On May 12 in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will ordain 16 candidates to serve as permanent deacons for the Diocese of Trenton. The ordination Mass will begin at 10 a.m.

The men, each of whom has completed four years of formation in the diaconate program, come from a wide variety of backgrounds. While some candidates are natives of the Trenton Diocese, others hail from other parts of the state and country. The men are also divergent in their professional careers and the ministries in which they serve in their parishes.

Following are profiles of the 16 men who have answered God’s calling to serve the Church as deacons of the diocese:

Michael B. Collins
Resides: Trenton
Ministering Parish: St. Joseph, Trenton
Place of birth/age: Jersey City; 59
Family: Wife Marlene Lao Collins; children Eric Michael, 25, and Abraham Francis, 19
Employment: City of Trenton
Ministries: Religious education catechist for Confirmation class, reader, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, youth group volunteer

Why the Diaconate? “A seed was first planted more than 12 years ago by Deacon Juan Rivera from St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. I ignored it for several years, but every now and then something would happen, someone would say something, and a feeling of being called grew gradually and started getting stronger. About six years ago, I attended my first Easter Vigil Mass after being asked to read. As I sat in the front pew, I could feel Jesus asking me if I was going to pursue the diaconate. With tears of joy, I said “yes!”

Paul Franklin
Resides: Colts Neck
Ministering Parish: St. Mary, Colts Neck
Place of birth/age: Athens, Ga.; 53
Family: Wife Margaret; children Justin, 27, Christine, 24, Julian, 19, Samara, 17
Employment: OFS, Somerset
Ministries: Baptismal preparation, marriage preparation, coordinating altar servers and the St. Mary Men’s Ministry. Previous ministries include prison ministry, choir and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion

Why the Diaconate?“My main inspiration was the example of other deacons. There were three men in particular who mentored me along the way. Their examples of how spirituality and service are two sides of the same coin inspired me to develop my spirituality and use it for the service of God and his Church.”

John J. Franey
Resides: Howell
Ministering Parish: St. Veronica, Howell
Place of birth/age: Morristown; 50
Family: Wife Lisa H. Franey; children Annalynn, 19, and Rebecca, 15
Employment: Tata Communications, Ltd., Matawan
Ministries: extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; reader, adult catechesis and formation; Bible study and prayer group for men

Why the Diaconate? “I am inspired by the Holy Spirit through the many people I’ve met at St. Veronica who give of themselves in service to our Lord, including: Sister Valerie (Paccone, principal of St. Veronica School), and the Sisters of the Resurrection, the deacons and associate priests and pastor (Father Brendan Williams). Clare Wong was first to suggest the diaconate to me many years ago. Father Martin of Assumption Parish in Morristown opened my eyes to true discipleship by reflecting the love Christ has for everyone.”

Louis E. Jakub
Resides: Red Bank
Ministering Parish: St. Jerome, West Long Branch
Place of birth/age: Elizabeth; 66
Family: Wife Mary; children Louis, 44, James, 42, Robert, 39, John, 37 and Joseph, 34
Employment: Retired
Ministries: Catechist in sixth grade religious education class, train extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion in the parish and serve as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion in an assisted living facility. Previous ministries include involvement with campus ministry at Monmouth University, West Long Branch, catechetical activities in numerous faith formation programs to youth and adults, Living Stations dramatizations.

Why the Diaconate?“For many years, I have felt a calling to serve the Lord and others in the capacity of a deacon. This desire has grown strong in recent years and I witnessed the wonderful work of some deacons in reaching out to others in charity. My current pastor, as well as prior pastors, has also suggested the possibility to me which further reinforced this calling. I also have a love of Eucharistic ministry. I pray that I will be able to be of service to the people of the Church in this capacity. I thank my wife, family and friends for their encouragement and support.”

Stanley Kendrick
Resides: Ocean Gate
Ministering Parish: St. Barnabas, Bayville
Place of Birth/age: Newark; 58
Family: Wife, Patricia Ann; children, Jeffrey, 36, and Jessica, 30
Employment: Action Pest Control, Toms River
Ministries: Pre-Cana, St. Vincent de Paul Society, choir, cantor, prison ministry, reader, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, stewardship committee, core committee for 2000 Home Study, Why Catholic?

