In Memoriam

Rev. Charles R. Valentine     November 18, 1927 - January 28, 2013

Father Charles R. Valentine, who served as pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Englishtown, NJ from 1971 to 2004, was called home by the Lord on Monday, January 28, 2013 while in Kennedy Medical Center, Stratford. He was 85.

Funeral services for Father Valentine were held Friday, February 1, 2013 in St. Robert Bellarmine Church, 61 Georgia Road, Freehold. The Rite of Reception of the Body was celebrated at 1 p.m. with viewing hours lasting until 6:45 p.m. At 7 p.m., Rev. Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia was the principal celebrant of a Mass of Christian Burial.

Born November 18, 1927, Father Valentine grew up in Broad Channel, Long Island, N.Y. He attended St. Charles College, Catonsville, Md., and completed his studies for the priesthood in Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington.

Father Valentine was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop George W. Ahr June 12, 1954, in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, and was assigned as assistant pastor in Incarnation Parish, Ewing. After six years of service in Trenton, Father Valentine moved to Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish, Middlesex, June 24, 1960. He later served as assistant pastor in Guardian Angels Parish, Edison, and as director of Catholic Relief Services for the New Brunswick section of Middlesex County.

Father Valentine left his greatest mark, however, in Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Englishtown. Bishop John C. Reiss named Father Valentine pastor of the rapidly growing parish June 18, 1971. To accommodate the increasing numbers of parishioners, Father Valentine led a construction project that included the removal of a wall between the parish hall and the church and the renovation of the parish hall into additional worship space, with new pews and stained glass windows being installed.

A new parish center was also constructed during Father Valentine’s pastorate, with half being used for the parish’s catechetical program and the other half being used as a parish hall. Bishop Reiss dedicated the building May 15, 1998, and it was named the Rev. Charles R. Valentine Hall to honor the longtime pastor’s contributions to the parish community.

While pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Father Valentine also fulfilled pastoral duties in St. Joseph Parish, Perrineville, which was a mission of Our Lady of Mercy Parish from 1971 to 2004. He oversaw the construction of the current St. Joseph Parish church completed in 1999 and blessed by Bishop John M. Smith in 2000.

Father Valentine was a former chaplain of the Trenton Council, Knights of Columbus, and served as police chaplain in Middlesex and Englishtown. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing.

On October 1, 2006, Father Valentine retired from active ministry and took up residence in St. Robert Bellarmine Parish Freehold, NJ.

Father Valentine is survived by three brothers, John, Paul and Joseph, and three sisters, Rae Mary Johnston, Joan Flynn and Mary Vasile.

Father Valentine was buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, Perrineville, on February 2, 2013 at 10 a.m.

Father Malachy J. Higgiston

(October 28, 1923 – November 15, 2011)

Reverend Malachy Higgiston, 88, of Cherry Hill, passed away on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at Virtua West Hospital, Voorhees. Born in Belfast, Ireland on October 28, 1923, he became a U.S. citizen in 1953. He was Ordained on December 8, 1956. He was a professor at St. Pius X Seminary in Blackwood, NJ. He was a U.S. Army veteran Lieutenant Colonel retiring in 1988 after 22 years of honorable service as Military Chaplain serving in Vietnam. Father Malachy received his Masters in Theater from New York University in 1991. Father then became the weekend assistant from 1989-2010 to St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church, Manalapan. Father Malachy was a member of the Volantus Dei Institute, serving to bring to our all-too-often materialistic world an evangelical flavor by living their total consecration to God in the world.

Father Higgiston was predeceased by his parents, Elizabeth and Dennis, and a brother and sister. He is survived by many loving friends including Leon Boddie, the Buckman family, Deacon Joseph Izzo, Monsignor Ed Alleyne, Father John Bambrick, Maureen Pohl and Patricia and Jim Duffy.

Father John C. Petri

(January 18, 1919 – June 10, 2011)

Father John C. Petri, passed away on Friday, June 10, 2011 at St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center in Lawrenceville. He was born in the City of New Brunswick January 18, 1919. He attended Sacred Heart Grammar School and St. Peter High School, both in New Brunswick. Upon his high school graduation, Fr. Petri entered St. Charles Seminary in Catonsville, Maryland where he studied for two years. He then attended the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Ramsey where he completed his studied in 1945. Receiving the sacrament of the Holy Orders, John Charles Petri was ordained a Priest in the Roman Catholic Church on March 17, 1945.

Fr. Petri's assignments included serving Star of the Sea Parish in Long Branch, St. Mary's Parish in Perth Amboy, St. Cecelia Parish in Iselin, Holy Cross Parish in Rumson, and St. Frances Parish in Trenton. He was then named Pastor of the small country Parish of Our Lady of Mercy. Fr. Petri led this growing Catholic community for ten years. In 1970 Fr. Petri was transferred to build and lead the new St. Thomas More Parish Community in Manalapan. He retired to Leasburg NC and returned to New Jersey in 2007.

Fr. Petri was the Chaplin of Prince of Peace Council 5903 Knights of Columbus and of the Gordon's Corner Fire Company. He served on the Manalapan Township Shade Tree Committee and was an original member of Manalapan Day Committee. Father Petri enjoyed gardening and tending to the landscape of St. Thomas More. He was an accomplished photographer specializing in nature and floral photographs. He was an avid hiker and canoeing, giving him a wide range of subjects for his photography work. He was also a talented woodworker.

He was predeceased by his parents; John and Florence Petri, his brothers; Charles Petri and Robert Petri and a sister Betty Ann Loeber. Father Petri is survived by his Sister-in-Law Rita Ann Petri and his nieces and nephews; Diane Falkowski, Susan Petri, Kathy Harvey, and Sean Petri along with many great nieces and nephews