The Holmdel Historical Society (HHS), which researches, preserves and interprets the history and architectural history of Holmdel, last night voted to move forward on its first order of business – a full restoration of the old St. Catharine’s Church.

In a unanimous vote, led by HHS President Peter Manieri and Vice President Sylvia Allen, the HHS enthusiastically took its first step as a rejuvenated organization, kicking off the major restoration of the St. Catharine’s Church, located on Stillwell Road.

Founded in 1879, the St. Catharine’s Church was initially built by Irish immigrant Father Michael L. Glennon on one-quarter acre plot of land off Stillwell Road donated by Thomas Meehan. The first Catholic Church in Holmdel, the church is covered by a slate roof and its pews seated about 100 parishioners.

In 1975, the church’s property at 84 Stillwell Road was donated to the HHS by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Trenton, New Jersey.

Currently, there is significant structural damage to the church, causing the church to tilt. There is also extensive water and insect damage, loose slate roofing, and windows that need to be replaced. Additionally, the church has no heating, electric or running water or sewage system, and is not handicap accessible. The church previously had a wild animal infestation, which has since been taken care of. The HHS will embark on this extensive project to restore this nearly 140-year-old church property starting next month.

On February 15, from 12:30 to 2 p.m., the HHS will host its first church clean-up, focusing on a particular section of the church, weather conditions permitting. They will serve pizza and tackle the task of beginning to cosmetically and sanitarily revitalize parts of the church.

They will also soon begin moving forward with various fundraising events to raise money to begin structural work on the church’s major deficits and damage.

If you would like to volunteer your time to help join in on this initial church clean-up day, please RSVP by contacting Manieri or Treasurer Rhonda Beck by calling 732-768-7583 or 732-685-4450, or by email at holmdelhistoricalsociety@gmail.com.

To join the organization as a member, annual dues for the HHS are $25 and can be paid in person or by calling Manieri or Beck directly.