Why the Diaconate? “My life became more surrendered to service. I was drawn to put the power of the Holy Spirit behind what I was doing at a new level.”

Paul Lang
Resides: Tinton Falls
Ministering Parish: Nativity, Fair Haven
Place of birth/age: Red Bank; 50
Family: Wife Eileen Ann Wood Lang; children Brian Thomas, 26, Kevin Allen, 23, Melissa Marie, 20, Nicole Elizabeth, 15
Employment: Hartford Steam Boiler, Hartford, Conn.
Ministries: RCIA facilitator, catechist, reader, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, respect life, marriage preparation, Baptism preparation.

Why the Diaconate: “Along with God seeking and calling, starting me on the journey toward the diaconate, constantly probing my heart and mind, during a journey of almost 14 years, it was my father, a permanent deacon, whose life exemplified being in relationship with God and assimilating it into family, Church, work and community that inspired me to discern and answer the call to the diaconate.”

Charles J. Marino
Resides: Manalapan
Ministering Parish: St. Thomas More, Manalapan
Place of Birth/age: New York City; 54
Family: Wife Jean; children Charles Joseph II (deceased); Charles Christopher and Christopher Anthony
Employment: Federal government, Ewing
Ministries: acolyte, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, reader, usher, parish council member, Knights of Columbus, Bible study. Prior ministries include religious instructor, prison ministry, CYO basketball coach and coordinator of St. Thomas More Prayer Group

Why the Diaconate?“When I first worked for the Diocese of Brooklyn in the early 1980s, I was introduced to the diaconate. However, I was told at the time I was too young as I was in my early 20s. Through my years of service in the Church, I felt a strong calling from God to further serve the Church as a deacon.”

Joseph Moore
Resides: Hamilton
Ministering Parish: St. Gregory the Great, Hamilton Square
Place of Birth/age: Trenton; 56
Family: wife Barbara; children Ben, 27, Terry, 24, and Jeff, 20
Employment: Wedding/News Photographer
Ministries: Sacristan, senior citizens, nursing homes, altar servers

Why the Diaconate?“I chose to become a deacon because I like helping others. I coached many sports and worked with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for 20 years. I felt a need to serve people on a more spiritual level, to work with others in developing a closer relationship with God.”

Sean Patrick Murphy
Resides: Little Silver
Ministering Parish: Nativity, Fair Haven
Place of birth/age: Jersey City; 55
Family: Wife Mary Kathleen; children Sean Patrick Murphy II, 19; Catherine Jane, 16, and Aidan Paul, 13
Employment: JFK Health System, Edison
Ministries: Religious education catechist; reader, youth group

Why the Diaconate?“My parents: the faith they gave to me as a child; my family; my pastor and my parish and community. I was also influenced by spiritual readings – books by Thomas Merton and Meister Eckhart.”

Thomas W. Murphy
Resides: Marlton
Ministering Parish: St. Joan of Arc, Marlton
Place of birth/age: Camden; 54
Family: Wife Effie; children Sean T., 21, and Logan M., 21
Employment: Entertainment Games, Langhorne,  Pa.
Ministries: Pastoral care; extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; respect life; adoration; transportation; Baptism preparation; marriage preparation; morning prayer group; acolyte; sacristan; pre-Cana.

Why the Diaconate?“An unexpected call and desire to serve anyone God calls me  to serve!”

James J. Neubauer
Resides: Holmdel
Ministering Parish: Holy Family, Union Beach
Place of Birth/age: Bronx,N.Y.; 58
Family: Wife Debbie M.; children James Robert, 21
Employment: Asski Technology, Eatontown
Ministries: Youth ministry; music ministry (cantor/choir); extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; reader

Why the Diaconate? “Father (Patrick) Fitzpatrick was the previous pastor of Holy Family Parish and he took me aside several times and talked to me about the diaconate program. My sister, who is a member of the Missionaries of Charity, has for the past 10 years, encouraged me to be a deacon.”

