MANVILLE: Christ the King celebrates 65th anniversary

For a parish about to merge, it could be its last

By Mary Ellen Day, Special Writer
   Christ the King Church parishioners celebrated their 65th anniversary on the feast day of Christ the King on Nov. 24.
   According to the church website, after World War II increasing numbers of people moved to Manville to find work in the expanding Johns-Manville plant. With the need for a second Catholic church in Manville, Bishop William Griffin established the Church of Christ the King on April 22, 1948, and appointed Father Eugene B. Kelly as the founding pastor.
   The first Mass for the new parish was celebrated in Fire Company No. 3 on Louis Street and North 8th Avenue on May 23, 1948. Excavation for the new church and rectory was begun on Feb. 22, 1949, and construction was completed later that year. The newly installed bishop of Trenton, Bishop George W. Ahr, dedicated the Christ the King Church on June 25, 1950.
   In 1956, Father William J. Wrinn was appointed pastor. Father Wrinn acknowledged the need of a parochial school and initiated the plans for its construction. Christ the King Parish School was completed by the parish’s third pastor, Father James E. Coley, and opened on Sept. 6, 1968, under the guidance of Sister Marie of the Bernadine Sisters of Maryview, the school’s first principal. People filling the church for the anniversary celebration, which began with 10:30 Mass. The celebrant Monsignor Joseph Celano, along with former pastor Daniel Sloan and current pastor Stanislaw (Stan) Slaby, presided. Students from Christ the King School also participated by bringing up the gifts and singing special songs for occasion.
   ”This year our parish celebrates the 65th anniversary as a thanksgiving, blessing and achievements that God bestowed upon us during these years,” Father Stan said. Monsignor Celano acknowledged the imminent merger of the two parishes in the borough.
   ”While this is certainly a cause for us to celebrate, in both gratitude and humility before God, we must acknowledge that it a bitter sweetness that we are doing today. This community is about the cross over the threshold into something new,” he said. “Many have labored to bring this to birth. Many have also labored to preserve what is. The work of both must be honored to the degree as it was done out of love for this parish.”
   The celebration continued with a luncheon at Christ the King School. About 120 people attended.
   Father Sloan was at the 50th, 55th and 60th Christ the King Church anniversaries and said, “It is great to be back in this great little town and parish. It has always been a lively parish and it has done a lot of good to build up the kingdom here in the town of Manville. I hope it will continue to grow.”