Father Neiser Cardenas, parochial vicar in St. Joseph Parish, Toms River, speaks with a referee, left, and soccer team member, center, from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood. Marianne Hartman photo
Father Neiser Cardenas, parochial vicar in St. Joseph Parish, Toms River, speaks with a referee, left, and soccer team member, center, from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood. Marianne Hartman photo

For two consecutive Sundays, soccer players culled from parishes around the Diocese of Trenton competed for the second year in a friendly soccer tournament Aug. 21 and 28, held in the Donovan Sports Complex of Donovan Catholic High School, affiliated with nearby St. Joseph Parish, Toms River.

Father Neiser Cardenas, parochial vicar, organized the “Pastor/Priest Soccer Tournament” designed to bring together priests and their flocks in the planning, execution and tournament play.

Photo Gallery: Parish Soccer Tournament

The matches were divided into categories – men, women and youth. Men’s teams came from St. Joseph Parish, Toms River; the diocesan Cursillo Ministry; Children of Mary Ministry; Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood; St. Mary Parish, Barnegat; Catholic Charismatic Renewal Ministry, and even from outside the Diocese, Immaculate Conception Parish, Elizabeth. Women’s teams were formed from St. Joseph Parish, Toms River; St. Mary Parish, Barnegat, and St. Joseph Parish, Trenton.

Finalists competing in the Aug. 28 tournament were, for the men’s teams: St. Joseph Parish, Toms River, Cursillo Ministry, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and St. Mary Parish. Our Lady of Guadalupe’s team ultimately defeated St. Joseph’s 2-1. On the women’s side, finalist teams St. Mary Parish and St. Joseph Parish, Trenton, went head-to-head, with St. Mary’s triumphing 4-0.