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"They are the ministers of Christ, I am more; in many more labours, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often." (2 Corinthians 11:23) St. Paul used these words to describe himself to the Corinthians; more specifically, as the introduction to that Scripture chapter reads: He is forced to commend himself and his labours, lest the Corinthians should be imposed upon by the false apostles. These words easily are applied to another Paul: Father Paul Wickens, who devoted his life and priestly ministry to reversing the destruction brought about by the false apostles infesting the Catholic Church these past 40 years. One of my fondest memories involves our frequent phone calls. Father would interrupt the call, as if someone had just entered his office, and he'd say: "Joe, hold on a second - hey fellows, you want to turn down those Sinatra records? Okay Joe, I'm back..." No matter how many times I heard that, it always elicited a laugh. I had a special nickname for Father; to me, he was Pastor Bonus - the Good Shepherd. It was a sign of the great respect I held both for the man he was and for the tireless work he performed for the redemption of souls. One of Father's most beloved and self-explanatory quotes from Scripture was "Come and see" ("And Jesus turning and seeing them following him, saith to them: What seek you? Who said to him: Master, where dwellest thou? He saith to them: Come and see." -St. John 1:38-39). He wanted all people to come to the Traditional Mass, to see Our Lord in the true and Blessed Sacrament, and to return to the rightful worship of Him. Father and I frequently had conversations about the roadblocks facing the Traditional movement - many of them internal. As we said many times, "The Mass is the only thing that matters!" So to all you meet who are in desperate need of the True Faith: invite them to come and see, as Father always did. Father Paul Wickens, after your labors and prisons and stripes, you have won the crown promised by Our Lord. Rest in peace, Pastor Bonus. Joseph Coda
I will remember Fr. Wickens for so many things. I would not have met my husband if it were not for his Chapel. Thanks to Fr. Wickens I am able to share my life with someone who values the true Holy Roman Catholic faith. He was more than our priest. He was like a member of our family. I will remember our pre-cana sessions at the Westfield Diner where he mixed instruction with humor. I will remember his visits to various family members to offer Extreme Unction. He was a true champion of the faith who fought against the tiranny of modernist Bishops who sought to destroy his spirit. Thank God he never gave up. I can now teach my children what I believe is the true faith. I will also never forget his visits each Christmas Eve, filled with carols and laughter. My children will always have those memories. He was a good man as well as a Holy Priest. A tireless servent faithful to his vocation, whose only desire was to preserve the Holy Roman Catholic Faith. He desired no personal fame or recognition. He always said he would rather be a "spear carrier" than a chief. He loved his faith. He loved children and families. He became part of our family. I consider it an honor to have known him.
Fr. Wickens was a Father in every sense of the word: Holy, loyal, dedicated, loving, tender, wise - and funny! I'd been a rebellious "hit-or-miss" Novus Order Mass-goer in my teens. My mother, God Bless her, dragged a reluctant me to St. Anthony's which at the time was located in the American Legion Hall. She had been urging me for months to go with her and that morning she put her foot down. Thank God she did. Never could I have expected that my first step into that rented hall would be the start of an ever deepening love for the Holy Mass, the Catholic Faith and a desire to live the Catholic Faith not just on Sundays. I was captivated by Fr. Wickens almost from the get go. In all honesty, I learned more about my Catholic Faith and heritage from him after only one month of his Masses, than after nearly 12 years of supposedly Catholic education. Father Wickens returned to me a thousand times over all that had been stolen by the liberal Modernists. And what a way with words he had! I know he could challenge the most learned intellectual and yet at the same time speak clearly to the youngest of his flock. I can't tell you how many times my six years old would say, "That reminds me of something Father Wickens said at Mass," during one of our homeschool religion classes. I'd ask her what she was referring to and she'd quote him nearly word for word. Sometimes on the way home from Mass, my four year old son would say, out of the clear blue - "Father Wickens loves us, and I love him too!" I want the Wickens family and all of Father's closest friends to know that they have a special place in my prayers during this incredibly sad time. We all rejoice because we can all say we truly have a friend in Heaven, but I know how much I loved him and how sad I am that in this life I will never hear his voice or see his face again, so I know that it is so much harder for those who loved and knew him more intimately and much longer than I did. My prayers are with all of you. To sum up what impact Father had on me, I'll simply say this: If, when I go before God on my judgement day, God should find pleasure with me, it will be due in no small part to the life, love, teachings, sacrifice and example of Father Paul A. Wickens.
