Ordinations June 2018, Diocese of Trenton, The Monitor

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Commemorating the Ordination of Priests 

Commemorating the Ordination of Priests  2018


‘Gift & Mystery’

‘Gift & Mystery’ Tears of joy flowed freely June 2, as the diocesan community gathered to witness the ordination by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., of four new priests – Father Christopher J. Dayton, Father Michael G. DeSaye, Father Nicholas R.


Dolan and Father James R. Smith. Hundreds of loved ones and well-wishers


gathered in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral in Trenton to witness and THE


Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, N.J.


Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, N.J.

rejoice in the long-awaited day when four men were raised to the Order of the

Priesthood. In his homily, the Bishop echoed the words of St. John Paul II, who Full coverage of the Ordination begins on page S2.



Meet our newest priests in their personal profiles, beginning on page S6. Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, N.J.


Newspaper of the Diocese of Trenton

A Special Publication of THE

Newspaper of the Diocese of Trenton

JUNE 14, 2018


Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, N.J.

Craig Pittelli photo

had referred to the priesthood as “Gift and Mystery.”


The entire congregation, including the priests in the sanctuary and the faithful in the pews, kneel in prayer and join in the chanting of the Litany of Saints as the four priest candidates lie prostrate on the sanctuary floor. Craig Pittelli photo

‘A Priest Like Christ’ Bishop O’Connell preaches on sharing the faith as he ordains four men to the priesthood Story by Jennifer Mauro, Managing Editor


t’s an interesting coincidence that directly behind the Bishop’s chair is a depiction of the bishop ordaining,” Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., said June 2, gesturing to the stained-glass window behind him in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. “Between this window, and that window,” he said, pointing to the one above the Diocese’s four newly ordained priests on the opposite side of the Cathedral, “which pictures a priest doing his work and preaching, what do we have? We have these four men – Father Smith, Father Dolan, Father DeSaye and Father Dayton – and we all say congratulations to you.” Hundreds of priests, deacons, women and men religious and lay faithful erupted into applause in welcoming Father Christopher James Dayton, Father Michael G. DeSaye, Father Nicholas R. Dolan and Father James Richard Smith to the priesthood. Later revealing what he was thinking as Bishop O’Connell spoke on the holiness depicted in stained glass, Father DeSaye said, “It’s very priestly – the consecration is happening right there. Those were my

thoughts as I was looking at that window: I hope to be a priest like Christ.”

The Worthiest of Men Voices lifted in song to “O Christ, High Priest Eternal” and “Ecce Sacerdo Magnus,” led by the Diocesan Festival Choir and

instrumental accompaniment under the direction of Shawn Mack, marked the start of Mass, which was celebrated by a visibly moved Bishop O’Connell. “The Bishop and I joked that we both had allergies at the same moment,” Father Dayton, seen wiping away tears during the Mass, said later with a smile. After Introductory Rites, Richard Smith, uncle of Father Smith, and Christian Brother Frank Byrne, president of Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft – of which three of the new priests are alumni – proclaimed the Readings. The Gospel was proclaimed by See next page

During the Ordination Mass, Bishop O’Connell spoke on the stained-glass windows in the Cathedral depicting a bishop ordaining a priest, left, and a priest preaching, right. Staff photos

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Bishop O’Connell takes time to kneel in prayer in front of the tabernacle before Mass. Craig Pittelli photo

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., center, is pictured with the four men he ordained to the priesthood June 2. From left are Father James R. Smith, Father Michael G. DeSaye, Father Christopher J. Dayton and Father Nicholas R. Dolan. Craig Pittelli photo

Deacon Christopher Pinto, who was ordained a transitional deacon May 19. The four men, seated in the sanctuary during Mass, were then presented for ordination by Msgr. Thomas Mullelly, diocesan vicar of clergy and consecrated life and director of vocations. “Most Reverend Father, Holy Mother Church asks you to ordain these, our brothers, to the responsibility of the priesthood,” Msgr. Mullelly said. “Do you know them to be worthy?” Bishop O’Connell asked. Msgr. Mullelly affirmed the men’s worthiness, and Bishop O’Connell accepted them for the Order of the Priesthood to the applause of the crowd – among them, faithful representing the home parishes of the newly ordained, or where they had served as part of their seminary formation. “There’s a beautiful prayer that was prayed about God holding us up and helping us to stand up,” Father Dolan later recalled of the Ordination Rite. “You just felt like falling over and falling apart, but it was a real grace to be held up by God.”

Heart of the Priesthood In his homily, Bishop O’Connell preached on Pope John Paul II, and how

“There’s a beautiful prayer about God holding us up ...”

