The Parish of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary began in 1904 when the Bishop of the Trenton Diocese, Right Reverend James A. McFaul, D.D., LL.D., sent Father Clemente Cardarelli to Perth Amboy to meet the needs of the growing Italian community.
Father Clemente Cardarelli served the people for two years, traveling weekly to Perth Amboy to celebrate Mass, hear confessions and preach to the people in their native tongue.
Father Lorenzo Russo succeeded him in 1906, who began to keep church records.
In 1907, the Bishop of Trenton called Father Colombino Galassi to be the first permanent pastor.
Fr. Galassi had no church, no rectory, and only a handful of parishioners.
In May 1908 he purchased the parcel of land on the corner of Barclay and Penn Streets and within three months the construction of the first church building of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary was complete.
The first Mass was celebrated in this church on Thanksgiving Day 1908.
In 1917, Fr. Galassi purchased land in Hopelawn for the parish cemetery.
In 1923, he purchased 448 Penn St. to serve as the Rectory for the parish (now serves as the convent for the Religious Teachers Filippini); and he started to plan for a school.
On July 6, 1925, the cornerstone of the new building (Our Lady of the Holy Rosary School) was laid. The church was located ‘temporarily’ in the basement of the school building. (Temporary was 45 years - until May 24, 1970 – the dedication of the present church) At this time the parish took on a debt for the construction of $125,000.
The new 1500 pond bell for the new church/school was named "Sancta Maria". This bell was dedicated to the boys who died during WWI and inscribed with the legend "Victory Bell." (This bell is now located in our new bell tower.)
The school opened in 1925 staffed by the Religious Teachers Filippini, who served until the schools in Perth Amboy were consolidated in 1987. The Religious Teachers Filippini continue to serve in the consolidated Perth Amboy Catholic School.
Fr. Galassi served the parish until he became ill in 1933. He was a man of zeal and courage. He dedicated himself to fostering the spiritual and material welfare of the parishioners. He struggled with corporations and political cliques to gain reform and just concessions for his people.
In 1933, Father William Hickey was appointed Administrator and served the parish until 1937.
Father Salvatore Di Lorenzo was named pastor in 1937 and served until 1939.
During the Depression, which started in 1929, the parish like the rest of the country had great financial difficulties. The Chancery Office in Trenton paid the interest due on the parish loans and also helped the pastors with some of their daily needs for the parish. But by 1939 the debt had grown to about $150,000. At this time, the Most Reverend Moses E. Kiley, Bishop of the Trenton Diocese called upon the Trinitarian Fathers to take over the parish.
Father Bernard Chicca, O.Ss.T. was appointed pastor in 1939 and he served until he was appointed Minister of the Novitiate Monastery of the Trinitarian Fathers in 1953.
He was well known for his dedication to the priesthood and his outgoing nature, which endeared him to people of all faiths within the city.
He was seen constantly walking through the streets of Perth Amboy, administering to the needs of his parishioners. This habit gained him the nickname of the "Walking Padre" – the priest who walked through the streets with candies for the children.
During his 14 years of service, Fr. Chicca made many improvements to the church buildings and at the same time he reduced the parish debt to $50,000.
Father Daniel Giorgi, O.Ss.T. became pastor in 1953 and served until he was reassigned in 1985.
Within two years, with Fr. Giorgi’s leadership and guidance, the original parish debt was eliminated.
He modernized the school, convent, and rectory.
In 1967, he purchased three and one-half acres of land for the new "permanent" church, which was the original dream of Fr. Galassi and the first parishioners of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.
Our present church was dedicated on May 24, 1970.
Fr. Giorgi aggressively paid down the church debt for the construction of the new church; so that by the early 1980’s the parish was debt free.
In 1984 Fr. Daniel Giorgi was reassigned to Texas after 31 years of service in our parish. The Trinitarian Fathers continued to serve the parish until 1986.
Fr. Anthony D’Errico, O.Ss.T. served as administrator for one year.
Fr. Damian Anuszewski, O.Ss.T. served as pastor for one year.
In 1986 Bishop McCarrick, Bishop of the newly formed Diocese of Metuchen returned the parish to Diocesesan administration and named Fr. Anthony Gambino pastor.
In 1987, the Holy Rosary Parish School was closed and consolidated into Perth Amboy Catholic School.
With patience, prayer and perseverance, Fr. Gambino helped the parish to heal and to start moving forward again.
Monsignor Gambino served the parish as pastor until 1998, when left active service due to illness.
In 1998 Fr. Glenn Comandini was assigned pastor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.
Fr. Comandini made many improvements to the church buildings both "old" and "new".
He sold the old church property, relieving the parish of a great burden.
He undertook the dream of the parishioners for an elevator to the church hall. A new entrance to the church was designed and constructed. The new entrance, which contains a bell tower and elevator was dedicated on October 5, 2003 during the opening ceremony of the parish's 100th Anniversary Year by the Most Reverend Paul G. Bootkowski, D.D., Bishop of Metuchen.
Fr. Comandini served as pastor until June 2005 when he was reassign to St. James in Basking Ridge.
Bishop Bootkowski assigned Fr. John J. Barbella pastor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary effective July 1, 2005.