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In October 1901 Father Vincent Sciolla was named pastor. He was immediately confronted with a congregation numbering about ten thousand and continuing to increase rapidly. Certainly a larger and more durable church was needed. By January 1903, he had completed major improvements on the rectory and reduced the existing debt of Holy Rosary to several thousand dollars. He formed the St. Rocco Society to help in the purpose of building and improving the Parish Church. In June 1903 he bought three lots adjoining the eastern extremity of the present church property on Sixth Street at a cost of sixteen thousand dollars. By the end of the month plans for a new church were made by architect, Eugene Ciccarelli. Foundation piles were driven in July by C. H. Kruger and Sons. Local contractor John Wheelihan and Sons was contracted to build the church.


On Sunday, October 25, 1903 the cornerstone was laid by Right Reverend John A. Sheppard, Vicar General and pastor of St. Michael’s Church.


The ceremony commenced with a procession through the streets of downtown Jersey City. Monsignor Sheppard and Father Sciolla were accompanied by other New Jersey clergy, Mayor Mark Fagan and an entourage of city officials. Church societies, their banners flapping in the air, Italian societies of Jersey City and large delegations from neighboring cities marched through the streets. Waiting at the church were three to four thousand people. They crowded the sidewalks and streets while hundreds watched from the top of the railroad elevation.


After the gray marble cornerstone was blessed, the contractor Wheelihan guided the stone into position. Father Ernesto D’Aquila, rector of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Newark, delivered the sermon in Italian. He commended the people of Holy Rosary for their support and loyalty to their pastor and encouraged further cooperation with him in his efforts to advance their spiritual welfare.

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