50 years after the now-saint’s ordination, he referred to the priesthood as a gift and mystery. “The gift of priesthood is given you by God,” he said. “You were chosen for this gift, set apart from all else that you could have been in this world, because God wanted YOU to receive this gift. Believe that with every fiber of your being, with the conviction of your mind, with the beating of your heart, with the depth of your soul.” “Here is the mystery of the priesthood. Why you? Why any of us? The Scriptures say, ‘Before you were born, I knew you; before you were born, I set you apart,’” the Bishop continued, quoting from the day’s First Reading, Jeremiah 1:4-9. “Yes, for a gift, for a mystery, for a priesthood that invites us, my brother priests and you, the newest among us: to ‘know what you are doing and to imitate what you handle.’ Let us listen now to the voice of the Church, ‘ever ancient, ever new,’” he concluded, quoting from St. Augustine’s “Confessions.” Again pausing with emotion, Bishop then addressed the four candidates as “dear sons,” asking them to declare their intention to assume the responsibilities of the priesthood. Called by name, each then knelt

before Bishop O’Connell and, placing their hands in his, promised obedience to their shepherd and his successors. The chant of the Litany of Saints filled the Cathedral as the men then lie prostrate in the front of the altar. In their last act as priest candidates, Father Dayton, Father DeSaye, Father Dolan and Father Smith rose and approached the Bishop one by one, kneeling before him. Bishop laid his hands upon their heads – the official act, rooted in Scripture, that indicates the bestowing of the Holy Spirit and ordains the men priests. “What a powerful feeling,” Father Smith later recalled of the moment, and the following minutes as the Diocese’s concelebrating priests approached the men to each lay their See • S4

The Monitor is proud to present this special publication commemorating the Ordination of: Father Christopher J. Dayton Father Michael G. DeSaye Father Nicholas R. Dolan Father James R. Smith May God bless them abundantly as they begin their new priestly ministry. To order additional copies of this booklet, or to subscribe to The Monitor, contact the Business Desk at (609) 403-7131 or Monitor-Marketing@dioceseoftrenton.org. The Monitor, in cooperation with the Diocese’s Department of Multimedia Production, has assembled a comprehensive content package from Ordination 2018. Go to TrentonMonitor.com for:  Archive of the live video stream from the Mass  Text of Bishop O’Connell’s homily  News video featuring interviews with the new priests and their family members  Hundreds of photos from the Ordination Mass as well as the new priests’ first Masses

June 14, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com • Ordinations • S3

Continued from • S3

own hands upon the new priests’ heads. “I was crying the whole time,” Father Smith said. “By the end of the time that all the brother priests laid their hands on us, and I saw the faces of each one of them go by … it all hit me at once.”

Mentors in Faith After the Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Ordination, the priests were bestowed with their vestments – the stole and chasuble. Father Dayton was vested by Msgr. Leonard Troiano, episcopal vicar for planning, and Father DeSaye by Father Michael Saharic, pastor of St. Ann Parish, Hampton. Father Dolan was vested by Father Alberto Tamayo, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Red Bank, and moderator of the Oratory of Philip Neri, who later said of the new priest, “I’ve seen him move from being a seminarian to Christ giving him the heart of a priest. What does the heart of a priest look like? The heart of Jesus.” Father Smith’s vesting priest was Father Stanley P. Lukaszewski, with whom he served during a summer assignment in St. Barnabas Parish. “He’s got a great desire to work with people, and his desire to want to be a priest can be seen in his everyday lifestyle,” the Bayville pastor said of Father Smith after Mass. Adorned in their new vestments, the priests again knelt before Bishop O’Connell, who anointed their hands with the sacred Oil of Chrism and wrapped their hands in a

linen cloth. Following the presentation of the gifts, which were brought in procession by the ordinandi’s family members, the Bishop and conDuring the Ordination Rite, the new priests were vested in the stole and celebrating priests chasuble, which are the garments worn by a priest when celebrating Mass. embraced the new Craig Pittelli photo priests and Mass continued with the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Faithful Support Following Mass, the faithful – including dozens who traveled by bus from St. Anthony of Padua Parish – lined up around the Cathedral to receive a blessing from the new priests. Father Dolan is part of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, located on the parish’s grounds. As such, he has served there as a religious brother before and during his time as a transitional deacon. He will continue to serve at the parish, as it is the Oratory’s permanent residence. “Every time he would come back from seminary, you would see him more and more comfortable. He would be able to explain to you more the different pieces of the faith,” said Anthony Privetera of St. Anthony of Padua Parish. “There’s a vocation lesson in seeing him become a priest,” Privetera added, explaining that Father Dolan has been involved in the Youth Oratory for years.

Bishop O’Connell offers the Kiss of Peace to Father James Smith. Craig Pittelli photo

S4 • Ordinations • The Monitor • June 14, 2018

Privetera’s wife, Gabriela, agreed. “Teenagers can be a little complicated; they need strength,” she said. “He has an ability to connect with them on a personal level, but at the same time, they respect him and follow him as a leader.” Parishioners in Father Smith’s home parish, Incarnation-St. James, Ewing, spoke over each other in excitement in praising the new priest. “Fantastic,” “excellent,” “wonderful,” longtime parishioners Marie Emourato, Mafalda Fabe and Edith Ann Mrazik gushed, describing the type of priesthood they think Father Smith will lead.

“There’s a vocation lesson in seeing him become a priest.” “He’s a real inspiration,” Mrazik said, explaining how Father Smith was part of the parish prayer group for roughly 10 years. In his childhood, Father Smith’s mother worked in the parish rectory. “His smile and his ability to draw people to him ... he finds something good to say about everybody,” Mrazik continued. “He’s a wonderful example for the Catholic Church.” Following the example of his shepherd, Father Dayton recalled the words of Bishop’s homily as he bestowed blessings upon the faithful. “The gift of the priesthood is exactly what Bishop said. It’s to give it away. That’s my prayer, too,” Father Dayton said. “That going forth, I take the gift I’ve received and the love that I feel today and give it to every single person that I’m sent to serve.”

