As the names of the deceased deacons of the Diocese were read, a loved one was invited to place a flower in his memory. Mike Ehrmann photos
As the names of the deceased deacons of the Diocese were read, a loved one was invited to place a flower in his memory. Mike Ehrmann photos

By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor

Carol Glogoza of St. John Parish, Lakehurst, appreciates gathering with other deacons, their wives and family members, but she was especially heartened to be surrounded by their warmth and presence Nov. 3.

Photo Gallery: 2018 Memorial Mass for Deceased Deacons

Glogoza was among those who attended the annual Memorial Mass for Deceased Deacons of the Diocese in St. Thomas More Church, Manalapan. Her husband, Deacon Richard Glogoza, who was ordained in May, 2009, died Aug. 18.

“I want to do whatever I can to remember who he was and the ministry that he loved,” said Glogoza, who attended the memorial Mass in past years with her husband.

The annual Mass is traditionally celebrated during November, which commemorates the month of All Souls. The Mass is an opportunity for the faith community to remember those who served and reflect on the deceased deacons’ gifts. The Mass also calls attention to loving support given by family members as partners in ministry.

Msgr. Thomas Mullelly, diocesan vicar for clergy and consecrated life, was principal celebrant of this year’s memorial Mass, and Deacon Matthew Nicosia of St. Thomas More Parish, preached the homily.

“Our faith and hope are intertwined,” Deacon Nicosia preached. “Hope is called the anchor of our soul because it gives stability to our lives. But hope is more than just a wish. It is that which latches us on to the certainty of promises that God has made to us.

“We leave here today full of hope after remembering those who died and celebrate their lives,” he said. “We have God’s Word that death is not the end of their journey. Death is a transition, where we leave this world only to be received into the loving arms of our God.”

“Doesn’t every deacon or consolation minister strive to console the people of God that we serve?” he continued. “We gather not only to mourn how different our lives are without our loved ones but to give thanks to God for how full life was when they were with us. We gather in thanksgiving  to God for the gift of life, the gift of family and the gift of friendship and his endless mercy.

To celebrate that gift of life of the deacons and their ministry of Charity, Word and Service, the names of the deceased deacons of the Diocese were read during the Prayers of the Faithful. As the names were called, a loved one -- whether it was a family member or fellow deacon -- came forward and placed a flower in the vases that were near the sanctuary. In all, the names of 172 deacons were called.

After Mass, Patricia Serafino of Our Lady of Hope Parish, West Long Branch, reflected on attending previous memorial Masses with her husband, Deacon Paul Serafino, who died in October 2016. He was ordained in May 2012.

“I’m here to honor his name and be with other deacons who are here to celebrate Paul’s life and his life as a deacon,” Serafino said. “His ministry meant a lot to him, and I was proud of him. He wanted to be a deacon and he served God and his Church very well.”

Video from freelance photographer Mike Ehrmann contributed to this report.