Construction was undertaken in the spring of 1885 and completed by summer. It was a simple rectangular wood structure with a double-pitched roof set back on the lot. It was thirty feet wide and fifty feet long with a seating capacity of about three hundred people. The cost when completed was approximately six thousand dollars. On August 22, 1886, Bishop Wigger dedicated the church while both Father Hanly and Father Chiuso assisted.