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Father Christopher Dayton, Father Michael DeSaye, Father Nicholas Dolan and Father James Smith On their Priestly Ordination.

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Our Lady of Charity, patroness of the Red Bank Oratory, pray for him! June 14, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com • Ordinations • S5

Man of all Seasons

Every day, any way, Father Dayton ready to be the ‘best priest I can’ Story by Lois Rogers, Correspondent

S6 • Ordinations • The Monitor • June 14, 2018


sk newly ordained Father Christopher James Dayton what he’s looking forward to as he begins priestly life in Belmar’s St. Rose Parish, and he quickly answers: being part of people’s lives in good times and bad, in the sacred and the every day. In doing so, Father Dayton said he hopes to follow the examples of his family and the priests who nourished his faith formation from kindergarten to ordination. In the weeks leading up to his June 2 ordination as a priest by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., Father Dayton reflected on how much the support of his family and priest mentors meant to him as he discerned his vocation. Father Dayton is one of four boys and four girls born to Chip and Melissa Dayton. “The family played a huge role in the whole process that led to becoming a priest,” Father Dayton said. “The love of my mom and dad held me to an ideal. I wanted the happiness they have had through their self-giving to eight kids.” His family is devoted to the life of the Church, and in fact, his parents have spent nearly 20 years in family and youth ministry. Their relationship and generosity of spirit with the wider community was one of the models that inspired his vocation, Father Dayton said. “I have seen in their relationship and how they raised us as good Catholic kids that going into the priesthood wasn’t giving something up,” he said. “It was a way of giving the same kind of love my parents gave to me and my siblings. “They have all been very supportive,” he continued. “They have made sure I kept a level head, and everyone has played their own part. It’s been a whole family process.”

Best Practices

Father Christopher Dayton receives the gift of the Precious Blood from a family member during the first Mass he celebrated as a priest June 3 in St. Catharine Church, Spring Lake. Craig Pittelli photo

“Being a priest for the people, that’s what I’m most excited about.” he regards as true inspirations throughout his discernment process and the seminary is Msgr. Leonard Troiano, who vested him during the ordination Mass. It was Msgr. Troiano who, Father Dayton said, “finally pushed me into the pool” after years of mentoring by Msgr. Luebking. He got acquainted with Msgr. Troiano when the then-Lavallette pastor resided in St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Father Dayton said that before Msgr. Luebking died, he asked Msgr. Troiano to “look after me. He calls me all the time, offers great priestly advice. I wouldn’t have had it any other way than having him vest me.” Father Dayton added that Father John Bambrick, pastor of St. Aloysius Parish, Jackson, who mentored him in his year as a transitional deacon, and Father Garry Koch, pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, who taught and advised Father Dayton while he was a student at Lincroft’s Christian Brothers Academy, also served as role models of the priest he hopes to become. He said he and Father Koch “met every week for the

That process, he said, contributed greatly to his ability to be comfortable with people of all ages, as did the priests who served as his mentors. “On a parish level, I’ve seen priests immerse themselves in ways that are beautiful,” said Father Dayton, who was raised in Spring Lake’s St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish, where he served at the altar and was encouraged by his pastor, the late Msgr. Thomas Luebking, to take an active role in Father Christopher parish life. James Dayton Among the priests

good part of a year when he, himself, was a transitional deacon at St. Catharine’s, helping me to prepare to enter seminary, answering every question and fear I had.”

Ready and Willing His Catholic school education also played a significant role in his decision to become a priest, Father Dayton said. Born Aug. 27, 1987, he is a 2006 graduate of Christendom College, Front Royal, Va., where he received degrees in political science and economics. Father Dayton, who prepared for the priesthood in St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore, where he graduated May 17 with bachelor of sacred theology and master of divinity degrees, spoke warmly of his year as a transitional deacon in St. Aloysius Parish. “Father Bambrick and the entire parish opened their arms to me,” Father Dayton said. “Father Bambrick was a good mentor. He was very thorough and fatherly, like a priest should be, always ready with good advice.” Father Dayton said he’s looking forward to beginning his priestly ministry – celebrating Mass, hearing Confession, visiting faithful in the hospital, “all of it.” “I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running. Being a priest for the people, that’s what I’m most excited about,” he said. “I bring the experience of coming from a big family and everything that goes into it, which has made me comfortable and able to chat with all age groups. I like to be a consensus-builder, someone who will listen and be part of the parish.” “My biggest concern,” he said, “is that I hold myself up to be the best priest I can, making it not all about me, but allowing God to use me as his instrument.”

OPPOSITE PAGE: In the main photo, Bishop O’Connell presents the paten and chalice to be used at the Mass to Father Christopher Dayton. Bottom photos, from left, Rev. Mr. Dayton reverently prays as Bishop O’Connell ordains him a priest; Chip Dayton embraces his newly ordained priest-son, and Rev. Mr. Dayton and his three ordination classmates process into the Cathedral. Craig Pittelli photos

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Jeff Bruno photo

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Jeff Bruno photo

Father DeSaye looking forward to being a shepherd to all God’s children

Craig Pittelli photo

Family Matters

Craig Pittelli photo

Story by Jennifer Mauro, Managing Editor


ichael G. DeSaye looks at the priesthood as a family, which is no wonder considering he grew up with devoutly religious parents, three siblings and years of Catholic education.

