Ten men prepare to serve as permanent deacons

May 12, 2023 at 12:35 p.m.
Ten men prepare to serve as permanent deacons
Ten men prepare to serve as permanent deacons


After five years of preparation, 10 men will be ordained May 20 as permanent deacons for the Diocese of Trenton. Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, giving them the faculties to preach and preside over weddings, Baptisms, wakes and committals. From various careers and life experiences, the 10 soon-to-be deacons are all married with families. Their formation has included completing a five-year program with studies consistent with the intellectual norms established in the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. Following are the profiles of the men who have answered God’s call to serve the Church.

Christopher F. Buono

Sponsoring Parish: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Whiting

Birth Place/Year: Point Pleasant; 1976

Family: wife, Courtney; son, Michael, 26, daughters, Julianna, 20, Isabella, 18, Angelia, 15; grandchildren, Jackson and Adalyn; parents, Paul and Dolores (both deceased)

Employment Background: Catholic cemeterian/assistant manager, St. Joseph Cemetery, Toms River

Education: Walnut Street Elementary School, Toms River (1984-1990); Toms River North High School, Toms River (1992-1996); Georgian Court University, Lakewood, undergraduate certificate in pastoral ministry (2018-2021)

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology

Areas of Ministry: Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, lector, sacristan, eighth grade catechist aide, all in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? My pursuit to the vocation of the diaconate began at an early age. After the sudden passing of my dad at a young age, I drew very close to God and the Church. It was then that I began to feel the call to service. I felt deeply compelled to use my life experiences, both good and bad, to help others in the name of Christ. I simply could no longer deny the intense call to serve the Lord and his people.

Vesting Priest: Father Evarist Kabagambe, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish

 

Donald Gries

Sponsoring Parish: St. Justin the Martyr, Toms River

Birth Place/Year: Rahway; 1959

Family: wife, Deborah Ann Gries; daughter, Danielle Triolo, 37; son, Kyle, 34; grandchildren, Maverick James Gries, 6, Dominic Steele Triolo, 4, Milo Reign Gries, 4; parents Jerome Vance Gries (deceased) and Elizabeth Gries

Employment: systems analyst, Ocean County Utilities Authority, Bayville

Education: School #8, Linden (1966-1971); Linden High School, Linden (1974-1977); Georgian Court University, Lakewood, undergraduate certificate in pastoral ministry (2018-2021)

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: DeVry Technical Institute, diploma in electronic engineering technology, 1979

Areas of Ministry: Holy Name Society, men’s faith group, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults team member, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, cohort implementation team member, lector, acolyte, ALL IN St. Justin the Martyr Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? First came rescue, then inspiration. Out of my wife Debbie’s love and through her prayers and the support of my loving family, I found my way to God’s peace. The Holy Spirit led me to Father Mark (Kreder, pastor, St. Justin the Martyr Parish) and the faith-filled people of St. Justin’s. They led me to love our Catholic faith. In his time, the Holy Spirit inspired me to serve these “apostles of kindness” because I have received so much from them.

Vesting Priest: Father Mark Kreder, pastor of St. Justin the Martyr Parish

 

Louis E. “Ed” Mayer IV

Sponsoring Parish: St. Mary of the Lakes, Medford

Birth Place/Year: Mount Holly; 1964

Family: wife, Michele R. Mayer; daughters, Melissa E. Cossio and Sara M. Meyer; granddaughter, Caiden L. Cossio; parents Louis and Theresa Mayer

Employment Background: director, Holtec International, Camden; retired U.S. Navy captain

Education: St. Mary of the Lakes School, Medford, (1971-1979); Holy Cross High School, Delran, (1979-1983); B.S., chemical engineering, Pennsylvania State University (1983-1987); M.A., strategic studies, Air Force War College (2001-2002); M.A., theology, Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2022)

Areas of Ministry: Reader, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, parish pastoral council, Pre-Cana, sacristan, all in St. Mary of the Lakes Parish, and St. Mary of the Lakes School board

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? My inspiration to become clergy was inculcated and fostered while attending St. Mary of the Lakes Elementary and Holy Cross High Schools. Sister Marie Agnes and Msgr. James Dubell were selfless in word and action and were incredible role models. A career in the Navy honed my call to service and provided the opportunity to work with sailors from all walks of life under the most arduous conditions. Once retired from naval service, I was drawn to becoming a deacon. Father Dan Swift and my family assisted whenever and wherever they could.

