Holy Name of Jesus Parish History
At the turn of the last century, a small group of residents in Mullica Hill gathered for prayer at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Irwin. Soon after, in March of 1901, Father Walter Leahy, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Swedesboro, directed the development of a Sunday School for the children.
Mr. and Mrs. Warren Atkinson then donated property for the purpose of building a church and providing land for a cemetery. Construction began with the laying of the cornerstone on August 6, 1901. On November 24, 1901 Holy Name of Jesus Church was dedicated. It was originally a mission church to St. Joseph’s in Swedesboro, and then, two years later, to St. Bridget’s in Glassboro.
It wasn’t until 1959 that a rectory was added when the house next door to the church was purchased. It was then that Holy Name of Jesus was assigned its first resident pastor, Father James Gaffney.
As the congregation continued to grow, the need for additional space to celebrate Mass and to instruct religious education students became apparent. Under the direction of Father Ambrose Bryce, pastor from 1980-1996, construction began on a new parish center in 1991 on land adjoining the church. In December of 1993 the Mullica Hill Parish Center was officially dedicated.
In 1996, when Father Michael P. Rush became pastor, plans were formulated to celebrate a special anniversary of the Holy Name of Jesus church. For the occasion of its 100th anniversary, the church was refurbished both inside and out. An historic designation by the State of New Jersey was given, ensuring the church’s preservation in the future.
In June of 2002, co-pastors Father Anthony DiBardino and Father Dave Grover became part of the community and shared pastoral care. In February of 2005, Father Grover was transferred to the position of pastor of St. Michael’s in Gibbstown. While Father DiBardino continued to serve as pastor, during the next few years Father Krystoff Wtorek, Father Michael Galea, Father Steven Pinzon, and Father Jerry Gomez served as Parochial Vicars.
In June of 2010, Holy Name of Jesus Parish merged with St. Joseph’s in Woodstown and St. Ann’s in Elmer to form the Catholic Community of the Holy Spirit.