141 Navesink Avenue, Highlands NJ 07732
In 1863, Rev. Thomas M. Killeen, pastor of St. James in Red Bank, celebrated Highland’s first mass in a private home. Priests from Red Bank continued to administer to the community until 1879, when Rev. John J. O’Connor took up residence in Highlands. Father O’Connor assumed the pastorate of St. Mary’s Parish, which then consisted of New Monmouth and Highlands.
In 1883, when Father O’Connor moved nearer to St. Mary’s Church in New Monmouth, Rev. John H. Fox, pastor of Holy Cross in Rumson, took responsibility for the Catholics of Highlands. In 1888 Father Fox built Highland’s first church. Rev. Thomas Roche, pastor of St. Agnes in Atlantic Highlands, took charge of Highlands in 1891.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s first pastor, Rev. John T. Sweeney, arrived in 1898, thus establishing an independent parish. Father Sweeney constructed a parish hall and the present rectory in 1901. Rev. Thomas Kearns completed a larger church by 1932. In 1951, Rev. Joseph J. Donnelly started a school in the basement of the church.
A building for the Sisters of St. Francis from Stella Niagara, New York, was purchased in 1951. The present, more convenient convent was purchased and renovated in 1957.
Rev. James A. Thompson constructed a school building in 1963, and about 1978, the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Infant Jesus from Woodbury assumed the teaching duties of the school.
In 1997 Rev. John M. Dobrosky purchased the house on the corner of Miller and Navesink Avenue, which is now known as the St. Jude Thrift Shop. The Thrift Shop is staffed by volunteers of the parish.