Vesting Priest: Father Daniel F. Swift, pastor of St. Mary of the Lakes Parish

 

Mynor Pardo

Sponsoring Parish: St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton

Birth Place/Year: Guatemala City; 1971

Family: wife, Susan Perez; daughters, Paula, 24, and Daniela, 21, son, Javier, 18; parents, Gustavo and Sofia de Pardo

Employment Background: Service technician, Arctic Air Conditioner, Old Bridge

Education: Salesiano Don Bosco Elementary School (graduated 1987); IECA High School, Guatemala City (graduated 1990); completed marketing studies at UMG, 1994; undergraduate certificate in pastoral ministry, Georgian Court University, Lakewood, 2021

Areas of Ministry: Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Bible studies for youth and adults, director of altar servers, all in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? First, because God called me, and I want to be obedient and follow his call. Second, because of the service. I have seen the other deacons and have heard the testimony of their lives and how through their services, they have helped to build God’s Church

Vesting Priest: Msgr. Joseph L. Roldan, rector, St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral

 

William Ross

Sponsoring Parish: St. Mary, Middletown

Birth Place/Year: Brooklyn, N.Y.; 1961

Family: wife, Jacqueline; daughter, Melanie, 25, son, Brian, 25, son, Matthew, 22; parents, William and Josephine Ross

Employment background: Technology project manager, Bank of America, Jersey City

Education: Chester Elementary School, Chester, N.Y., (1967-1972), and Manor Oaks Elementary School, New Hyde Park, N.Y. (1972-1973); New Hyde Park High School, New Hyde, N.Y. (1973-1979); B.S., marketing, St. John University, Queens, N.Y. (1979-1983); B.S. equivalent in computer science, Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y. (1987-1989); M.B.A. in finance, Hofstra University, (1993-1996); M.A., theology, Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2018-2021)

Areas of Ministry: Co-director of evangelization, co-director of Life in the Spirit seminar 2023, co-director of Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, teacher/prayer minister for the Encounter School of Ministry- N.J. campus, facilitator of men’s discipleship/That Man is You!, member of Knights of Columbus, parish finance council member, parish fair committee member, all in St. Mary Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? The Holy Spirit. In 2015, I was an average Catholic man persuaded by my wife to attend a Life in the Spirit seminar with her. From that point on, the Holy Spirit placed inside me a strong, ever-growing desire to get closer to Jesus, to help others to do the same and to help with the mission of the Church to bring the lost sheep back into the fold.

Vesting Priest: Father Jeffrey Kegley, pastor, St. Mary Parish, Middletown

 

Philip J. Thompson

Sponsoring Parish: St. Veronica, Howell

Birth Place/Year: Brooklyn, N.Y.; 1976

Family: wife, Nina Thompson; children, daughter, Isabella, 19, son, Nolan, 17; parents David and Thalia Thompson, both deceased

Employment Background: Police officer for Howell Township

Education: St. Veronica Grammar School, Howell, 1980-1990; Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank, 1990-1994; associates degree in liberal arts, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, 1994-1997; certificate in pastoral ministry, Georgian Court University, Lakewood, 2018-2021

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: Monmouth County Police Academy, 1999-2000

Areas of Ministry: catechist, youth minister, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, parish council member, all in St. Veronica Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? Since I was a child I have always had the desire to serve others. My first job was a newspaper boy and I remember the joy I had getting the daily newspaper to my neighbors, no matter the weather. That same desire eventually led me to serve my community by becoming a police officer. I now look forward to serving the parish family of St. Veronica in all their needs. In serving others, I serve the Lord while at the same time striving to bring others to embrace Christ’s love in their life and look for Christ’s presence in each other. Serving others has always been a beacon drawing me to a closer relationship with the Lord, especially in this crazy world we live in. I now yearn humbly to continue this journey I’ve been called to, by having faith and trust in the Lord, wherever he shall lead me.