William R. Palmisano, Jr.
Resides: Hamilton
Ministering Parish: St. Raphael-Holy Angels, Hamilton
Place of birth/age: Queens,N.Y.; 58
Family: Wife Joanne M.; children Donnelle,39; Todd, 35; William, 31,and John, 30
Employment: Director of religious education in St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton
Ministries: Faith formation; religious education; RCIA coordinator; Level 1 Catechist facilitator; homebound visits, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; reader, commissioned a lay ecclesial minister in 2004; development; school board; religious counseling; Scripture program; hospitality.

Why the diaconate? “I felt a call from God to serve others. When I prayed, especially at adoration, I asked God how to help others. I always heard the same response – the diaconate. People along my faith journey have encouraged me to listen to the call. I trusted, if God was calling me, he would help me become what he wanted me to become.”

John Scanlon
Resides: Mount Laurel
Ministering Parish: Our Lady of Good Counsel, Moorestown
Place of birth/age: Philadelphia, Pa.; 58
Family: Wife Sue; children Christopher, 34; Michael, 33; Joseph, 29, and Kevin, 27
Employer: Alloy Surfaces Co., Inc., Chester Township, Pa.
Ministries: Grade level coordinator; religious education Confirmation program; extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; nursing home ministry; sacristan; leader of Morning Prayer

Why the Diaconate? “Initially, I was influenced and impressed by the service and witness of the clergy and lay people of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish. As I became involved with different ministries, I began to feel that God was calling me to the diaconate. Although I initially resisted, the feeling continued to grow stronger over time. When I finally said yes to pursuing ordination, I experienced an overwhelming feeling of joy. I then knew for sure that this was God’s call.”

Gary Schmitt
Resides: Beverly
Ministering Parish: Jesus, the Good Shepherd, Riverside
Place of birth/age: Sheboygan, Wisc.; 44
Family: Wife Gina Justina; children Amy, 21, and Kevin Joshua, 16
Employer: USMEPCOM, Fort Dix
Ministries: Reader; extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; religious education instructor; youth group; altar server coordinator; chairman of the liturgy committee

Why the diaconate? “I felt a calling to Holy Orders while serving in the military. As a hospital corpsman, I was able to heal marines and sailors physically, but many of them also were in need of spiritual healing. I was driven to discuss this with my chaplain and when in retired, I continued to have this feeling to serve the Church and its people, so I approached my pastor and the formation process began.”

Paul J. Serafino
Resides: Ocean Township
Ministering Parish: St. Mary of the Assumption, Deal
Place of birth/age: Jersey City; 60
Family: Wife Patricia; (step)children Thomas, 49, and Kathleen Weiner, 47
Employment: International Flavor and Fragrance, Union Beach
Ministries: Usher; greeter; counter for Sunday collection; reader, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion (at Mass and for the homebound); acolyte; member of the building and grounds committee; help to recruit, organize, train and schedule extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

Why the Diaconate? “I believe that we are all called to serve in different ways. I am answering God’s call to me to serve him and his people. I started as an usher, then greeter, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion… The more I did, the more I felt called to do. As I continue to grow closer to the Lord, to continue to grow in faith, the more I feel guided to help others in their journeys of faith and growth. I look forward to serving God and his people in any way that I am able.”

Richard W. Tucker
Resides: Lincroft
Ministering Parish: St. Leo the Great, Lincroft
Place of Birth/age: Long Branch; 57
Family: Wife Susie; children Andrew, 22
Employment: World Class Business Products, Long Island City, N.Y.
Ministries: Evangelization team leader; master of ceremonies including assisting with altar servers and readers at Mass; instruct and assist with Baptism preparation classes; assist with all Baptisms; prayer and reflection for wake services.

Why the diaconate?“It was with the support of my former pastor and mentor, Father Joseph M. Mokrzycki and his ability to help guide me into a more spiritual way of life. He taught me that in order to be “Christ-like” and to fulfill “his mission” we must fully understand it is not about ourselves but the way we serve others. God has bestowed upon me many blessings and gifts and in order to be a true disciple of Christ I must share these gifts with others. As Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., tells us in his Episcopal motto, “to serve and not to be served,” we are called “to serve and not to be served.”