History of our Parish


CHURCHskThrough the final decades of the 19th Century, Catholics summering in the Bay Head and Mantoloking areas attended Sunday Mass at St. Peter s Church, Point Pleasant Beach. Some walked to church, others rode in horse drawn carriages. Mantolokingites sailed on Barnegat Bay to Bay Head, then traveled by land to Point Pleasant. For these latter worshipers, churchgoing at time, proved an all day outing because of the vagaries of the wind.

In 1903 a new trolley-car line linked Bay Head and Point Pleasant Beach. On Sunday mornings a number of cars were chartered for the purpose of carrying passengers to St. Peter s in time for the first Mass. The cars would stand idle until the end of Mass when they would make a return trip to Bay Head and pick up new passengers to be delivered to St. Peter s in time for the second Mass

As more and more persons discovered Bay Head and Mantoloking ideal places to vacation or live year  round, it became necessary to provide Catholics of the area with a church of their own. Property restrictions prohibited the building of a church in Mantoloking; but on December 9, 1913, the Church of the Sacred Heart, Bay  Head was established.

The document of incorporation bears the signatures of James A. McFaul, Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton; Msgr. John Fox, vicar general; Conventual Franciscan Father Berard  Schweitzer, pastor of St. Peter s Church, Point Pleasant Beach, and lay trustees Joseph F. Edwards and Ralph J. Schoettle.

A resolution signed by all of the above on April 7. 1914, provided for the erection of a church building not to exceed the cost of $6,200.00 - on a site on the Southwest corner of Main Ave. (highway #35) and Harris Street, Bay Head. The construction contract was awarded to J. Stillwell, lowest bidder. The church, which was completed in time for the summer season of the summer of 1914 was serviced by the Conventional Franciscan Fathers as a Mission of St. Peter s until the end of the Summer of 1915. At that time it was placed in the care of Fr. Daniel Lutz, OFM Conv., who took up residence in Bay Head.

It was Father Daniel who performed the first Baptism and witnessed the first marriage at Sacred Heart. On June 11, 1916, Charles Lincoln Walters, infant son of Clinton and Agnes Connor Walters was Baptized. On September 22, 1916,  William Cornelius McIntyre and Cleo Honickel were married.

On October 29. 1917, Bay Head became the Summer residence of the Conventual Franciscan Fathers Mission Band, members of which assumed charge of Sacred Heart and also gave service to the Catholics of Lavallette and Seaside Park. In 1919, the Mission Band moved its residence to Seaside Park and St. Catherine's Church, of which Sacred Heart then became the mission.  

In March 1927, Bishop Thomas J. Walsh approved the resolution to move Sacred Heart Church to a new location in Bay Head. The new site, approximately 200 by 314 feet,  had been acquired in April, 1924 at a cost of $12,000. It stood on Main Avenue between Goetze and Strickland Streets. The church building was moved during the month of April, 1927.

During this period Sacred Heart was administered by Fr. Bede Hess, pastor of St. Catherine s who later became the world-wide minister general of the Conventual Franciscans. In 1932,  Fr. Bede was succeeded by Fr. Regis Larkin, OFM Conv., who  in turn was succeeded  by Fr. Dominic Kimmel, OFM Conv., in 1940.

On June 11, 1942, Sacred Heart was placed in the care of priests of the Diocese of Trenton and Fr. Thomas Brennan was named pastor by Bishop William A. Griffin. Fr. Brennan, who also attended the mission church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Seaside Heights, resided in Bay Head on Main Ave. in a house purchased in 1944 for use as a rectory. When the mission of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, became a parish in its own right in 1946, Fr. Brennan transferred there and Fr. Eugene B. Kelly was named administrator of Sacred Heart until the Spring of 1946 when Fr. Patrick Larkin was appointed pastor.

In 1953, Fr. Larkin transferred to the pastorate of St. Joseph s Church, Trenton, and was succeeded in Bay Head by Msgr. Joseph T. Casey, a former United States Navy Chaplain. Msgr. Casey constructed the parish social hall in 1959.

Due to Msgr. Casey s failing health, administrators were assigned to Sacred Heart through the years 1967-1969. After Msgr. Casey s retirement in 1969, Msgr. James S. Foley was named pastor. The two story class room addition to Msgr. Casey Hall was built under Msgr. Foley in 1976.

On May 14, 1977, with the support of Msgr. James Foley, the first class of permanent deacons in the diocese of Trenton was ordained by Bishop George W. Ahr. Two Sacred Heart parishioners were in that class. Peter Johnson, later ordained a priest (now deceased), and James A. Lacey, presently serving.

Following Msgr. Foley s retirement in 1977, Msgr. William E. Maguire was assigned to Sacred Heart by Bishop George W. Ahr.  Msgr. Maguire was assisted by Fr. Dominic Marchese, SSJ who entered eternal rest on February 26, 2002. During the Pastorate of Msgr. Maguire, Deacon John Czarnecki was ordained on May 9, 1992 by Bishop John C Reiss.

Msgr. William Maguire retired in 1994 and entered eternal rest on August 3, 2004. Fr. Thomas Brennan was appointed Pastor in 1994. Deacon James Tobin was ordained by Bishop John Reiss on May 11, 1996 and died on December 20, 2003.

Fr. Brennan  retired in 2001 and  Fr. Patrick Magee was appointed Pastor that year. Fr. Magee retired in 2003. Fr. Michael Waites was appointed Temp Administrator in 2004. Fr. Mark Devlin was appointed Temporary Administrator in 2005.  Msgr. Casimir Ladzinski was appointed as Pastor in August 2005.

Fr. Michael J. O'Connor, the current Pastor, was appointed on July 1, 2012.

Mass Schedules

Weekend Mass Schedule
      for July 2020

Saturday:  5:00 PM
- attendance limited to 100 people
Sunday:  8:30 AM
- attendance limited to 100 people
- also Livestreamed on our Facebook page
Holy Communion: 9:30-10:15AM
- Sunday after Mass
- Arrive, Receive, Leave
- Daily Mass (Tuesday through Friday)
- at 8:30 AM.

Confession Schedule:
- call rectory for appointment


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