Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will be principal celebrant of a Mass in St. James Parish, Red Bank, June 23 at noon. The Mass will mark the 125th anniversary of the laying of the church’s cornerstone. A reception will follow in the school cafeteria.
According to diocesan records, Father Thomas Killeen arrived in Red Bank in April 1863, as St. James Parish’s first resident pastor. He erected the parish’s first church and rectory. Construction of the second church, designed by Red Bank architect Joseph Scannell in the neoclassical tradition, began in the autumn of 1893, and the Most Rev. James A. McFaul, second Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, performed the dedication on Aug. 11, 1895.
Over its 125 years as a faith community, St. James Parish has divided to launch St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Red Bank, in 1921; Nativity Parish, Fair Haven, in 1954, and St. Leo the Great Parish, Lincroft, in 1958.
Born in Red Bank on May 13, 1922, the now late Bishop John Charles Reiss is the parish’s most famous native son. He attended St. James Grammar School and Red Bank Catholic High School, was ordained to the priesthood May 31, 1947, and was installed as the Diocese of Trenton’s eighth bishop April 22, 1980. He died March 4, 2012.
St. James Parish has 3,800 registered families; its grammar school enrolls about 300 children, and Red Bank Catholic High School about 800 students. Msgr. Philip A. Lowery has served as pastor since 1990.
For additional information on the Mass and festivities, contact the parish office at 732-741-0500. St. James Church is located at 94 Broad St., Red Bank.