Family members pray during the memorial Mass.
Family members pray during the memorial Mass.
For Tracy Novitsky, it’s a longstanding tradition for her to attend the Memorial Mass for deceased deacons of the Diocese each year.

It’s a special occasion, she said, that gives her and the other family members who are present, time to remember all the deacons who have died and “all they did for us and their [parish] communities,” said Novitsky, as she recalled the numerous ways her own father, Deacon Myron Novitsky, had served St. Joseph Parish, Toms River, until his death 16 years ago in 2006.

“It’s a beautiful idea” Novitsky said of the Memorial Mass that’s held every November and brings members of the diocesan diaconate community together. This year’s Mass was celebrated in St. James Church, Pennington, by Msgr. Thomas J. Mullelly, diocesan episcopal vicar of clergy and consecrated life.

Novitsky thought back to her father’s diaconate ministry and recalled his various duties – assisting at Mass and preaching homilies; celebrating Baptisms, officiating at weddings, wake services and commitals. Other ways her father and mother, Sadie, served their parish included assisting couples with the annulment process.  Also, since Sadie was the head of the parish social concerns committee, Deacon Novitsky also spent a great deal of time helping her, Tracy said. She added that it was through Sadie’s work with a soup kitchen and his “love for cooking” that ultimately led her father to his diaconate vocation.

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