Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M., left, is pictured with Father Gerard Sloyan, who observed his 75th anniversary of priestly ordination on June 3. In December, Father Sloyan will celebrate his 100th birthday. Staff photo
Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M., left, is pictured with Father Gerard Sloyan, who observed his 75th anniversary of priestly ordination on June 3. In December, Father Sloyan will celebrate his 100th birthday. Staff photo

The priest in the Diocese of Trenton who is the oldest and has been ordained the longest is marking two major milestones in 2019.

On June 3, Father Gerard S. Sloyan celebrated the 75th anniversary of his priestly ordination and in December, he will mark his 100th birthday.

Father Sloyan was born in 1919 in Bronx, N.Y., and raised in Red Bank. He spent the majority of his 75-year priestly ministry serving in academia.

Father Sloyan prepared for the priesthood in Seton Hall University, South Orange; Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington, and Theological College of The Catholic University of America, Washington.  He was ordained a priest by Bishop William A. Griffin June 3, 1944, in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, and his first assignment was to St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton. After a summer in Hamilton, he began full-time work in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at The Catholic University of America.

Among the parishes in the Trenton diocese where Father Sloyan assisted during the summers included Sacred Heart, Bay Head; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Maple Shade, and St. Francis of Assisium, Trenton. Father Sloyan also spent a very brief time as novitiate of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, Metuchen, in 1947.

In 1955, Father Sloyan served briefly as assistant dean of the College of Arts and Science at The Catholic University of America, and in 1957 as head of the graduate department of religious education, a position he held for a decade before resigning and joining the Department of Religion at Temple University, Philadelphia, where he remained until his retirement. At that time, he returned to Washington as an adjunct professor of theology in CUA and in Georgetown University.

Throughout his years in academics, Father Sloyan published numerous books on the Catholic faith, focusing primarily on the life of Jesus and the Gospels. Among his popular works are “What Are They Saying About John?”, 1991; “Jesus on Trial: A Study of the Gospels,” 2006; and “Jesus: Word Made Flesh,” 2008.

Father Sloyan also served on the continuing education committee of the diocesan Council of Priests.