I shall remember the very effective conversational style with which Father delivered his sermons. He, too, was a hammerer of the heretics, and constantly exposed their perfidy. Although he ministered to a large flock, he was always accessible and ready to serve when the occasion arose. He was such an energetic figure that it was all the more of a shock that his final illness was so rapid. As his brother remarked: Now we have a new saint. I am very pleased that his grave is alongside the Chapel, so that we all may take a moment every week to stop by and say a prayer in his behalf. Requiescat in pace.
I have many wonderful memories of Father Paul Wickens. I remember the gentleness he had with the children, the patience, and concentration when one of the little ones tried to help with his sermon. Father never lost his thoughts, how he could stay focused I'll never know. But, the one memory which jumps to mind, is how he helped me and my family at a troubled time. My husband had lost his job, I didn't work, and I homeschooled our children. Money was very, very tight. I had explained my problem to the home study program I was using, and I believe they truly thought I was lying. They asked where I went to church and without thinking why, contacted Father. Father in turn, (without my knowledge) sent some money to cover one month of tuition. Father never said a word to me about my situation, probably because he knew I was embarassed. Father never treated me or my family any other way except with kindness, respect, and concern. I will never forget what Father did, in every sense of the word he was a Father, and will always hold a special spot in my heart and family.
"Tu es sacerdos in aeternum." "Thou art a priest forever." What joy those words must bring to the ears of any newly ordained priest. In 1955, how could the young Fr. Wickens have forseen the alarming decline of the Catholic Faith not just in the Newark Archdiocese, but the world over? He couldn't forsee that he personally would shepherd thousands of souls into (or back into) the One True Faith. It would certainly have been inconcievable to him back then that he'd eventually have to say goodbye to all of his brother priests and be the victim of viscious lies, slander, calumny, and detraction at their hands for 20+ years for doing his job and keeping the Faith. If you'd told any of this to that 25 year-old priest in 1955, he'd have no doubt given you one of his now-famous bug-eyed looks. He did all of that, and infinitely more. He was an incredible man. He was a priest through and through, and above all else. Had he not been, he would have simply floated down the stream of Modernism like his poor bretheren. The ones who are still alive float there still. The ones who have gone to meet their Judge, well, it's almost too terrible to think about. This was no ordinary priest, though. "You don't have just anyone as your priest here," Bishop Williamson said on the day he consecrated St. Anthony's. "If he were just anybody he wouldn't be your priest here." Those words still ring in my ears, these years later. "Every priest," St, Paul tells us, "taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that pertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for his sins." (Hebrews 5:1) This was Fr. Paul Wickens. He would never have considered himself a hero, yet we all know that's exactly what he is. I doubt I'll ever be able to sufficienty express my gratitude to God for allowing this saintly priest's path to cross mine. He married my wife and I. He baptized my children. He heard my confessions. He taught me the Faith. He himself accomplished in a few short months what 12 years of supposedly Catholic education failed to do. I'm fiercely proud to have called him my priest. My priest forever.
THIS EXTRAORDINARY SOUL Fr. Wickens will always remain very dear to my heart. He was such an exceptional person, both in his priestly duties, and as a friend to all. He had been a part of my family for 20 years, and was always there for us in spiritual matters when we needed him, sometimes he was even our strength. His charity and intense love of souls amazed me; I couldn't help but notice the dedication and sincerety in helping people. He taught me how we much always praise God in both joys AND sorrows. He taught me how to enjoy the possession of Truth, and to pass it along to others. His virtues of patience and perseverence gave me great encouragement. By example of his holiness and love of God, I learned never to worry or despair, that the good God will not abandone us no matter what if we would only turn to Him in confidence. This extraordinary soul was an ardent and fearless defender of the Faith, and a true warrior for Christ. And when I think about how many blessings God has showered upon us by giving him to us, I certainly have cause to rejoice! Goodbye, dear Fr. Wickens...for now, and by the loving mercy of our Lord, until we meet again in Holy Paradise. Donna LaFerrara
Father Wickens will be greatly missed. My family will surely miss him. He had been a part of my childrens entire lives. He was the priest that married us almost 12 years ago. Before we were married, we went to see Father at his office, which I believe was in Orange somewhere. I was a little nervous, but Father made everyone, including me feel at ease when we went to see him. He was so wonderful. After awhile of being there he said, "Hey, lets go get some pizza." As we walked to the pizza place everyone, from all walks of life, knew him. "Hi, Father", "Good day Father", "Hello, Father" is what you heard. It is one of my special stories of Father and will always remember it. I also remember how highly he regarded mothers in the church. He would say nice things about being mothers and he would say it often in his sermons. His sermons were the best I have ever heard and he always seemed to be talking right to you. These are things I will miss. We will all have to remember he was a one of a kind priest. Good sermons, good with people, good with children and very down to earth and friendly and Holy man. He has touched all of our hearts in many different ways. Let us all remember that. Keep praying for him and let us do what is best for Our Church.
Memorable Quotes from Fr. Wickens: -On Divine Providence- "Don't worry." [about having another child]. "Every baby comes into the world with a loaf of bread under its arm."
Father Wickens was a great man and a great priest. When I was very young, Fr. would play little question and answer games like,'" Name 3 colors." " Can you name the capital of Poland?" Father baptized me. He gave me First Communion. But, he was in the hospital for Confirmation . He will never see me get married . And I miss him.
I met Fr Wickens in 1987, was acquainted with him for about a year and remember him as a fundamentally decent man and good pastor. Requiescat in pace. - http://aconservativesiteforpeace.info
I met Father Wickens when I visited my sister in N.J. and he was truly a wonderful priest and took the time after mass to speak with me. Our priest (Father Charles) had spoken of him very highly and it was an honor to know him. D.Stanek Melb. Fl
The work of Father Paul Wickens and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre is beginnming to bear fruit in the Church. Alas, the Archdiocese of Newark did not behave in a Christ-like manner towards Father Wickens and his following. Ferdinand Gajewski, PhD Westfield, NJ
Paul & his brother Al were friends of long-ago in Orange, NJ, playing basketball & socializing whenever time allowed. Both these, men who became priests, are locked in the memories of our family in Greenwood Lake.
I remember Father Paul Wickens from St. Venantius in Orange. Yes 42 years ago! He was so much fun and took our family under his wing. My parents were seperated and Mom had the six of us. He was by our home at least once a week. He played ball with the boys and told my sisters and I jokes! He was a very handsome man and made our lives at that time complete! Linda Walsh DeMatteo
It was a privilege to have known Father Wickens. Having lived in Orange, my parents enrolled me in St. Venantius which I attended for eight years. It was truly an honor and privilege to have been an altar boy and serve Mass with Father. His reverence for the Mass has made an indelible impression on me that lasts to this day. By accident, I had discovered the Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua in West Orange and had the honor of attending Mass there a few times; Father had not forgotten me(no doubt from the impression I made on him while at St. Venantius, lol). When my mom was hospitalised at St. Barnabas Hospital, I contacted Father who was gracious enough to visit her a few times before her passing. Father Wickens is a cherished part of my life in general and one of the foundation stones of my religious and spiritual life. While we may miss his presence among us, he is no doubt at constant prayer before the Lord and offering Mass for all in Heaven. George(Tony) Denny
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