RED BANK — Gov. Phil Murphy is among those remembering Monsignor Philip A. Lowery, the longtime leader of St. James Catholic Church and Red Bank Catholic High School, who died early Thursday morning. Lowery was 70 years old.

In addition to leading the parish, high school and St. James Elementary School, Lowery served as Head of Chaplains for the State Police for more than 23 years.

Red Bank mayor Pasquale Menna said in a Facebook post that Lowery died at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday morning. A cause of death was not disclosed.

Menna also said Lowery was "serenely at peace in the knowledge that he had affected positively the lives of so many. His legacy continues in the life examples he taught to so many."

A viewing and Vigil Mass for Lowery are scheduled for Wednesday at St. James Church, while a funeral is set for Thursday morning. Red Bank Catholic High School will be closed both days.

Governor Murphy and his wife, Tammy Murphy, released a statement remembering Lowery that said “He was one of the very first people we met when we moved to New Jersey and was a friend and mentor to his last day."

Murphy said Lowery stood beside him when he took his oaths to become both the U.S. Ambassador to Germany in 2009 and governor in 2018.

"He was a constant source of support, both personally and spiritually," Murphy said.

In a Facebook post in February amid a mass for Lowery's 70th birthday, State Police said Lowery "provided prayers and benedictions for State Police class graduations, counseled and comforted law enforcement officers in their time of need, and sadly, he presided over far too many line of duty funerals."

According to Murphy, Lowery also volunteered to be part of the state's Task Force 1 first responder unit at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

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