Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., is pictured with the priests, deacona and seminarians of the Diocese who were in attendance at the Mass the Bishop celebrated Dec. 17 in St. Paul Church, Princeton. During the Mass, the Bishop presided over the Rite of Candidacy in which six seminarians from the Diocese declared their formal intent to pursue studies for the priesthood. John Blaine photo
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., is pictured with the priests, deacona and seminarians of the Diocese who were in attendance at the Mass the Bishop celebrated Dec. 17 in St. Paul Church, Princeton. During the Mass, the Bishop presided over the Rite of Candidacy in which six seminarians from the Diocese declared their formal intent to pursue studies for the priesthood. John Blaine photo

Six seminarians of the Diocese of Trenton took part in the Rite of Candidacy — a formal step of embarking toward the priesthood  — Dec. 17 during a Mass celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., in St. Paul Church, Princeton.

“If we were honest, we would admit that we have all looked for and asked God for signs, at times,” Bishop O’Connell said in his homily. “‘Give me a sign, Lord, if this is right path for me, the right person, the right spouse, the right job, the right vocation.’

“Our seminarians here today look for signs that God is calling them to the priesthood. The ceremony in which they participate in the presence of the Church tonight is one of those signs to them,” he said.

Following the Bishop’s homily, Msgr. Thomas J. Mullelly, vicar for clergy and consecrated life and director of seminarians, called out the names of each of the six seminarians: Christopher Dayton, Michael DeSaye, Brother Nicholas Dolan, Frank Flaherty, Christopher Pinto and James Smith.

They each responded “present,” and stood in the front pew of the church as the Bishop welcomed them into the next step in their formation.

Dayton, DeSaye, Dolan, and Smith will be ordained as transitional deacons in the spring, while Flaherty and Pinto will continue in formation at their seminary.

The Bishop was joined by eight priests at the altar, including Msgr. Mullelly; Father Michael Wallack, secretary to Bishop O’Connell, episcopal master of ceremonies and director of vocations for the Diocese; Father Daniel Swift and Father Garry Koch, both of whom serve as assistant directors of vocations for the Diocese, and Msgr. Joseph Rosie, pastor of St. Paul Parish.

Read more about the Rite of Candidacy and browse a photo gallery from the Mass in THIS STORY from The Monitor.