“There’s something to be said for the word ‘father’ as used for priests,” said Father DeSaye, who was ordained a priest June 2 by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. “It’s interesting that you should call them father and not ‘sir’ or something like that. A father is someone who gave up what he was doing to be a model, a self-sacrificing person, for others because he loves them. “The Church is also a family – there’s local families and the universal family,” he continued. “Even though we don’t have natural children, we do have spiritual children. In a sense, we generate children not for the world but for God.”

“Trust is key to the entire idea of priesthood.”

much because I was just sitting in the pew.” After earning a pre-theology certificate from The Catholic University of America, Washington, and a master of divinity degree from Mount St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., not to mention spending the past year as a transitional deacon in St. Rose of Lima Parish, York, Pa., he said he’s come to realize that priests are extremely busy. Whether it’s by visiting the sick, celebrating Mass for various groups or participating in evening activities, meetings, public dinners etc., he said the priesthood is actually a very visible way of life. “That surprised me,” he said. “It’s a balance between solitude and prayer and highly visible public work.” The middle ground, he continued, is when priests spend quality time with their brothers in faith. “Priests have a really good fraternity and friendship with each other that sustains and carries them forward. The Diocese has a good amount of that, and that’s a sign of health.”

In God’s Hands Father DeSaye is about to learn more about both kinds of families. Born to Gregory and Deborah DeSaye, the 34-year-old priest grew up in Brick with his parents, brother, Christopher, and two sisters, Marie and Kathleen. He credits his parents’ decision to enroll him in Catholic education – Holy Family School, Lakewood, and Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft – as well as family time spent in prayer and at Mass with instilling in him Catholic morals and culture, which established the bedrock for his priestly discernment. As a young Catholic, he said, he never considered a vocation. “I used to have a picture of the priesthood as being an isolated and lonely experience,” he said. “I didn’t understand that they did so Newly ordained Father Michael DeSaye celebrates his first Mass June 3 in St. Benedict Church, Holmdel. Here, he elevates the host during the Consecration. John Batkowski photo

Father DeSaye, who earned a bachelor’s degree in music and piano from New York’s Ithaca College before seminary, has spent time as a case worker for the Diocese’s Mount Carmel Guild and served as a deacon in Visitation Parish, Brick, last summer. He’s found the past year as a transitional deacon preaching, celebrating Baptisms and teaching religious education in the York parish to be occasions where spiritual fatherhood can be put into practice. At the core of this fatherhood, he said, is trust. “Trust is key to the entire idea of priesthood,” he said. “The extremeness of it – it hits you. Celibacy is where it starts, but it doesn’t end there. The apostles left wife and home to follow Christ, and ultimately it’s about the Cross, the willingness to take onto yourself a huge burden because you believe that by taking it on something

Father Michael G. DeSaye greater will come about. That’s worth a life of not having some things that other men have. We’re giving up really good things – a wife and kids, autonomy, to a certain degree, careers – for the sake of something greater: to be able to rescue souls from death and bring them to eternal life.” Trust is important not just in God, but in one’s bishop, too, such as when a priest is placed in a new assignment. “Bishop [O’Connell] holds the place of the father for us, so whatever he wants us to do, we have to trust that he is operating in place of Christ and is asking us as his representative to do what needs to be done for the salvation of souls. “There’s something to that fraternal bond … to trust as a son to a father just like Jesus trusted his heavenly father all the way to death. That’s something we have to also try to imitate,” he said.

Everyday Encounters Father DeSaye said he feels prepared for his new assignment as parochial vicar in St. Joan of Arc Parish, Marlton, which includes a K-8 school. “The formation process helps you wake up every day and say, ‘I’m ready for this again, let’s do this,’” he said, explaining that saying “yes” to God is an everyday exercise. “To be a Sacrament, to be the Sacrament of Holy Orders, is at once terrifying and beautiful,” he said, admitting that he will be leaning on God, grace and the Blessed Mother. “I can’t do it by myself, but with the prayers of the saints and with the Church’s help, I confidently commit my life to God’s will.” OPPOSITE PAGE: In the main photo, Bishop O’Connell lays hands on the head of Rev. Mr. Michael DeSaye, officially ordaining him a priest. Middle photo, Rev. Mr. DeSaye smiles as he joins his fellow deacons in witnessing the atmosphere inside the Cathedral at the start of the Ordination Mass. Bottom photos, from left, Bishop O’Connell anoints the new priest’s hands with Sacred Chrism, and Father DeSaye offers a blessing to a family after Mass.

