Our History

The beginnings of St. Mary’s Parish took place on March 15, 1907. The first mass was held in the home of Thomas Galvin, with Father Powers of the Toms River Parish as celebrant. Later, Father Domonic of the Abbey in Newark became celebrant. Fourteen people attended this mass. On November 16, 1907, the Barnegat Select School property was conveyed to the Church of St. Thomas Aquinas, Beach Haven, NJ, by George C. Warren and Matilda Warre, his wife, by deed. The Barnegat Select School was then converted into a church and became a mission church of St. Thomas Aquinas.

It wasn’t until July 7, 1942 that St. Mary’s was officially incorporated as a Parish. St. Thomas Aquinas turned the church over to St. Mary’s on November 24, 1942.

Father Peter Teston became the first resident pastor of St. Mary’s and the first entry in the Parish records appeared on this date. The subsequent pastors of St. Mary’s have been:

Father Alexander Burant 1950 – 1961
Father Casimir J. Przechachi 1962 – 1965
Father Frank J.C. Janos 1966 – 1967 (Administrator)
Father Frank J.C. Janos 1967 – 1982
Father Gerard McCarron 1983 – 1990
Father Leonard P. Lang 1990 – 1992
Father Kenard Tuzeneu 1992 – Present

On June 8, 1975, we broke ground for St. Mary’s Parish Center in Manahawkin. The first mass was celebrated there on July 3, 1976. The Center was dedicated by His Excellency, Bishop W. Ahr on August 21, 1977.

The groundbreaking for the new St. Mary’s Church on West Bay Avenue, Barnegat, took place on March 6, 1986 and the last week of February 1987, the priest moved into the new Rectory.

The last mass in old St. Mary’s Church was celebrated on Memorial Day, 1987. The dedication of the new St. Mary’s Church in Barnegat was held on the Feast of St. Mary, September 8, 1987.

Dedication of the St. Mary’s Cemetery Mausoleum (304 crypts) took place on August 14, 1988.

In February of 1996, the church basement was renamed in honor of Monsignor Francis Reinbold.

On November 2, 1997, the groundbreaking was held for the Perpetual Adoration Chapel and it was dedicated on June 30, 1998. Also dedicated on June 30, 1998 was the Outdoor Candle Chapel at the Parish Center.

The groundbreaking for St. Mary of the Pines in Manahawkin took place on April 17, 2005. The Church was dedicated by His Excellency, Bishop John Smith on March 10, 2007.

On June 13, 2009, the groundbreaking was held for the new Parish Center in Manahawkin and the Center was dedicated on September 25, 2010.