By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor
Father Garry Koch knows firsthand how Lincroft’s Christian Brothers Academy can foster vocations.
The pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, not only taught theology at the school for many years before he entered the seminary – an experience he says that helped to foster his own priestly vocation – he also instructed Father Dayton, Father DeSaye and Father Dolan during their respective CBA careers.
“Through serious academic investigation into Catholic theology, an active campus ministry program, community service and the availability of daily Mass, CBA maintains a deep commitment to the life of faith,” said Father Koch, who was ordained a priest in 2013. “There is no doubt that the school is a faithful and serious environment for the fostering of faith in young men.”
Father Koch noted that he spent a great deal of time talking about faith and the priesthood with Father DeSaye while he attended CBA, and then as a college student when Father DeSaye was considering a vocation as a Benedictine monk.
By the time Father DeSaye decided to transition from religious life to the diocesan priesthood, Father Koch had been ordained a priest and assigned to St. Benedict Parish.
“Michael had no parish where he called ‘home’ nor had he any parish pastoral experience,” Father Koch said. “So he came to St. Benedict’s to assist in his formation and transition and he stayed at the rectory during his breaks from seminary until his ordination as a deacon.”
Of Father Dayton, Father Koch recalled him as a student who regularly participated in daily Mass at CBA and served as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and a reader for both the daily chapel Mass and the larger school Masses.
“Speaking about the priesthood with Christopher was very easy, as for most of his CBA career he was open about his desire to become a priest,” Father Koch said.
As for the young Dolan, “It was very clear that Nicholas was in discernment for priesthood,” Father Koch said.
Reflecting on the opportunity to witness the ordination of Father Dayton, Father DeSaye and Father Dolan, Father Koch said, while the laying on of hands is always a powerful moment in any ordination, it was especially emotional and poignant to watch Bishop O’Connell impose hands on three former CBA students.
“Knowing Father Dayton, Father DeSaye and Father Dolan as I do, it was awe-inspiring to be with them in ordination and now to share our priesthood together.”