June 14, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com • Ordinations • S9

Before the Mass, Bishop O’Connell blesses the chalices to be used by the new priests. Craig Pittelli photo

Bishop O’Connell processes into the nave of St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral at the start of the Mass of Ordination. Craig Pittelli photo

‘God’s goodness Reveale Priests of the Diocese impose hands on the heads of their newly ordained brothers. Craig Pittelli photo

Missionary of Charity sisters from Asbury Park prepare to receive Holy Communion. Jeff Bruno photo

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The four priest candidates listen intently as Bishop O’Connell begins the Rite of Ordination. Craig Pittelli photo

The four new priests gather on either side of the altar table to concelebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist with Bishop O’Connell for the first time. Next to the Bishop is Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio, diocesan vicar general. Jeff Bruno photo

After anointing the hands of each of the new priests with Sacred Chrism, Bishop O’Connell wrapped the hands with a linen cloth. It’s a tradition that when celebrating his first Mass, the new priest will present the cloth to his mother. Craig Pittelli photo

Family members of the new priests participate in the Presentation of the Gifts of bread and wine. Craig Pittelli photo

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Jeff Bruno photo

Craig Pittelli photo

Craig Pittelli photo

Story by Jennifer Mauro, Managing Editor

‘For the People’ S12 • Ordinations • The Monitor • June 14, 2018

Craig Pittelli photo

Reaching, strengthening his flock at the heart of Father Dolan’s ministry


ot long after Father Nicholas Dolan was ordained as a transitional deacon last year, he returned to his seminary studies, sharing with a priest friend that he had never before experienced God in such a unique way.

“He said to me, ‘Well you’re right. When we receive the Sacraments, it is a new experience of God. You’re coming to know him in a way that you’ve never known him before, and he’s revealing himself to you in a way he has never revealed himself to you before.’ “I think that will be even more the case with the priesthood,” said Father Dolan, who was ordained a priest June 2 by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. While most priests begin their journey at a new parish, Father Dolan returns to St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Red Bank, where he has served for the past five years with pastor Father Alberto Tamayo as a brother and most recently a deacon. The parish is the home of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, who was known for his great humor and joy. As an Oratorian, Father Dolan lives and prays with his fellow priests and brothers, as the Oratory is the community’s permanent residence. “This is my home,” Father Dolan said fondly, sitting in the parish hall weeks before his ordination. “I have served the people here for five years and have gotten to know them so well. To be ordained by the Bishop to be a priest for them is a really awesome thing because the priesthood is not a Sacrament for myself. It’s a gift of God for building up his Church.”

Finding Common Ground Though it may not have been intentional from the start, building up God’s Church has been an ongoing part of the 25-year-old priest’s life. One of four sons born to Robert and Maria Dolan, Father Dolan grew up attending Mass with his family and went to Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft. Feeling called to the priesthood in high school, he attended college at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, where he earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy. He went on to St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., where he earned a master of divinity degree in May. One of his main goals at the parish over the years has been to find ways to relate to his congregation – whether by holding Youth Oratory meetings for teens and families or taking Spanish lessons to meet the needs of

the parish’s growing Hispanic population. Working with the Youth Oratory – a group of eighth- to 12th-graders that meets five times a month for games and sports, service to the poor, as well as Eucharistic Adoration and Gospel teachings similar to how the Oratory priests and brothers pray – has been an opportunity to strengthen families, he said, as oftentimes, parents attend as well. “Part of this experience is seeing how one of the roles of priests is to help people pray,”

“The priesthood is not a Sacrament for myself.” he said. “Prayer can be daunting, especially when you just begin doing it.” Prayer, he said, is “like a language that we have to learn. It takes time, and it can be difficult at first.” In a similar way, learning Spanish has been a way for Father Dolan and Father Tamayo to reach the Hispanic faithful, which make up about 30 percent of the community, especially since the parish is designated as a Center for Hispanic Ministry as part of the Diocese’s Faith in Our Future initiative. “Our priesthood is meant to be for the people, and we’re doing this because we love them and we want to be able to provide for the Sacraments and the faith in the language of the people,” Father Dolan said. “One of the beautiful things that Father Al has said is that ‘this is the language that they speak to God in.’ This is the language of their own heart, and we want to hand on the faith to them in that way.” Father Dolan admits prayer is a language that he had to learn as well. The three ways he grew in prayer, and continues to grow: praying before the Blessed Sacrament, with Scripture and with the Rosary. “Without prayer,

Father Nicholas Dolan faith is empty. It’s like a shell – it doesn’t have a life and a soul within it because your prayer is your constant and daily conversation with God,” he said.

Ultimate Role Model When it comes to Father Dolan’s aspirations for the priesthood, his goal is simple: to be like Jesus. “I think the biggest thing that stands out about Jesus – ‘how no one has greater love than this, to lay down his life for his friends.’ That would be how I would hope to live my priesthood – with that generosity and self-sacrifice and love for the people, but above all, a love for God. “After our Lord, it would be in imitation of St. Philip Neri, who exemplifies that same generosity and cheerfulness, since he was the patron saint of joy,” Father Dolan continued. “For me, that’s the heart of my faith, the heart of the life of an Oratorian and St. Philip’s life, and I think the heart of the Gospel, too – to bring the joy that Christ alone can give to the people.” Father Nicholas Dolan celebrates his first Mass June 3 as a newly ordained priest in St. Anthony of Padua Church, Red Bank. Father Dolan, who is active in the parish’s Youth Oratory, is assisted by two young altar servers and Brother Donald Ronning. The parish is the home of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. Mike Ehrmann photo OPPOSITE PAGE: In the main photo, through the imposition of hands and prayer to the Holy Spirit, Bishop O’Connell ordains Brother Nicholas Dolan to the priesthood. Photos, from top, an emotional Maria Dolan embraces her newly ordained son; Father Nicholas Dolan consumes the Precious Blood during the reception of Holy Communion, and Father Dolan bestows a blessing on well-wishers following his priestly ordination.

