ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – An estimated crowd of 500 churchgoers packed approximately 150 cars Sunday morning as Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes parish held its first mass in the parking lot at St. Agnes Church.
The Rev. Jarlath Quinn, administrator of the parish, which includes the church on Route 36 in Highlands, welcomed the crowd and offered the mass from an altar set up in the parking lot. He was assisted by the Rev. Martin Biglin, a retired priest now living in the borough.
Fr. Quinn thanked everyone who helped make the parking lot mass available, praising not only the local Police Department for their cooperation and assistance, but members of the community and the parish organizations. The Rev. Joseph J. Donnelly Council of the Knights of Columbus, church ushers, eucharistic ministers, lectors, musicians, altar servers and staff and other assistants joined together in a concerted effort to make the innovative setting a success, the administrator said.
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Church members served as parking attendants to ensure safe and distanced parking for all vehicles, and participants were asked to remain in their vehicles throughout the mass, to ensure the event maintained the state guidelines of no more than 25 persons in the open.
The congregation also gave a round of applause at the announcement of the anniversary of Father Biglin’s ordination to the priesthood, showing appreciation for his assistance in the parish since his retirement here.
The mass is once again scheduled for this Sunday at 10 a.m. at St. Agnes parking lot. Participants are urged to arrive 10-15 minutes early to facilitate parking.