Vesting Priest: Father Peter James Alindogan, pastor, St. Veronica Parish

 

Robert Vidal

Sponsoring Parish: St. Mary, Barnegat

Birth Place/Year: Roselle Park; 1972

Family: wife, Barbara Vidal; daughters, Emma, 20, Gracie, 18, Hailey, 13, son, Charlie, 14; parents, Charles (deceased) and Kathleen Vidal

Employment Background: field area manager, Veolia Water

Education: Holy Spirit School, New Hyde Park, N.Y. , (1978-1986); New Hyde Park Memorial High School, New Hyde Park (1986-1990); St. John University, Queens, N.Y., associate degree, criminal justice (1990-1992); certificate in pastoral ministry, Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2018-2021)

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: theology

Areas of Ministry: Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, Pre-Cana, catechist, sacristan, all in St. Mary Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation  as a deacon? While living in New York, I was very involved in the fire department, achieving the rank of captain. However, due to an injury, I knew that I could no longer be in fire service but still wanted to serve. While attending a men’s retreat, during my Adoration time, I was reflecting and praying as to what God wanted me to do because I wanted to serve again. I could clearly hear God say to me that he wanted me to become a deacon and serve his people. As a deacon I am looking forward to bringing people closer to God no matter where they are in their faith journey.

Vesting Priest: Msgr. Kenard Tuzeneu, pastor, St. Mary Parish

 

Jay Lewis Werling

Sponsoring Parish: St. Theresa, Little Egg Harbor

Birth Place/Year: Pittsburgh, Pa.; 1962

Family: wife, Kimberley A. Werling; daughter, Katherine Rose Murphy, 36, stepdaughter Jennifer Marie McCarthy, 36, son, Andrew Jay Charles Werling, 21; grandchildren, Christian, Parker, Kayla and Rayven Murphy; parents, Joan Lewis and Francis J. Werling, both deceased

Employment Background: Air shuttle specialist, DOT/FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center Center Operations, Logistic Management Branch, Egg Harbor Township; Retired Msgt, USAF/177th FW N.J. Air National Guard, Egg Harbor Township

Education: McClellan Elementary School, Pittsburgh, Pa. (1968-1973); Pleasant Hills Middle School, Pittsburgh, Pa. (1973-1976); Thomas Jefferson High School, Jefferson Hills, Pa. (1976-1980); CCAF/Community College of the Air Force, associates degree in applied science – logistics, 2001 and transportation, 2005; CSU Colorado State University-Pueblo, McGuire AFB, concentration in social science with a minor in psychology (2000-2006); Georgian Court University, Lakewood, undergraduate certificate in pastoral ministry (2018-2021)

Areas of ministry: Sacristan, lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, catechist, Knights of Columbus (St. Theresa Council and Father Charles J. Waters Assembly), Altar-Rosary Society. Previously served as a Virtus facilitator and choir member, all St. Theresa Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? When I was younger I felt the desire to apply to the priesthood but I enlisted in the military instead. I have served this great country for the past 40 years both in the USAF and for the FAA. It will be my honor to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Also, Deacon Bill Sulzmann and Father Mick Lambeth, who are dearly missed, greatly inspired me to apply to the diaconate program.

Vesting Priest: Father John Large, pastor, St. Theresa Parish

 

John L. White

Sponsoring Parish: St. Monica, Jackson

Birth Place/Year: Watertown, N.Y.; 1955

Family: wife, Caroline S.; daughter, Jennifer P., 39, son, Brian M. 37; grandchildren, Mason and Sawyer Cuntala, Colin, Harper and Braydon White; parents Jack and Rosemary White (both deceased)

Employment Background: Retired, U.S. Army (1973-1993); project manager (defense contractor), SAIC (1993-2003); owner/CEO, Log Tech – defense contractor, Microsoft refurbisher and electronic recycling (2003-2016)

Education: St. Antoninus School, Newark (1960-1968); Essex Catholic High School, Newark (1968-1971); St. Joseph College, Standish, Maine, B.A., E-business and technology (2000-2004); Columbia Southern University, Ala., M.B.A. (2007-2008); Georgian Court University, Lakewood, M.A., theology (2018-2021)

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training:  graduated cum laude from St. Joseph College

