Seated in the pew with James and Marlene Stoever,  at right, are Daniel Rossi, Supreme Director, Past NJ State Deputy, and his wife, Alyce.
Seated in the pew with James and Marlene Stoever, at right, are Daniel Rossi, Supreme Director, Past NJ State Deputy, and his wife, Alyce.
"The difference between the Knights of Columbus and every other successful organization is the motivation they derive from their Catholic faith,” declared Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., as he addressed Knights from throughout New Jersey seated in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, during a July 10 Mass in which state officers and district deputies were installed.

Bishop O’Connell served as principal celebrant and homilist of the Mass which saw James E. Stoever, a member of Epiphany Parish, Brick, installed as state deputy. Four additional state officers, one from each of the five New Jersey arch/dioceses, were also installed to two-year terms.

PHOTO GALLERY: Knights of Columbus Officers Installation

Concelebrants of the Mass included Bishop Emeritus Paul G. Bootkoski of the Metuchen Diocese, state chaplain of the Knights; Msgr. Sam Sirianni, rector of the Co-cathedral, and Msgr. James Innocenzi, Trenton Diocese judicial vicar.

In his homily, Bishop O’Connell lauded the Catholic organization that began in 1882 in New Haven, Conn., by Blessed Michael J. McGivney and faith-filled men with the goal to protect vulnerable widows, families and immigrants.

“My experience and belief is that three things make the difference in any worthwhile, successful organization: a good and noble purpose, a hard-working membership united and convinced about that purpose and strong, effective leadership,” he began. “The Knights exhibited all three of those characteristics.”

Referring to the five men seated before him, eager to assume statewide responsibilities, and the scores more who would take up local duties, the Bishop continued, “Today is a day dedicated to strong and effective leadership. Leadership is the capacity to turn vision into reality; that is what our officers have always done, and what the new officers are called to do.”

The men hail from all parts of the state, he said, yet their mission is the same: to entrust themselves in the Lord, be courageous and not be swayed.

“When we trust in [the Lord], we are never disappointed because we know we have nothing to fear,” Bishop O’Connell concluded. “As Knights we strive to be worthy of our call, our Catholic faith. Be resolved to inspire brothers … to follow the Lord in faith, hope, charity, unity and fraternity. Together, we leave no neighbor behind, as together we live in service to others, in service to all.”

Bishop Bootkoski blessed the beribboned medals, or jewels, of office for each state officer and district deputy. Each officer, accompanied by his wife, was called forward to the sanctuary where the jewels were draped upon the officer's neck by Stoever. Each Knight promised to uphold the laws of the constitution, be unswervingly loyal to the Church and its hierarchy, and do all in their power to follow the principles of the order of the Knights of Columbus.

Stoever, 62, is a native of Monmouth County. He is a graduate of Keansburg High School, and took courses in business administration at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft. Self-taught in computer science and programming, Stoever works as a software development engineer.

At Epiphany Parish, Stoever has served as a member of the finance committee, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and a volunteer for vacation Bible school. He joined the Knights of Columbus in 1989 and held many positions in the organization, including state president of the Motorcycle Ministry, state family life programs chairman, and state culture of life program director.

In 2013, Stover launched the “Send a Hero Home for the Holidays” project which identifies junior enlisted military personnel in need of assistance to go home for Christmas; he received the Governors’ Jefferson Award for Volunteerism in recognition for the project. He and his wife of 39 years, Marlene, have one son.

In addition to Stoever, other New Jersey state officers installed included Raymond C. Sands, state secretary, Diocese of Camden; James P. Sweeney, state treasurer, Diocese of Paterson; Russell D. Petrocelli, state advocate, Archdiocese of Newark, and Scott C. Williams, state warden, Diocese of Metuchen.

The new state deputy gestured toward a painting of Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney hanging in the Co-Cathedral, which had been commissioned by Bishop O’Connell and installed last November in the midst of the pandemic.

“We are coming out of a very dark period,” Stoever reminded his fellow Knights, “but together we will lead the Garden State out of the darkness of these past 16 months, back into the Light of Christ, back into the Church, back into what it is we do and do so well. Work with us and support us in building our mission of the order.”

As Stoever scanned the gathering of Knights and their spouses in attendance, he reflected on all the organization does in service to the Church.

"As the largest Catholic male lay ministry, the Knights of Columbus is able to bring many things to each parish that has a local council," he said. "Ours is a membership comprised of men of many talents and abilities with the constant being a love of our faith and a burning desire to act on the words of Christ when he said, 'Whatever you do for the least of these you do for me.'

"Any Catholic man who takes it to heart that he is his brother's keeper will be welcome within our ranks and will unwittingly become a better Catholic, a better father and a better man," Stoever said.

Information about joining the Knights of Columbus may be found by visiting member who use the promotion code mcigvney2020 will be given a free membership for one year.