June 14, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com • Ordinations • S13

With God at the Wheel Riding in the passenger seat, Father Smith is ready for wherever God leads

Story by Christina Leslie, Correspondent

S14 • Ordinations • The Monitor • June 14, 2018

Father James R. Smith recites the Eucharistic Prayer during his first Mass June 3 in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, West Trenton, following his ordination to the priesthood June 2. John Blaine photo


ather James R. Smith, ordained June 2 by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., hadn’t seen the glimmers of life as a priest during his childhood – but others had.

“The role of the priest is to be a bridge to Jesus for everyone whom he encounters.”

more years to discern [the priesthood].” As his mother worked in the rectory of His health problems resolved, the now sintheir home parish, Incarnation in Ewing, other parishioners surmised he might join gle man moved back into his family home and the ranks of these men of God. pursued liberal arts studies in Mercer County “Being raised in a Catholic family, I was Community College, West Windsor. well-rooted in my faith,” said the 39-year-old Father Smith, one of four children born to future, but so is leaving well, reaching out to Deborah and Robert Smith Sr. He attended those who made an impact on your life, givWith the encouragement of Msgr. Gregory Trenton’s Parkway Elementary, then graduing thanks for the ways in which they have D. Vaughan, then diocesan director of the ated in 1993 from Incarnation Parish School, been a part of this journey.” Office of Vocations, Father Smith enrolled in Ewing. (Incarnation Parish is now IncarnaSt. Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltition-St. James.) more, in 2012 and earned a bachelor’s degree Following his graduation from Ewing High in humanities and philosophy two years later. Asked which aspect of the priesthood School in 1997, the young Smith worked in There, the seminarian continued his studies, he most anticipates, Father Smith quickly a number of jobs for more than 10 years, earning his sacred theology baccalaureate and replied, “Celebrating the Mass, meeting new including as a jeweler and a bassist who promaster of divinity degrees in May. people, ministering to them in a way that duced and performed music with numerous While at seminary, Father Smith served will help them be closer with Christ. area bands. summer assignments in Our Lady of Good “Today, our society is so quick to back He also became engaged. Counsel Parish, West Trenton; St. Barnabas away from the name of Jesus,” he said. “We “As a musician, the late-night gigging Parish, Bayville, and the diocesan Chancery, have been reading of St. Paul’s trials in the meant I didn’t always attend church steadily,” where he assisted Msgr. James Innocenzi, Acts of the Apostles [during the Easter seahe remembered. “But, when I was engaged, I diocesan judicial vicar, with annulment cases. son]. St. Paul never backed away from the began to make more time for it at One of his favorite forms of ministry was name of Jesus. The role of the priest is to be my home parish. Before I knew to serve as extraordinary minister of Holy a bridge to Jesus for everyone whom he enit, the movement of the Holy Communion in St. Lawrence Rehabilitation counters.” Spirit led me to daily Mass, Center, Lawrenceville. The future priest used an anecdote from then to Adoration, praying “It is a good experience for anyone, a his musician days on the road to express his the Rosary, joining the parCorporal Work of Mercy to visit the sick and joy at leaving God in charge of his life. ish pro-life group and the bring them communion. It is a true ministry “You know the words from the old BaltiKnights of Columbus.” of presence,” he said. more Catechism, ‘God made us to know him, The intensity Most recently, he served his to love him and to serve him, and to be hapof his re-awakyear as a transitional deacon in py with him forever in heaven.’ To serve God ened faith Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony means putting aside what we want so that life and a Parish, Hamilton. Reflecting upon we can embrace God’s will; we put aside the diagnosis this most recent assignment, Fareins to let God reign. with a ther Smith said, “The word ‘transi“When I was a musician, it was difficult serious tional’ really does modify the word to get my friends to drive to faraway gigs, health ‘deacon.’ It has been a year of comso I used to drive them myself so they could challenge plete transition.” see me,” he continued. “Now, with God at the in late “There is a light at the end reins, I find it more comforting to let him do 2008 “was of the tunnel, but there is still the driving and for me to take the passenger difficult for work to be done,” he said. “Part of seat. As the saying goes, ‘If God’s your pasboth me and transitioning is preparing for the senger, then you’re in the wrong seat!’” my fiancée,” he admitted. Father James R. Smith “Feeling it OPPOSITE PAGE: In the main photo, Bishop O’Connell imposes hands on the head of Rev. Mr. James Smith, ordaining him would be best a priest. In smaller photo at right, Bishop embraces the new priest. Bottom photos, from left, Father Smith is vested by to part ways, Father Stanley P. Lukaszewski, pastor in St. Barnabas Parish, Bayville, and Bishop O’Connell speaks with Father Smith’s mother, Deborah. Craig Pittelli photos I took a few

Room to Grow

A Spiritual Bridge

June 14, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com • Ordinations • S15

Christian Brother Frank Byrne proclaims the Second Reading from Hebrews 5:1-10 during the Mass of Ordination June 2. Brother Frank was present to witness the ordination of three CBA alumni – Father Christopher Dayton, Father Michael DeSaye and Father Nicholas Dolan. Craig Pittelli photo From left, Brother Nicholas Dolan and Rev. Messrs. Christopher Dayton and Michael DeSaye return to their alma mater, Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, to assist in the 2018 Baccalaureate Mass celebrated May 23 by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. Also pictured is Christian Brother Frank Byrne, CBA president. Joe Moore photo