Areas of Ministry: Seventh grade religious education instructor, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion for assisted living centers and homebound, lector, 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, weekday sacristan, parish building committee, parish pastoral council, parish advocate for the Open Door Pregnancy Center, grief support facilitator, all St. Monica Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? Throughout my life, God has planted seeds of vocation, but the busyness of everyday life was a distraction. One day I had a peaceful experience and reexamined my life. I realized the seeds had flourished and I was being called to be a disciple of the Lord. With the support of Father Alex (Enriquez, pastor), Deacons Mike Principato and Gene Moir, I learned more about my calling from God as I began the discernment process.

Vesting Priest: Father Alex Enriquez, pastor, St. Monica Parish

 

Thomas R. Wieczerzak

Sponsoring Parish: St. James, Red Bank

Birth Place/Year: Brooklyn, N.Y.; 1981

Family: wife, Diana M.; sons, Thomas Peter, 6 and Andrew Kenneth, 3; parents, Richard (living), Susan M. (deceased)

Employment:  fire chief, aircraft fire-rescue, Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark

Education:  Holy Cross School, Rumson, (graduated 1996); Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank (graduated 2000); A.S. Criminal Justice, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, (graduated 2002); B.A., fire science, University of Maryland, College Park, Md., (graduated 2003); M.A., theology, Georgian Court University, Lakewood,  (graduated 2021)

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: Licensed pilot; Fire service instructor; Emergency medical technician

Areas of Ministry: Knights of Columbus, St. James and St. Anthony Council, (Past Grand Knight); extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; lector; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults team member; Jordan River Ministry; Lazarus Ministry, all St. James Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon?  The inspirational moment to pursue the diaconate started in my high school days. I had always had a drive to serve my community from becoming a volunteer firefighter to an emergency medical technician. As I grew in life, I realized that the pinnacle of service to my community was through serving Christ and his people, helping our priests lead our communities to the salvation of Christ. The diaconate is one of the many ways to show faith in action and lead in the Church on the path Christ showed us.

Vesting Priest: Msgr. Joseph N. Rosie, pastor, St. James Parish

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After five years of preparation, 10 men will be ordained May 20 as permanent deacons for the Diocese of Trenton. Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, giving them the faculties to preach and preside over weddings, Baptisms, wakes and committals. From various careers and life experiences, the 10 soon-to-be deacons are all married with families. Their formation has included completing a five-year program with studies consistent with the intellectual norms established in the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. Following are the profiles of the men who have answered God’s call to serve the Church.

Christopher F. Buono

Sponsoring Parish: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Whiting

Birth Place/Year: Point Pleasant; 1976

Family: wife, Courtney; son, Michael, 26, daughters, Julianna, 20, Isabella, 18, Angelia, 15; grandchildren, Jackson and Adalyn; parents, Paul and Dolores (both deceased)

Employment Background: Catholic cemeterian/assistant manager, St. Joseph Cemetery, Toms River

Education: Walnut Street Elementary School, Toms River (1984-1990); Toms River North High School, Toms River (1992-1996); Georgian Court University, Lakewood, undergraduate certificate in pastoral ministry (2018-2021)

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology

Areas of Ministry: Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, lector, sacristan, eighth grade catechist aide, all in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? My pursuit to the vocation of the diaconate began at an early age. After the sudden passing of my dad at a young age, I drew very close to God and the Church. It was then that I began to feel the call to service. I felt deeply compelled to use my life experiences, both good and bad, to help others in the name of Christ. I simply could no longer deny the intense call to serve the Lord and his people.

