Mary Lou Nelson Oliva, a longtime member of St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish, Spring Lake, and parish archivist died Feb. 26 in Jersey Shore Medical Center, Neptune. She was 84.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated March 6 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Catharine Church, 215 Essex Ave. Burial will follow in St. Catharine Cemetery and Mausoleum, Wall. Due to COVID-19 executive orders, all protocols including wearing face masks and maintaining social distance must be followed.
Born in Elmhurst, N.Y., in 1937, Mrs. Oliva was the first registered student at The Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica Estates, N.Y., of which her father had built the church and school. She also held a bachelor of arts degree in speech with a minor in English, and a master of business administration degree in records management. She worked at Merck, Rahway until she retired and then as a consultant for PJO Consultants.
Mrs. Oliva had been continuously active in St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish ever since she and her now predeceased husband, Peter, had moved to Spring Lake in 1994. She was secretary, vice president and president of the parish council; an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; reader; sacristan; choir member and participated on the parish centennial, restoration, respect life, Faith To Move Mountains and Faith In Our Future committees.
On Nov. 18, 2016, Mrs. Oliva was invested into The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. Membership in the Order is conferred upon Catholics of exemplary faith and moral conduct, who are actively involved in and generously support the activities of their parish and/or Diocese, and who are willingly to commit themselves to the mission and goals of the Order. The following year, she was recognized during the Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton Guardian Angel Dinner Dance as a Light of Hope award recipient for Monmouth County.