After five years of educational and pastoral formation, eight laymen will advance to the Order of Deacon May 15 when they are ordained by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton.

The Mass of Ordination will begin at 10 a.m. and will be livestreamed on all diocesan media outlets, including Attendance is by invitation only.

The men, who hail from Burlington, Mercer and Monmouth Counties, will serve their parish communities and the Diocese as permanent deacons. All of the men are married with families and have served for many years in their parishes as lectors, catechists, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and in youth and Hispanic ministries.

“Deacons are part of the clergy and live their vocation in and with their family,” Pope Francis said in 2020. “They are the guardians of service in the Church.

“Let us pray that deacons, faithful in their service to the world and the poor, may be an invigorating symbol for the entire Church.”

Philip Clingerman

Ministering Parish: St. John the Baptist, Allentown

Place/ Year of Birth: Springfield, Ohio; 1957

Family: wife, Judith; son William, 27, stepson Shawn, 48, stepdaughter, Heather, 44; parents Cullen J. and Ruth M. Clingerman (both deceased); brothers Michael and Christopher

Employment: associate director, vendor enablement, Bristol Myers Squibb, Lawrenceville

Education: Benjamin Franklin Middle School, Kenmore, N.Y. (1969-1972); Orville H. Platt Senior High School, Meriden, Conn. (1972-1975); University of Bridgeport, Conn. (1975-1979), B.S., education and B.A., music; Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2016-2019), M.A., theology

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: Charles A. Dana Scholar, summa cum laude; Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society – education; Theta Alpha Kappa Honor Society – theology

Ministries: director of sacred music in Diocese of Metuchen for 20 years; prison ministry in York, Pa.; religious education in St. John the Baptist and St. Aloysius, Jackson; lector and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion in St. John the Baptist

Why the Diaconate? It was first suggested to me in 1982 to further my ministry beyond sacred music. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives; I was inspired to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms – a privilege. I love visiting the sick and comforting the suffering. 

Vesting Priest: Father Thomas Maher, pastor of St. William the Abbot Parish, Howell


Paul H. DeGrazia

Ministering Parish: St. John the Baptist, Allentown

Place/ Year of Birth: Indianapolis, Ind.; 1972

Family: wife, Kimberly; sons Braeden, 17, and Preston, 15; parents Henry and Irene DeGrazia; sisters Karen and Lynda

Employment:  senior financial advisor, Merrill Lynch, Princeton

Education: Elton Adelphia Elementary School, Freehold (1979-1985); Freehold Township High School, Freehold (1987-1991); Seton Hall University, South Orange (1991-1995), B.S., finance; Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2016-2019), M.A., theology

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: Theta Alpha Kappa National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology

Ministries: All St. John the Baptist: Knights of Columbus Council 7333, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, lector, coordinator of altar servers (Ordinary Form), finance council

Why the Diaconate? While deeply involved in parish activities, I felt called to do more.  One Sunday, our youngest son, age 8 at the time, was left to altar-serve on his own.  So that he wouldn’t have to serve alone, I assisted. It was through this single experience that I knew I was being called to a vocation of service and began discernment for the diaconate. 

Vesting Priest: Father Michael Wallack, pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish


Gene Lanzoni

Ministering Parish: St. Ann, Lawrenceville

Place/ Year of Birth: Trenton; 1960

Family: wife, Elizabeth; son Eugene, 29, daughter Marisa, 27, son Michael, 25; parents Mary and Gene (both deceased)

Employment: 2nd vice president – corporate marketing, Guardian Life Insurance Company, New York City

Education: Incarnation School, Ewing (1965-1974); Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville (1974-1978); The College of New Jersey, Ewing (1978-1980, 1984-1985), B.A., communications/marketing; Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2016-2019), M.A., theology

Ministries: all St. Ann Parish: sacristan, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, lector, altar server coordinator, Loaves & Fishes volunteer, school marketing committee, Faith in Our Future Cohort representative

Why the Diaconate? I’ve been drawn to the Church and to a life of faith and charity from a young age. Serving at the altar, serving God’s people and proclaiming the Word brings me so much joy and [brings me] closer to Christ. I feel most alive when doing good works for the Lord. As my wife says, “Church is my happy place!”

Vesting Priest: Father Leandro Dela Cruz, pastor of St. Ann Parish


James M. Mackintosh

Ministering Parish: St. Rose of Lima, Freehold

Place/ Year of Birth: Kearny, N.J.; 1962

Family: wife, Donna-Marie; sons Christopher, 31; Colin, 26, Michael, 26; parents William (living) and Margaret Ann (deceased); siblings, 1 brother and 3 sisters

Employment: Retired police officer with the Kearny Police Department

Education: Schuyler Elementary School and Lincoln Middle School, Kearny (1967-1976); Kearny High School, Kearny (1976- 1980); William Paterson College of New Jersey (1980- 1984), B.A., history education; Bergen Police Academy (1987); Georgian Court University, Lakewood, (2016- 2019), B.A., religious studies

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: N.J. Police Training Committee certification
Ministries: Religious education in St. Stephen Parish, Kearny; Epiphany Parish, Brick, and St. Rose of Lima, Freehold. Also in St. Rose of Lima: lector; Baptism ministry; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults instructor

Why the Diaconate? I have always served in my community and church. The diaconate was first suggested to me almost 30 years ago, but I was not prepared to consider it. Ten years ago, I began to feel the call to the ministry and have been discerning ever since.

