St. Therese's Chapel closing after decades at Bergen Town Center mall
A Catholic chapel at a New Bergen County shopping mall is closing after nearly 50 years.
St. Therese's Chapel, also known as the Chapel on the Mall, is at the Bergen Town Center in Paramus.
The chapel celebrated its final Mass on Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of Lent, before packing up and seeking a new home.
Father Eugene Bettinger says the chapel's space is needed by a new tenant.
"Lent will be a hunt, a hunting season for us," he says. "Looking for that spot that is elusive right now, but may be out there."
The chapel, office rooms and gift shop have occupied 5,000 square feet. The Carmelite order of priests has run the chapel since it opened in 1970 and had a month-to-month lease at the mall for the past decade.
Bettinger says that the chapel has always been designed for "the working people" with Masses at convenient hours.
Parishioner Mary Rogers says she has attended services at the chapel almost daily for 47 years.
"I couldn't start my day without having Mass and confession," she says. "You know, the sacraments."
Bettinger says new potential locations have already been scouted, particularly in other Bergen County shopping centers.
The property manager for the Bergen Town Center did not return calls for comment.