Vesting Priest: Father Evarist Kabagambe, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish

 

Donald Gries

Sponsoring Parish: St. Justin the Martyr, Toms River

Birth Place/Year: Rahway; 1959

Family: wife, Deborah Ann Gries; daughter, Danielle Triolo, 37; son, Kyle, 34; grandchildren, Maverick James Gries, 6, Dominic Steele Triolo, 4, Milo Reign Gries, 4; parents Jerome Vance Gries (deceased) and Elizabeth Gries

Employment: systems analyst, Ocean County Utilities Authority, Bayville

Education: School #8, Linden (1966-1971); Linden High School, Linden (1974-1977); Georgian Court University, Lakewood, undergraduate certificate in pastoral ministry (2018-2021)

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: DeVry Technical Institute, diploma in electronic engineering technology, 1979

Areas of Ministry: Holy Name Society, men’s faith group, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults team member, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, cohort implementation team member, lector, acolyte, ALL IN St. Justin the Martyr Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? First came rescue, then inspiration. Out of my wife Debbie’s love and through her prayers and the support of my loving family, I found my way to God’s peace. The Holy Spirit led me to Father Mark (Kreder, pastor, St. Justin the Martyr Parish) and the faith-filled people of St. Justin’s. They led me to love our Catholic faith. In his time, the Holy Spirit inspired me to serve these “apostles of kindness” because I have received so much from them.

Vesting Priest: Father Mark Kreder, pastor of St. Justin the Martyr Parish

 

Louis E. “Ed” Mayer IV

Sponsoring Parish: St. Mary of the Lakes, Medford

Birth Place/Year: Mount Holly; 1964

Family: wife, Michele R. Mayer; daughters, Melissa E. Cossio and Sara M. Meyer; granddaughter, Caiden L. Cossio; parents Louis and Theresa Mayer

Employment Background: director, Holtec International, Camden; retired U.S. Navy captain

Education: St. Mary of the Lakes School, Medford, (1971-1979); Holy Cross High School, Delran, (1979-1983); B.S., chemical engineering, Pennsylvania State University (1983-1987); M.A., strategic studies, Air Force War College (2001-2002); M.A., theology, Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2022)

Areas of Ministry: Reader, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, parish pastoral council, Pre-Cana, sacristan, all in St. Mary of the Lakes Parish, and St. Mary of the Lakes School board

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? My inspiration to become clergy was inculcated and fostered while attending St. Mary of the Lakes Elementary and Holy Cross High Schools. Sister Marie Agnes and Msgr. James Dubell were selfless in word and action and were incredible role models. A career in the Navy honed my call to service and provided the opportunity to work with sailors from all walks of life under the most arduous conditions. Once retired from naval service, I was drawn to becoming a deacon. Father Dan Swift and my family assisted whenever and wherever they could.

Vesting Priest: Father Daniel F. Swift, pastor of St. Mary of the Lakes Parish

 

Mynor Pardo

Sponsoring Parish: St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton

Birth Place/Year: Guatemala City; 1971

Family: wife, Susan Perez; daughters, Paula, 24, and Daniela, 21, son, Javier, 18; parents, Gustavo and Sofia de Pardo

Employment Background: Service technician, Arctic Air Conditioner, Old Bridge

Education: Salesiano Don Bosco Elementary School (graduated 1987); IECA High School, Guatemala City (graduated 1990); completed marketing studies at UMG, 1994; undergraduate certificate in pastoral ministry, Georgian Court University, Lakewood, 2021

Areas of Ministry: Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Bible studies for youth and adults, director of altar servers, all in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? First, because God called me, and I want to be obedient and follow his call. Second, because of the service. I have seen the other deacons and have heard the testimony of their lives and how through their services, they have helped to build God’s Church

Vesting Priest: Msgr. Joseph L. Roldan, rector, St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral

 

William Ross

Sponsoring Parish: St. Mary, Middletown

Birth Place/Year: Brooklyn, N.Y.; 1961

Family: wife, Jacqueline; daughter, Melanie, 25, son, Brian, 25, son, Matthew, 22; parents, William and Josephine Ross

Employment background: Technology project manager, Bank of America, Jersey City

Education: Chester Elementary School, Chester, N.Y., (1967-1972), and Manor Oaks Elementary School, New Hyde Park, N.Y. (1972-1973); New Hyde Park High School, New Hyde, N.Y. (1973-1979); B.S., marketing, St. John University, Queens, N.Y. (1979-1983); B.S. equivalent in computer science, Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y. (1987-1989); M.B.A. in finance, Hofstra University, (1993-1996); M.A., theology, Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2018-2021)

Areas of Ministry: Co-director of evangelization, co-director of Life in the Spirit seminar 2023, co-director of Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, teacher/prayer minister for the Encounter School of Ministry- N.J. campus, facilitator of men’s discipleship/That Man is You!, member of Knights of Columbus, parish finance council member, parish fair committee member, all in St. Mary Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? The Holy Spirit. In 2015, I was an average Catholic man persuaded by my wife to attend a Life in the Spirit seminar with her. From that point on, the Holy Spirit placed inside me a strong, ever-growing desire to get closer to Jesus, to help others to do the same and to help with the mission of the Church to bring the lost sheep back into the fold.

