Manville had been part of Hillsborough Township for many years. It was rural, inhabited by small farms. Manville became industrialized in 1912 when the Johns-Manville Company built one of the largest asbestos factories in the world here. As a result, the population increased. People moved into Manville from Pennsylvania, other States, and immigrants came from many foreign countries. Many immigrants of Polish and Slavic descent came to have a better life, but never forgot their roots or their religion.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish was built on the sacrifices and hard work of these immigrants. Three years after the first Polish families settled in the Manville area, a small wooden church was constructed on West Camplain Road. Father Francis A. Kasprowicz was appointed the first pastor of the parish that was officially created in 1919. They abandoned the small building and constructed a permanent church on Main Street in Manville, which was consecrated in 1921. As membership grew, additional space was needed, so Msgr. Madura (pastor 1957-1971) purchased the old bakery next to the original Church; renovated it; and made it into a Church seating 800 people. It was opened in December of 1963. The original Church building was demolished in 2002 due to its unsafe condition.
The parish founded Sacred Heart School in 1921. It grew to four hundred students at its peak. Finally, low enrollment forced its closure in 1989, and many of the students transferred to Christ the King School in Manville. Many vocations to the clergy and religious life evolved thanks dedicated parents, and liturgies and programs offered by the Church and school.
LIST OF PASTORS AT SACRED HEART PARISH
1917-1934 Rev. Francis Kasprowicz
1934-1935 Rev. Adalbert Tomaszewski (Administrator)
1935-1957 Rev. Peter Wieczorek
1957-1971 Msgr. Martin A. Madura
1971-1996 Msgr. Joseph M. Krzysztofik
1996-1999 Rev. Peter Suhaka
1999-2009 Rev. Boguslaw Augustyn, C.Ss.R.
2009- present Rev. Stanislaw Slaby, C.Ss.R.
LIST OF PASTORS AT CHRIST THE KING PARISH
1948-1956 Msgr. Eugene Kelly
1956-1967 Msgr. William Wrinn
1967-1969 Rev. James Coley
1969-1977 Rev. John McGovern
1977-1979 Rev. Evasio DeMarcellis
1979-1986 Rev. Charles Kelly
1986-1993 Rev. Raymond Attanasio
1993- 2008 Rev. Daniel Sloan
2008- 2009 Rev. Boguslaw Augustyn, C.Ss.R.
2009- 2013 Rev. Stanislaw Slaby, C.Ss.R.
LIST OF PASTORS AT CHRIST THE REDEEMER PARISH
2014- present Rev. Stanislaw Slaby, C.Ss.R.
The Renewal of the Church in Manville process revealed a forgotten page of history of the Catholic Church in Manville. The records of Somerset County note the incorporation of “St. Stephen’s Hungarian Roman Catholic Church, Manville, N.J.” on January 09, 1931. The county records this church’s incorporation and names Rev. John J. McMahon as the Bishop of Trenton and Rev. F. A. Kasprowicz as the pastor. (Interestingly, that makes Fr. Kasprowicz the first pastor in Manville to serve two parishes, a tradition re-established in 2008.) No records remain of what had happened to St. Steven’s Hungarian Church, but a massive fire in 1956 in the archives of the Diocese of Trenton may have destroyed the records. Based on the documents that were found, we presume that St. Stephen’s Hungarian Parish was suppressed in order to give birth to Christ the King, a new territorial parish that would serve English speaking people in Manville. Somerset County records show that the St. Steven’s Hungarian
Organization, likely linked to the Hungarian Church, donated 12 plots of land to Christ the King Parish for the price of one dollar.
Christ the King Parish was established in 1948 with Monsignor Eugene B. Kelly as the founding pastor who built the church and its rectory. They were dedicated in June 1950. Over the years, Christ the King Parish has been blessed with many devoted pastors, associates, and parishioners who maintained a variety of ministries.
In 1967, Father William I. Wrinn, the Church’s second pastor, founded Christ the King School on North 13th Avenue, about a half mile west of Christ the King Church. Over its history, the school has enjoyed a dedicated and caring staff, and a supportive parent’s group. Additionally, there have been upgrades to the school’s curriculum and instruction initiatives, as well as to the building and grounds. The school continues as a vibrant part of Christ the Redeemer parish.
In 2008 Bishop Paul Bootkoski named Rev. Boguslaw Augustyn C.Ss.R. the pastor of Christ the King Parish in addition to his continuing as pastor of Sacred Heart Church. In 2009, Rev. Stanislaw Slaby C.Ss.R. became the Administrator and later the Pastor of both Manville parishes.
The economic crisis caused by the closing of the Johns-Manville plant and demographic changes in Manville have impacted both Sacred Heart and Christ the King Churches. So, eliminating duplicate functions and economies of consolidation began to manifest themselves. Under one pastor, the two parishes were beginning to merge, like having one religious education program (CCD & RCIA), one celebration of Confirmation, and one building housing both parish offices (done after flooding in 2010).
Flooding to Christ the King Church, which dates back as early as 1955, has been a chronic problem, as its location between North 2nd and 3rd Avenues is a flood zone in Manville. For decades faithful parishioners in cooperation with the clergy and diocese have rebuilt and renewed the Church after each flood. The flooding from Hurricane Irene in 2011 and the economic and demographic changes in Manville prompted Bishop Paul Bootkoski in November 2011 to initiate a process of “Renewal Church in Manville.” As a result of this process, which involved two years of prayers and discussions, Bishop Paul Bootkoski decreed the merger of Christ the King and Sacred Heart Parishes giving birth to one Catholic community in Manville, Christ the Redeemer Parish, effective January 01, 2014. Christ the Redeemer Parish also has a Polish apostolate to continue serving people of Polish descent. We are confident that God’s love and strength will sustain our faith and expand our spiritual existence so we can
continue to build Christ the Redeemer Parish.
We pray that we will continue to experience God's presence in our future, and that the resolute spirit of our founders in Manville will continue to inspire us. We are proud of our parish, our heritage and our great country. In this new millennium, we rededicate ourselves to the continued growth and future development of Christ the Redeemer Parish.