Historic St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church
Has been awarded a Certification of Eligibility by the National Park Service in Washington DC and the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Commission.
Architectural Certification of Eligibility
In consultation with the National Register at the National Park Service in Washington DC, the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Commission (NJHPC) has awarded St. Bartholomew RCC, a Certification of Eligibility (COE). Dated November 10, 2016, the certificate was affirmed based on the church’s 1940 mid-twentieth century, vernacular ecclesiastical architecture.
This distinction entitles the church to be listed in the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places. “The Register houses the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources .”
Historic Social Relevance
Historic St. Bartholomew holds significant social relevance as well. During the early 1900’s local Catholic Churches were neighborhood territorial sites, this created a significant challenge for Black Catholics in finding welcoming worship locations. Archived historic documents dated 1939, affirms that the parish was specially established for “the Colored” in Camden City .
The parish began as a mission of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. In 1940, Father Joseph T. Hanley was assigned as the first pastor. The Rising Sun Masonic Hall at 749 Kaighn Ave., formerly constructed through an endowment by the late Dempsey Daniel Butler , was purchased and the first floor was converted to a worship site. Through the vision, determination and commitment of 100 black Catholics in Camden, a parish was established and grew. In 1943, a parish school was established, and St. Katharine Drexel sent Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament as teachers. In 1947 Bishop Bartholomew Eustace dedicated the new church .
Historic St. Bartholomew remains the epitome of a thriving and vibrant Black Catholic Parish. We are honored to have it recognized as a significant aspect of New Jersey’s past for future generations.
1. National Register of Historic Places Program: Publications. National Park Service. [Online] 2017. https://www.nps.gov/nr/publications/index.htm.
2. Litz, F. J. (1939, September 18). [Letter to the Most Rev. Bartholomew J. Eustace of Camden]. St Boniface's Rectory, Philadelphia, PA.
3. Ukam, S. P. Restoring Butler. Historic Butler Cemetery. [Blog] August 2009. http://butlercemetery.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-05-31T00:52:0....
4. Giglio, C. J. St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church. Building God's Kingdom a History of the Diocese of Camden. South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University Press, 1987.
St. Bartholomew Development Ministry