Msgr. Richard A. Behl, 75, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle RC Church in Old Bridge, and Diocese of Metuchen Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, passed away Friday, November 25, 2016 at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy.
He was born June 5, 1941 in New Brunswick. He attended St. Joseph School in Bound Brook and St. Peter's High School in New Brunswick. Msgr. Behl entered minor seminary immediately after high school, studying at St. Charles College in Catonsville, MD for two years. He spent the next two years at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, where he received his bachelor's degree. He then attended the Pontifical American College in Rome, Italy to complete his studies for the priesthood at Georgian University. He graduated from Georgian with a doctorate in sacred theology and was ordained on Dec. 17, 1966 at St. Peter's Basilica. Msgr. Behl also earned a doctorate in ministry from Princeton University in 1975.
Msgr. Behl served as associate pastor of St. Mary Parish in South Amboy, St. James Parish in Red Bank and the Church of the Nativity in Fair Haven. In 1977 he received his first pastorate, at Our Lady of the Mount Parish in Warren. In 1985 he was made pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Bernardsville. In 1995 he was appointed rector of St. Francis Cathedral in Metuchen. In 2007, he was named pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle in Old Bridge. He is also on the national board of Pontifical Mission Societies. In 2008 Msgr. Behl was knighted into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.