Deeply concerned about the liturgical reform and truly understanding the need for the Catholic Church to preserve and foster the Latin Tridentine Mass, several North Jersey Catholics banded together, formed a civil corporation, and purchased Grace Bible Church—now Our Lady of Fatima Chapel—in Pequannock in October 1974.

Renovations were done to make the edifice suitable as a Roman Catholic chapel. On June 16, 1975, a priest then affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X blessed it. Over the next few months, Sunday Mass and the Sacraments were offered by various priests, including the late Rev. Msgr. John J. Cleary (Archdiocese of New York) and the late Fathers John Keane (Archdiocese of Boston), John A. Gentakes (Diocese of Albany), and Patrick Shine, S.M.A.

On Nov. 23, 1975, Father Thomas A. Ross, O.F.M., arrived at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel. He had been ordained in April 1959 by Auxiliary Bishop Philip M. Hannan, in Washington, D.C., for Holy Name Province of the Franciscan Friars. (Bishop Hannan later became Archbishop of New Orleans).

Fr. Ross had taught Moral Theology and had been a dean at Franciscan colleges in upstate New York and had served at New York City’s famous St. Francis of Assisi Church. So impressed were Chapel Mass-goers with Fr. Ross’ sermons that he was asked to return Sunday after Sunday. He would remain at the Chapel for the rest of his earthly life.

By April 1981, Our Lady of Fatima Chapel and St. Jude’s School (now called “Kolbe Immaculata School”) were thriving so well under Fr. Ross’ leadership that it was necessary for him to expand the Mass schedule. Regular Sunday morning Masses were at 8:00, 9:45, and 11:15, all Low Masses. High Masses were celebrated on Holy Thursday, Christmas Eve, for the Easter Vigil Liturgy, and, in 1986, on Easter Sunday morning.

Fr. Ross had great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Indeed, he often said that it was She who led him to and kept him at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel. Due to this filial devotion, Fr. Ross decided in 1982 that the stained glass window of Our Lady of Fatima near the pulpit should be matched by stained glass windows throughout both sides of the nave that would depict the other Church-approved Marian apparitions. Thus, the Chapel undertook a $12,000.00 project to install such windows. The specially-commissioned windows of Our Lady of Fatima, Knock, La Salette, Lourdes, Banneux., Guadalupe, Beauraing, etc. present today are the result of the efforts of Fr. Ross and his parishioners.

On August 28, 1982 and again in July 1986, British Traditionalist historian and lecturer Michael Davies spoke at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel. Mr. Davies died in September 2004.

On October 10, 1982, Pope John Paul II canonized heroic Franciscan Father Maximilian Kolbe. That day, Chapel members took part in a Rosary Rally at St. Anthony’s Church, in Butler. At this time, the Chapel was active in the annual Bergen Mall Charity Festival and numerous socials were held during the year.

In May 1987, the white and roseate “brickface” façade of the Chapel was installed by Garden State Brickface Co., for about $40,000.00, funds wisely procured by Fr. Ross from the sale of unsuitable realty in Warwick, New York, the year before. In June 1989, the Chapel had its first bus trip to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs at Auriesville, New York.

On March 2, 1993, Father Ross died at age 61. A High Requiem Mass was offered on First Friday, March 5, by Fr. Eugene Kwiatkowski, O.F.M., who became the Chapel’s temporary administrator.

On an evening in December 1993, Fr. Arnaud Devillers, F.S.S.P., offered Holy Mass and spoke at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel, making him the first priest of the Fraternity of St. Peter to publicly celebrate Mass in New Jersey. The following Sunday, Fr. Peter Scott, of the Society of St. Pius X, offered Mass and spoke.

In February 1994, with the backing of Fr. Kwiatkowski and Bishop Frank J. Rodimer, the congregation’s voting members elected the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to shepherd Our Lady of Fatima Chapel.

After the Fraternity’s election, various FSSP priests, including Fr. Devillers, served the Chapel until the arrival of Fr. William Ashley in August 1994. Under Fr. Ashley (1994-95) and his successor, Fr. Joseph P. Terra, F.S.S.P. (Oct. 1995—Feb. 14, 1999), the confessional was installed and numerous improvements were made to the sanctuary and nave, many by the late Joseph T. Holahan (d. 2003). High and Solemn High Masses were offered on a regular basis. Under Fr. Ashley’s tenure, the 5:00 p.m. Sunday Mass was added to the schedule.

In May 1995, His Eminence, the late Alfons Maria Cardinal Stickler, S.D.B., offered a Saturday morning Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel, on his way to his crucial talk on the legal status of the Traditional Latin Mass of Pope St. Pius V in Fort Lee, New Jersey. On February 11, 2007 and June 1, 2008, Pontifical High Masses were offered at the Chapel by the Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson.

Fr. Terra was succeeded by Fr. Dennis Duvelius, now of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Fr. Duvelius remained until the summer of 1999, when Fr. James W. McLucas and his assistant, Fr. Calvin Goodwin, F.S.S.P., arrived. Fr. McLucas resigned on March 2, 2000 and Fr. Goodwin became temporary administrator.

In August 2000, Fr. Denis G. Bouchard, F.S.S.P., was made Chapel administrator, with Fr. Nicholas Peter Zolnerowicz, F.S.S.P., as his assistant. (Fr. Zolnerowicz died on May 29, 2004 at age 81. He is buried at St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow, PA.) On the Feast of the Assumption 2001, Fr. Robert F. Fromageot, F.S.S.P., became administrator, with Fr. Arnaud Mortemard de Boisse, F.S.S.P., as curate, and Rev. Mr. John McDaniels, F.S.S.P., as deacon. Fr. Fromageot stayed until he was transferred by the District Superior on Feb. 19, 2003, when Jesuit Father Kenneth Baker became temporary administrator.

Fr. Mark F. Fischer, F.S.S.P., arrived as administrator on his patron saint’s day, April 25, 2003. Fr. de Boisse remained until mid-2004, when he was replaced by Fr. Benoît Guichard, F.S.S.P. Later, Fr. Gerard C. Saguto, F.S.S.P., became curate to Fr. Fischer. He was succeeded in 2005 by Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, F.S.S.P. Father Fischer was appointed pastor of St. Michael’s Church, Scranton, in August 2006, and Fr. Guichard became administrator in Pequannock. Fr. Joseph R. Howard, F.S.S.P., came to Our Lady of Fatima Chapel in 2006 to assist Fr. Guichard. In July 2008, Fr. Pendergraft will become pastor of St. Michael’s Church.

Other priests who have served Our Lady of Fatima Chapel are Fr. Jose Maria Salgado, F.S.S.P., now retired; Fr. Carlos Reyes-Barrios, F.S.S.P. (1998-99), Fr. Carlos Casavantes, F.S.S.P., Fr. James Buckley, F.S.S.P. (1994), Fr. Howard Remski, F.S.S.P. (2000), Fr. John A. Perricone (weekend assistant, 1994-95), the late Fr. Paul A. Wickens (1993-94), and, as a transitional deacon (1998-99), Fr. Mario Portella.

Each window commemorates one of the many Apparitions and Titles of Our Lady

Our Lady of Banneux Our Lady of Beauraing Our Lady of Mt. Carmel


Our Lady of Fatima Our Lady of Guadalupe


Our Lady of Knock Our Lady of Pontmain Our Lady of La Salette


Our Lady of Lourdes Our Lady of the
Miraculous Medal