CBA provided nurturing environment for three newly ordained alumni By Mary Stadnyk, Associate Editor


oments after the June 2 Mass of Ordination in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, had concluded, Christian Brother Frank Byrne, president of Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, and Christian Brother Ralph Montedoro happily reflected on the blessing of having three CBA graduates receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. “It’s great for the school to know that three of our [former] students were ordained today,” said Brother Frank, noting that he knew Father Nicholas Dolan when he was a student at CBA, but Father Christopher Dayton and Father Michael De Saye had already graduated by the time he arrived to the school nine years ago. “It’s special for our school,” Brother Frank said. “It speaks well of Catholic education in general that the school helped plant the seed in the young men along with their families to nurture and grow into ordination today.”

Brother Ralph, the school’s executive vice president, said it was a privilege to be present for the ordination and that he was honored

“[God] touched their lives and called them, and they said ‘yes’ to the call.” knowing that the CBA community had played a part in the men’s priestly journeys. “They were typical CBA young boys who we helped to nurture,” he said. “Who would have known they would have gone on to pursue the seminary? [God] touched their lives and called them, and they said ‘yes’ to the call,” he said. Father DeSaye also remarked on how his CBA education helped inspire his vocation, saying, “They laid a good foundation in Catholic morals and Catholic culture, which I

think is fundamental to anyone who is going to discern a priestly vocation.” A wide smile came crossed Brother Frank’s face as he reflected on the number of graduates from the all-male school who went on to become priests. With the ordinations of Father Dayton, Father DeSaye and Father Dolan, “we now have nine,” said Brother Frank, who then proceeded to name other priest alumni, especially those who are currently serving in the Trenton Diocese – Father Robert Holtz, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Riverton; Father Joseph Farrell, pastor of Assumption Parish, New Egypt and St. Andrew Parish, Jobstown; Father Jarlath Quinn, parochial vicar of St. James Parish, Pennington, St. George Parish, Titusville, and St. Alphonsus Parish, Hopewell; and Father Kenneth Ekdahl, pastor of Jesus the Lord Parish, Keyport. “We keep praying for vocations to continue to the priesthood and religious life,” including vocations to the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the community which staffs CBA,” he said.

Former CBA teacher, current priest calls ordination ‘awe-inspiring’


ather Garry Koch knows firsthand how Lincroft’s Christian Brothers Academy can foster vocations. The pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, not only taught theology at the school for many years before he entered the seminary – an experience he says that helped to foster his own priestly vocation – he also instructed Father Dayton, Father DeSaye and Father Dolan during their respective CBA careers. “Through serious academic investigation into Catholic theology, an active campus ministry program, community service and the availability of daily Mass, CBA maintains a deep commitment to the life of faith,” said Father Koch, who was ordained a priest in 2013. “There is no doubt that the school is a faithful and serious environment for the fostering of faith in young men.”

Father Koch noted that he spent a great deal of time talking about faith and the priesthood with Father DeSaye while he attended CBA, and then as a college student when Father DeSaye was considering a vocation as a Benedictine monk. By the time Father DeSaye decided to transition from religious life to the diocesan priesthood, Father Koch had been ordained a priest and assigned to St. Benedict Parish. “Michael had See Teacher • S17

S16 • Ordinations • The Monitor • June 14, 2018

Father Michael DeSaye incenses the altar during the first Mass he celebrated as a newly ordained priest June 3 in St. Benedict Church, Holmdel. At left is Father Garry Koch, pastor of St. Benedict, who taught three of the Diocese’s newly ordained priests during his teaching tenure at Christian Brothers Academy. John Batkowski photo

Teacher, students now share priesthood Continued from • S16 no parish where he called ‘home’ nor had he any parish pastoral experience,” Father Koch said. “So he came to St. Benedict’s to assist in his formation and transition and he stayed at the rectory during his breaks from seminary until his ordination as a deacon.” Of Father Dayton, Father Koch recalled him as a student who regularly participated in daily Mass at CBA and served as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and a reader for both the daily chapel Mass and the larger school Masses. “Speaking about the priesthood with Christopher was very easy, as for most of his CBA career he was open about his desire

The Parish Family oF

to become a priest,” Father Koch said. As for the young Dolan, “It was very clear that Nicholas was in discernment for priesthood,” Father Koch said. Reflecting on the opportunity to witness the ordination of Father Dayton, Father DeSaye and Father Dolan, Father Koch said, while the laying on of hands is always a powerful moment in any ordination, it was especially emotional and poignant to watch Bishop O’Connell impose hands on three former CBA students. “Knowing Father Dayton, Father DeSaye and Father Dolan as I do, it was awe-inspiring to be with them in ordination and now to share our priesthood together.”

