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Parish History

The parish was founded on October 26, 1953 when 550 families from Fair Haven, Little Silver and a portion of Rumson joined together to form a new family with the common goal of praising God. On February 3, 1955, on the crest of a hill facing Hance Rd. in Fair Haven, the Bishop of Trenton, dedicated the Church of the Nativity, and Nativity Parish became a spiritual home where its members would worship, grow, work and play.

The Nativity family quickly set itself to furnishing and decorating the new church through a variety of fundraising activities. These efforts, coupled with generous gifts from parishioners and church organizations, resulted in a sanctuary graced with an Italian marble altar, flanked by two antique marble chairs against a background of rich drapery. The side altars displayed a statue from Bavaria of St. Joseph and a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The original altar cross dates back to the 17th Century and the corpus to the 15th Century. In response to Vatican II, the church interior was renovated in 1965 to allow the congregation to participate more closely in the liturgy.

Social and fundraising activities have brought parishioners together on many occasions. During the mid 60’s the Rosary-Altar Luncheon and Fashion Show became an official harbinger of spring throughout the area.  

In 1982 a census was taken along with a parish needs assessment.  In response to expressed needs, parishioners became more involved parish life.  Special attention was given to the liturgy and music ministry areas.  For example, there was an increased musical presence during the liturgy, as evidenced by the addition of cantors, a folk group and children’s choirs.  Likewise, the inclusion of women as lectors, and of men and women as special ministers of the Eucharist, were introduced.  Religious education for elementary school children expanded, Pre-school classes we formed and a Youth Group for high school students was established. Adults seeking admission to the Catholic Church were, and continue to be, welcomed and instructed through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, which was set up at that time.  In addition, for over twenty years, the entire parish has been invited to seek spiritual reawakening through RENEW. 

On October 21, 1990, Nativity’s Parish Center was dedicated.  We now worship in a modern daily chapel, and the children are instructed in well-equipped classrooms.  Additional office space was also made available. Before this time, the Religious Education program used the Knollwood School in Fair Haven, as well as the homes of parishioners. 

On September 11, 2001 the World Trade Center in New York City was destroyed by terrorists.  Many people in this area lost their lives, including several from our parish. 

On Sunday, February 16, 2003, during a snowstorm, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the parish with a mass, followed by a dinner dance at the Old Orchard Country Club.  In recent years, Nativity has undergone a major upgrade and renovation of church facilities. 

The Church of the Nativity is an active parish.  Social events include our Friday fish fries during Lent, monthly socials after Sunday mass, monthly men’s luncheons, special events for teens, and a “Messiah” concert with orchestra and chorus. The Women’s Group at Nativity hosts many varied fundraising and social activities. We also have a garden club and choirs for adults and children.  In addition to our Religious Education, Youth Group and Vacation Bible School programs for children, we also have adult faith formation programs, Pre-Cana marriage preparation, Faith Enrichment Center activities, and an active liturgy committee.  Parishioners are continually encouraged to get involved in all aspects of Nativity parish life.