Parish History

Our parish received its charter on September 18, 1907, the 700th anniversary of the birth of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Father William J. McConnell of St. Rose in Belmar proposed that a mission church be established in Avon and he received the approval of the Most Rev. James A. McFaul, D.D., Bishop of the Trenton Diocese. The church, on property donated by Edward Batchelor, Avon’s founder, was completed on August 15, 1908, the Feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Lady. Under Msgr. McConnell the church flourished. Early statistics indicated there were 150 members of the church (most of whom lived in Neptune City) and 350 summer visitors. 

In the late 1920’s the Avon mission was placed under the direction of Rt. Rev. John J. O’Hara of the Church of the Ascension in Bradley Beach. 

In 1930 the first resident pastor was appointed, Rev. Thomas F. Hennessy. He built the rectory. The Great Depression engulfed the parish, which had incurred a debt for the construction of the rectory. When Father Hennessy became ill and was transferred to St. Joseph’s in Washington, N.J., Msgr. O’Hara resumed the administration and for a short period of time Masses were held only in the summer. 

When the parish regained financial stability and the parishioners increased, Masses were resumed on a year-round basis and on June 7, 1936 the Most Rev. Moses E. Kiley, Bishop of Trenton, appointed the Rev. Leo Dineen as pastor. At his untimely death in February 1940, Rev. Edward McAndrews was appointed temporary administrator. 

In September 1941, the Most Rev. William A. Griffin appointed Rev. Joseph A. Mulligan as pastor. Father Mulligan, later honored with the rank of monsignor, served with distinction for 32 years. Msgr. Mulligan’s death 1972 was mourned by all who knew him. 

Rev. John W. McMullin was appointed pastor by the Most Rev. George Ahr. He implemented renovations recommended by Vatican II, including a new altar. He dedicated the parish hall to Msgr. Mulligan. He died on May 18, 1979. 

Father Joseph A. Radomski, was appointed pastor by Bishop Ahr on July 5, 1979. On August 22, 1986 a raging fire destroyed most of our church. From the ashes of that tragic fire, Father Joe has rebuilt and restored not only the original church but also has added a magnificent addition with seating for another 200 people. Since the addition was rebuilt during the Marian Year, all the stained glass windows were dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Lavatories and a meeting room were built below the addition. 

Father Joe retired in February 2006, and in May of 2006, Bishop Smith appointed Father William Lago (Fr. Bill) as temporary administrator. Fr. Bill was replaced by Fr. Joseph Mokrzycki, after 2 ½ years Fr. Joe passed away on January 25, 2010.  Bishop Smith appointed Father Daniel Gowen as administrator on February 1, 2010 and installed as Pastor on August 22, 2010.  St. Elizabeth’s is growing. Recent statistics indicate we have more than 600 families and as many as 1000 summer visitors. During the past 80+ years we have grown from a mission church to a “CHURCH WITH A MISSION.”