St. Rose of Lima Parish was established in 1852 when the area was still part of the Archdiocese of New York. The first church was dedicated on December 16, 1852, on site in Springfield. Father Bernard McQuaid, the first pastor, was subsequently named first president of Seton Hall College, beginning a long relationship between the parish and Seton Hall. Father McQuaid became Bishop of Rochester, New York. When Seton Hall moved from Madison to South Orange, the priest community at the college assumed responsibility for the parish. In 1868 Father Louis Schneider, a professor at Seton Hall, became pastor. Under his leadership, the first parish school was opened and land was purchased for a cemetery, a convent, a rectory, and a church. The original wooden church was moved to the new site in Short Hills in 1880 and replaced with a brick structure in 1909.
Several priests who served St. Rose have achieved prominence. In addition to Bishop McQuaid, the list includes Archbishop Michael Corrigan, Bishop of Newark and later Archbishop of New York; Bishop Winand Wigger, also Bishop of Newark; and Father James Corrigan, President of Seton Hall and brother of the Archbishop.
Under Msgr. John Ryan's direction, which began in 1945, the church was remodeled and the school enlarged. In 1968 Bishop John Dougherty, president of Seton Hall University, was named pastor. A Council Father at Vatican Council II, Bishop Dougherty formed the parish in the conciliar spirit and added another chapter to the illustrious clergy who have served St. Rose of Lima.