Vesting Priest: Father Jeffrey Kegley, pastor, St. Mary Parish, Middletown

 

Philip J. Thompson

Sponsoring Parish: St. Veronica, Howell

Birth Place/Year: Brooklyn, N.Y.; 1976

Family: wife, Nina Thompson; children, daughter, Isabella, 19, son, Nolan, 17; parents David and Thalia Thompson, both deceased

Employment Background: Police officer for Howell Township

Education: St. Veronica Grammar School, Howell, 1980-1990; Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank, 1990-1994; associates degree in liberal arts, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, 1994-1997; certificate in pastoral ministry, Georgian Court University, Lakewood, 2018-2021

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: Monmouth County Police Academy, 1999-2000

Areas of Ministry: catechist, youth minister, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, parish council member, all in St. Veronica Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? Since I was a child I have always had the desire to serve others. My first job was a newspaper boy and I remember the joy I had getting the daily newspaper to my neighbors, no matter the weather. That same desire eventually led me to serve my community by becoming a police officer. I now look forward to serving the parish family of St. Veronica in all their needs. In serving others, I serve the Lord while at the same time striving to bring others to embrace Christ’s love in their life and look for Christ’s presence in each other. Serving others has always been a beacon drawing me to a closer relationship with the Lord, especially in this crazy world we live in. I now yearn humbly to continue this journey I’ve been called to, by having faith and trust in the Lord, wherever he shall lead me.

Vesting Priest: Father Peter James Alindogan, pastor, St. Veronica Parish

 

Robert Vidal

Sponsoring Parish: St. Mary, Barnegat

Birth Place/Year: Roselle Park; 1972

Family: wife, Barbara Vidal; daughters, Emma, 20, Gracie, 18, Hailey, 13, son, Charlie, 14; parents, Charles (deceased) and Kathleen Vidal

Employment Background: field area manager, Veolia Water

Education: Holy Spirit School, New Hyde Park, N.Y. , (1978-1986); New Hyde Park Memorial High School, New Hyde Park (1986-1990); St. John University, Queens, N.Y., associate degree, criminal justice (1990-1992); certificate in pastoral ministry, Georgian Court University, Lakewood (2018-2021)

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: theology

Areas of Ministry: Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, Pre-Cana, catechist, sacristan, all in St. Mary Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation  as a deacon? While living in New York, I was very involved in the fire department, achieving the rank of captain. However, due to an injury, I knew that I could no longer be in fire service but still wanted to serve. While attending a men’s retreat, during my Adoration time, I was reflecting and praying as to what God wanted me to do because I wanted to serve again. I could clearly hear God say to me that he wanted me to become a deacon and serve his people. As a deacon I am looking forward to bringing people closer to God no matter where they are in their faith journey.

Vesting Priest: Msgr. Kenard Tuzeneu, pastor, St. Mary Parish

 

Jay Lewis Werling

Sponsoring Parish: St. Theresa, Little Egg Harbor

Birth Place/Year: Pittsburgh, Pa.; 1962

Family: wife, Kimberley A. Werling; daughter, Katherine Rose Murphy, 36, stepdaughter Jennifer Marie McCarthy, 36, son, Andrew Jay Charles Werling, 21; grandchildren, Christian, Parker, Kayla and Rayven Murphy; parents, Joan Lewis and Francis J. Werling, both deceased

Employment Background: Air shuttle specialist, DOT/FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center Center Operations, Logistic Management Branch, Egg Harbor Township; Retired Msgt, USAF/177th FW N.J. Air National Guard, Egg Harbor Township

