Our Parish History, A Look Back!
On November 10, 1972, Bishop George W. Ahr established Saint Justin's Parish. The tremendous population growth that was taking place made it obvious that Saint Joseph's Parish alone could not serve the entire catholic community in Toms River.
The Bishop appointed Rev. George E. Deutsch to serve as pastor of this new community. Armed with much faith and confidence in the Lord, as well as more than one person's share of energy and enthusiasm, Father Deutsch began to gather the community at the East Dover First Aid Building, and at various homes for services and education.
Initially, our new parish numbered some 1,070 Catholic families. The numbers and the exuberance of this new parish community immediately underscored the inadequacy of the makeshift accommodations. Father Deutsch sought the Diocese's approval to build on a 10 acre parcel of land on Fischer Boulevard adjoining Cattus Island Park. The Diocese had acquired this land earlier as a possible site of a second parish in Toms River. On March 11, 1973, Bishop Ahr approved a campaign to raise funds to build a pre-fab Parish Hall and eventually a Church.
The steel Parish Hall structure went up quickly and was first used for the celebration of Mass in April 1973. A second steel building was completed in October 1973. The two buildings provided much needed classroom space for the religious education program and meeting rooms for the growing number of parish organizations and activities.
Ground breaking ceremonies for Saint Justin's Church building were held on April 21, 1974. The new Church, with a seating capacity of 600, was completed in October 1974, and it was consecrated by the Bishop on November 2, 1974. The first regular mass was celebrated in the New Church on December 19, 1974.
After the church building was completed, the parish went on with its planned complex of buildings. The present Rectory was completed in July 1975, and the current Parish Hall was completed in August 1978. The original Parish Hall was turned over for the youth of the parish as a meeting place and a Gym.
On November 12, 1982, Father William Nolan was named Pastor of Saint Justin's. Father Nolan was ordained in 1969, and served at Saint Thomas, Old Bridge; Saint Joseph, Toms River; Saint Rose, Belmar; and Saint Marys, New Monmouth, before being named pastor of Saint Justin's.
On October 1, 1982, it was announced by the Diocese that a third parish was to be established in Toms River. The new Parish would take roughly 1,000 families of Saint Justin's now 3,500 families.
As the rapid growth of Toms River continued, it became clear that the Church would have to be enlarged. By January 1987 the parish was back up to 3,500 families, and at times, held as many as thirteen Masses on the weekend (8 in the Church, and 5 in the Hall.) Plans and a building fund were begun in early 1987. On October 11, 1987, hundreds of Saint Justin's parishioners decorated shovels and broke ground for the 300 seat addition to the Church and a new parish library.
The addition was completed and the newly enlarged 900 seat Church was dedicated by Bishop John Reiss on June 1, 1989, the feast of Saint Justin. Weekend-long activities were held to celebrate. There was a concert by the Ocean County College Community Chorus, tours of the new facilities, a dance, and a parish picnic. By the time the addition was completed the parish had grown to over 4,000 families.
Saint Justin's Parish serves as the focal point for the spiritual, social, and recreational needs of it's now 6,000 plus families. Our buildings and facilities are humming with activity day and night throughout the year.
The number and variety of parish organizations, activities, and people that make up Saint Justin's Parish have turned it into the vibrant center of the lives and the affairs of the citizens of our community.
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Copyright © 1997- 2002 St. Justin's, Toms River, NJ
Any use without permission prohibited!
Revised:March 13, 2002.