Church of theVisitation Brick, New Jersey

reJoices aNd exTeNds PrayerFul coNgraTulaTioNs & BlessiNgs To

Reverend Michael G. DeSaye oN his

Ordination to the Holy Priesthood. we share

“It was especially emotional and poignant to watch Bishop O’Connell impose hands on three former CBA students.”

your Joy aNd ThaT oF your Family.

grace, Peace aNd BlessiNgs To you

Reverend Edward H. Blanchett, Pastor and Staff

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June 14, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com • Ordinations • S17

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., took time the week of May 21 to encourage and teach the four transitional deacons during a retreat just prior to their priestly ordination June 2. Also shown in photo at left are diocesan officials who attended the retreat. Jeff Bruno photos

Leading Men

Bishop offers guidance, teaching on role of priesthood


ust prior to their ordination to the priesthood, the four transitional deacons of the Trenton Diocese met the week of May 21 with Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., for a few days of reflection and rest. Set in the St. Joseph by the Sea spiritual center, Mantoloking, the retreat offered the candidates for priesthood a chance to hear directly from their shepherd some words of wisdom about the

vocation they would soon enter into completely. Bishop O’Connell used five talks to impart his guidance, beginning with the topic “Priests Need Silence,” in which he em-

Father Michael DeSaye Rejoicing with you as you are ordained and praying that your walk with God will lead you along a path filled with abundant blessings.

May God Bless You Always, Father Michael! Father Garry Koch, Father John Michael Patilla, Deacons, Staff, and Parishioners of

phasized the absolute need for quiet in order to hear the voice of Jesus. “The priest needs the Lord Jesus to be the center of his life,” the Bishop stressed. “If you take nothing else from this retreat, remember that. It simply does not just happen … all at once … on a single retreat, or even in a few years of priesthood. It can and does happen in the years following ordination, absolutely, if we allow it, if we want it.” “The Priest is a Man of God,” reminded the deacons that being a priest is not about individual men. “It’s about God,” Bishop O’Connell said. “The God who created us. The God who redeemed us. The God who sustains us. The God who embraces others in mercy through us. The God who will call us home one day. Don’t ever make the mistake or let yourself believe otherwise. The priest is, at the core of his being, a man of God. That is his basic identity, your identity.” The Bishop also focused on the parish and Church community, speaking on, “The Priest is a Man of the Church” – through which Jesus Christ reaches, he said, into the mess people have created, into the darkness, and brings light. “You, as priest, as man of the Church, hold the candle,” he explained. “A man becomes a priest in response to a call from God. Such a call is considered authentic, after it is tested, examined, challenged and subject to scrutiny [which is different from doubt or denial]. This discernment then becomes our response to a call from the Church in the

S18 • Ordinations • The Monitor • June 14, 2018

person of the bishop. Ordination confirms the identity of the priest as a ‘man of the Church.’ He is from the Church, in the Church, for the Church.” Underscoring the importance of the diocesan hierarchy, Bishop O’Connell discussed “The Priest is a Man of the Diocese,” explaining how the priest is called to be a “true man of his Diocese, of his bishop and of his presbyterate.”

“You, as priest, as man of the Church, hold the candle.” “That’s where you live; that’s where you serve; that’s where you are,” the Bishop delineated. “St. Pope John Paul II once wrote, ‘I am deeply convinced of the decisive role that the diocesan presbyterate plays in the personal life of every priest. The community of priests, rooted in a true sacramental fraternity, is a setting second to none for spiritual and pastoral formation. The priest, as a rule, cannot do without this community. The presbyterate helps him in his growth toward holiness and is a support in times of difficulty’ (Gift and Mystery, p. 68).” The priest, finally, is a “Man of the People as Shepherd,” the Bishop noted in his last talk. He invited the priest candidates to reflect on one specific kind of shepherd God calls and sends into the world: the priest.

The parish family of

Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, extends prayerful and joyous wishes and congratulations to


Rev. James Smith

wishes to welcome and congratulate Father Christopher Dayton, Father Michael DeSaye, Father Nicholas Dolan and Father James Smith

on his Ordination to the Priesthood!

On their Priestly Ordination. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! Psalm 118:24

We are rejoicing with you on this special occasion as you celebrate becoming a priest!

212 Ark Road, Mount Laurel, NJ 856-234-6900 David J. Petaccio, Senior Director, NJ Lic. No. 3796 John P. Napoli, Funeral Director, N.J. Lic. No. 5054 Joseph M. Gigliotti, Funeral Director, N.J. Lic. No. 4834

Dearest Fr. Nicholas, The priesthood of Jesus Christ is a great grace for our family and a wonderful mystery for us to witness first hand! We are in awe of God’s amazing work in your life. We are deeply honored to be your parents and humbled to be in some small way a part of God’s plan of your vocation. We thank you for your yes to His call and support you always. We wish you God’s abundant blessings as you minister to His beloved people. Be assured of our lifelong devoted prayers and sacrifices for your priesthood.

Praising God for his love and mercy,

Mom and Dad

Nuestra Señora de Carida...pray for us! St Philip Neri...pray for us! June 14, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com • Ordinations • S19

George S. Hassler Funeral Home wishes to welcome and congratulate Father Christopher Dayton, Father Michael DeSaye, Father Nicholas Dolan and Father James Smith on their Priestly Ordination.

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St. Catharine– St. Margaret Parish Family



Christopher Dayton Ad multos annos! St. Catharine– St. Margaret Parish 215 Essex Avenue Spring Lake, NJ 07762 732-449-5765 www.StCatharine-StMargaret.org

S20 • Ordinations • The Monitor • June 14, 2018

St. Catharine School

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