By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor
Recruiting vocations to the priesthood is not a singular effort. It is a diocesan-wide responsibility and is relationship-based. It is with a team approach mindset that Father Jason Parzynski looks forward to his role as the Diocese’s newly named vocations director.
“I see my role as being the point person for priests of the Diocese as well as a coordinator to organize initiatives to identify potential vocations among men who are discerning the call to priesthood,” said Father Parzynski, who is also chaplain and a teacher in Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville.
Ordained a priest in 2015 by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., Father Parzynski said he is appreciative for the opportunity to serve as vocations director and to positively impact the future of the Diocese. He believes his various experiences working in the ministries of religious education, youth ministry and as a high school chaplain will serve him well as he works toward establishing a rapport with high school and college-aged young men from around the four-county Diocese and encouraging them to consider the life of priest.
“God is calling some great men to the priesthood,” Father Parzynski maintains, “and it is with great excitement that I take on the role as vocation director.”
Father Parzynski will be working with Father Garry Koch, pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, and Father Daniel Swift, pastor of St. Mary of the Lakes Parish, Medford – who will both continue on in their roles as associate vocations directors – as well as four additional priests who are in the process of being chosen. He noted that Father Koch and two priests will oversee vocations in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, while Father Swift and two priests will focus on Burlington and Mercer Counties.
The vocations team already has some projects in the works.
One effort is the campaign, “Called By Name,” which will be scheduled in every parish the weekends in November around National Vocations Awareness Week. During Masses on the first weekend in November, the homily will address what it means to have a vocation and how one discerns a vocation “because God calls each of us to something,” said Father Parzynski.
For the second weekend, cards will be placed in pews, and parishioners will be invited to write the names of men in whom they see qualities that would make a good priest. Those names will be passed onto the vocations team.
Another effort is to host discernment gatherings in Emmaus House of Discernment, Lawrenceville, located across the street from Rider University. Those meetings will include hosting different guest speakers to help potential priest candidates grow in their understanding of the priesthood. A similiar Emmaus group will be held along the shore for Monmouth and Ocean Counties.