Education: McClellan Elementary School, Pittsburgh, Pa. (1968-1973); Pleasant Hills Middle School, Pittsburgh, Pa. (1973-1976); Thomas Jefferson High School, Jefferson Hills, Pa. (1976-1980); CCAF/Community College of the Air Force, associates degree in applied science – logistics, 2001 and transportation, 2005; CSU Colorado State University-Pueblo, McGuire AFB, concentration in social science with a minor in psychology (2000-2006); Georgian Court University, Lakewood, undergraduate certificate in pastoral ministry (2018-2021)

Areas of ministry: Sacristan, lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, catechist, Knights of Columbus (St. Theresa Council and Father Charles J. Waters Assembly), Altar-Rosary Society. Previously served as a Virtus facilitator and choir member, all St. Theresa Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? When I was younger I felt the desire to apply to the priesthood but I enlisted in the military instead. I have served this great country for the past 40 years both in the USAF and for the FAA. It will be my honor to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Also, Deacon Bill Sulzmann and Father Mick Lambeth, who are dearly missed, greatly inspired me to apply to the diaconate program.

Vesting Priest: Father John Large, pastor, St. Theresa Parish

 

John L. White

Sponsoring Parish: St. Monica, Jackson

Birth Place/Year: Watertown, N.Y.; 1955

Family: wife, Caroline S.; daughter, Jennifer P., 39, son, Brian M. 37; grandchildren, Mason and Sawyer Cuntala, Colin, Harper and Braydon White; parents Jack and Rosemary White (both deceased)

Employment Background: Retired, U.S. Army (1973-1993); project manager (defense contractor), SAIC (1993-2003); owner/CEO, Log Tech – defense contractor, Microsoft refurbisher and electronic recycling (2003-2016)

Education: St. Antoninus School, Newark (1960-1968); Essex Catholic High School, Newark (1968-1971); St. Joseph College, Standish, Maine, B.A., E-business and technology (2000-2004); Columbia Southern University, Ala., M.B.A. (2007-2008); Georgian Court University, Lakewood, M.A., theology (2018-2021)

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training:  graduated cum laude from St. Joseph College

Areas of Ministry: Seventh grade religious education instructor, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion for assisted living centers and homebound, lector, 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, weekday sacristan, parish building committee, parish pastoral council, parish advocate for the Open Door Pregnancy Center, grief support facilitator, all St. Monica Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon? Throughout my life, God has planted seeds of vocation, but the busyness of everyday life was a distraction. One day I had a peaceful experience and reexamined my life. I realized the seeds had flourished and I was being called to be a disciple of the Lord. With the support of Father Alex (Enriquez, pastor), Deacons Mike Principato and Gene Moir, I learned more about my calling from God as I began the discernment process.

Vesting Priest: Father Alex Enriquez, pastor, St. Monica Parish

 

Thomas R. Wieczerzak

Sponsoring Parish: St. James, Red Bank

Birth Place/Year: Brooklyn, N.Y.; 1981

Family: wife, Diana M.; sons, Thomas Peter, 6 and Andrew Kenneth, 3; parents, Richard (living), Susan M. (deceased)

Employment:  fire chief, aircraft fire-rescue, Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark

Education:  Holy Cross School, Rumson, (graduated 1996); Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank (graduated 2000); A.S. Criminal Justice, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, (graduated 2002); B.A., fire science, University of Maryland, College Park, Md., (graduated 2003); M.A., theology, Georgian Court University, Lakewood,  (graduated 2021)

Certificates, Honors, Technical Training: Licensed pilot; Fire service instructor; Emergency medical technician

Areas of Ministry: Knights of Columbus, St. James and St. Anthony Council, (Past Grand Knight); extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; lector; Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults team member; Jordan River Ministry; Lazarus Ministry, all St. James Parish

What inspired you to pursue a vocation as a deacon?  The inspirational moment to pursue the diaconate started in my high school days. I had always had a drive to serve my community from becoming a volunteer firefighter to an emergency medical technician. As I grew in life, I realized that the pinnacle of service to my community was through serving Christ and his people, helping our priests lead our communities to the salvation of Christ. The diaconate is one of the many ways to show faith in action and lead in the Church on the path Christ showed us.

Vesting Priest: Msgr. Joseph N. Rosie, pastor, St. James Parish

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