Vesting Priest: Father John F. Campoli, I.V.Dei


Salvatore A. Petro 

Ministering Parish: Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony, Hamilton 

Place/ Year of Birth: Orange, N.J.; 1967 

Family: wife, Jennifer; children, Anthony, 24; parents, Anthony and Gloria (both deceased); siblings, Michelle, Jennifer and Angelo 

Employment: contractor, Havco Construction, Trenton 

Education: St. Agnes School, Atlantic Highlands, N.J. (1982); MAST, Sandy Hook (1986); Norwich University (1991), B.S.E.E.; Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2019), M.A., theology

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: certified municipal finance officer; certified county finance officer, member of Theological Honor Society 

Ministries:  catechist, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, lector, all at Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish 

Why the Diaconate? God has continually called me to serve his Church. He called me to serve as an altar boy, and as I grew into manhood, he called me to serve him and his Church as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and as a member of the Knights of Columbus. During my ministry as a catechist, I discerned that he wanted me to pursue the diaconate. 

Vesting Priest: Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish 


Paul Remick

Ministering Parish: St. Benedict, Holmdel

Place/ Year of Birth: Kalamazoo, Mich.; 1967

Family: wife, Ellen; daughters Brenna, 24, and Kaleigh, 21; parents Leonard (deceased) and Dolores Remick; siblings, brothers Rick and Mark Remick

Employment: business development, Amazon Web Services

Education: St. Augustine School, Kalamazoo, Mich. (grad. 1981); Bishop Gallagher High School, Harper Woods, Mich. (grad. 1985); University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind. (grad. 1990), B.S., mechanical engineering; Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind. (grad. 1999), M.B.A.; Georgian Court University, Lakewood, N.J., (grad. 2019), M.A., theology

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: U.S. Navy Veteran, 1990-1997: Surface Warfare Officer

Ministries: Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults; extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; Knights of Columbus, 4th degree, all at St. Benedict; coach of youth athletics, multiple sports / seasons, St. Benedict and St. John Vianney High School

Why the Diaconate? Responding to a call from God to serve by following in the footsteps of Deacons Herb Schwartz and Ray Pelkowski. Together with the other deacons I have known since moving to the Diocese of Trenton, they have served as models of humble service, which I pray to be able to emulate.

Vesting Priest: Father Garry Koch, pastor of St. Benedict Parish


Dennis J. Taylor

Ministering Parish: Resurrection Parish, Delran

Place/ Year of Birth: Camden; 1960

Family: wife, Mary; son Ian, 28; daughter, Michele, 24; parents, John C. and Anne L. Taylor (both deceased); siblings, two sisters (one deceased) and two brothers (one deceased)

Employment: Senior IT systems administrator, NJM Insurance, West Trenton

Education: St. Peter School, Riverside (1966-1972); Delran Middle School (1972-1974); Burlington County Vocational and Technical High School, Westampton (1974-1978); Burlington County College (1978-1987), AAS data processing; Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2015-2019), certificate in pastoral ministry

Ministries: all Resurrection Parish: youth ministry coordinator, men’s small group leader, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion to sick and homebound, lector, faith formation catechist, parish pastoral council, Boy Scout Troop 25 charter organization representative

Why the Diaconate? I am answering God’s call to serve him in a larger role than that which I had been doing. Bringing the Word of God to his children and ministering to them in Baptism, marriage, death and being open to serve him wherever he calls. 

Vesting Priest: Father John C. Garrett, pastor of Resurrection Parish


Jorge T. Valente

Ministering Parish: St. Rose of Lima, Freehold

Place/ Year of Birth: Portugal; 1962

Family: wife, Mary Jo; daughters Melanie, 34, Amanda, 32, Elizabeth, 30, sons Gabriel, 29, Daniel, 27, Christopher, 24; parents, Mario and Alzira Valente (both deceased); siblings, three brothers; one granddaughter, Cecelia Rose

Employment: Senior electronics technician, Electronics Technology Inc., Irvington

Education: ILHAVO grammar school and high school in Portugal (1968-1978); East Side High School, Newark (1979-1981); DeVry University, Woodbridge (1981-1983), certification, electronics technology; Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2016-2019), certificate in religious studies

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: Award of Excellence in Religious Studies

Ministries: Project director of technical vocational schools for underprivileged teenagers in the Archdiocese of Cusco, Peru, and in the Diocese of San Bernardo, Chile. In charge of preparing/presenting projects to international organizations for funding of school’s infrastructure and technical equipment and hospital, medicine, food, housing. In St. Rose of Lima: Hispanic classes/Baptism preparations, lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion (English/Spanish communities). Cohort representative of the Hispanic Community. Other formation talks to the Hispanic community, such as Quinceañeras.

Why the Diaconate? I feel that my call to serve in the missions of South America, some years back as a layperson, is now the continuation of that same call to serve the Church, especially the local Hispanic communities of our Diocese as a deacon. I am called as a deacon to be a living icon of Christ the servant (“did not come to be served, but to serve”), and as a deacon, I must always be aware that I’m being sent by the Church (by Christ in the person of our Bishop), to be the presence of Christ to those in need. As a deacon, I must be open and ready to serve where the Church needs me. 

Vesting Priest: Father James Conover, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish