When Bishop John M. Smith ordains 13 men to the permanent diaconate May 12 during Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, they will be members of the 25th class ordained in the diocese.
Bishop George W. Ahr ordained the first class of permanent deacons in 1977.
Among the men to be ordained by Bishop Smith are police officers, business executives, a township employee, a librarian, a business owner, a consultant, a parish manager, a systems programmer, mechanics and retirees.
The men, all of whom are married, come from 10 parishes and have completed the three-and-a-half year diaconate formation program.
Currently the men are involved in a number of parish ministries, including liturgy committees, bringing Communion to the home bound, coordinating altar servers and Eucharistic ministers, serving as lector and Eucharistic minister, teaching religious education, working on the parish carnival committee, RCIA and the parish youth group.
“I have been blessed with many gifts, especially a very fulfilling personal relationship with God. Becoming a deacon is a formal way of using my gifts to serve God and his church,” said John D. Fanelle of St. Mary of the Lakes Parish, Medford.
Diaconate formation in the diocese is now a four-year process. During the first year, or aspirant year, candidates receive general information and pray for discernment. Actually, according to Father Ralph Stansley, director of deacons, the prayer for discernment to determine whether God is calling a man to diaconate continues throughout the period of formation.
In the next two years, the candidates attend classes two nights weekly on Scripture, canon law, theology, pastoral ministry, homiletics and liturgy. The final year focuses primarily on practical aspects of ministry – annulment work, how to celebrate Baptism, preside at a wedding, or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Once the men are ordained they are required to continue their studies with a minimum of 15 hours of continuing education annually.
Currently the diocese has 225 deacons in active ministry and 58 in different stages of formation.
The men to be ordained, their parishes and sponsors are:
— William E. Briggs, St. Casimir, Riverside, Conventual Franciscan Father Dennis Mason;
— James F. Cattanea, St. John Neumann, Mount Laurel, Father Lino Parente, O.Cist.
— Robert Cunningham, St. Francis of Assisi, Brant Beach, Franciscan Father Andrew Reitz;
— Thomas J. Dello Russo, Epiphany, Brick, Father John V. Bowden;
— Gerald A. Doughty, St. Charles Borromeo, Cinnaminson, Father Thomas J. Triggs;
— Thomas J. Everist, St. Ann, Lawrenceville, Father R. Vincent Gartland;
— John D. Fanelle, St. Mary of the Lakes, Medford, Father Joseph A. Tedesco;
— Edward A. Hoag, St. Ann, Lawrenceville, Father Gartland;
— John F. Hvizdos, St. Charles Borromeo, Cinnaminson, Father Triggs;
— Thomas J. Lavelle Jr., Holy Angels, Trenton, Father Sam A. Sirianni;
— Uku R. Mannikus, St. Veronica, Howell, Father H. Brendan Williams;
— Robert E. Mintz, St. Ann, Keansburg, Father Daniel Cahill;
— Carl R. Sondeen, St. Charles Borromeo, Cinnaminson, Father Triggs [[In-content Ad]]