UPDATED: New Resurrection pastor prays to serve parish with humility

November 10, 2023 at 11:22 a.m.
Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M., celebrates a Mass Nov. 4 in Holy Name Church, Delran, part of Resurrection Parish, Delran, during which he installs Father Michael Gentile as the new pastor. Joe Moore photo
Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M., celebrates a Mass Nov. 4 in Holy Name Church, Delran, part of Resurrection Parish, Delran, during which he installs Father Michael Gentile as the new pastor. Joe Moore photo

By MARY STADNYK
Associate Editor

Parishioners, brother priests and family members gathered Nov. 4 to witness Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., install Father Michael Gentile as the new pastor of Resurrection Parish.

PHOTO GALLERY: Father Gentile installed as pastor of Delran parish

“Today as we celebrate this Mass of Installation, it is my sincere prayer that I will continually strive to humbly serve all people of this parish,” said Father Gentile, who was named administrator of the Delran parish just before Christmas last year and was appointed pastor as of July 1.

The Mass coincided with the start of the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week Nov. 5-11, which Father Gentile reflected on in his homily.

Celebrating Vocations

When Jesus was addressing the crowds and his disciples, he spoke of how “humility is essential for those who preach and for those who follow,” Father Gentile said, referring to the Gospel.

“Jesus advises them that no one should do things in order to be noticed,” such as the Scribes and Pharisees were doing.

“They were preaching but not practicing their own teachings. They were more concerned with places of honor and were not genuine in their actions,” Father Gentile said.

Similarly, Father Gentile noted that, a few days earlier, the Church celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints, “where we remember so many examples of men and women from the past whose actions spoke louder than any words.”

He noted that National Vocation Awareness Week, which this year was observed Nov. 5-11, is “a time where we are called to pray for and encourage vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life.”

“As we begin this week of prayer for vocations, we all together can continually pray that, hopefully, more vocations will be brought about in our time,” he continued, then referred to the example of St. Paul and his true zeal for bringing Christ to others and the example from all the saints.

“Sure, there have been sinners throughout history, but we are reminded that the Lord has promised that he will always be with his Church,” he said.

Michael Gentile was born in 1976 in Bronx, N.Y., and is one of eight children of Barbara and Michael Gentile Sr. He attended Holy Rosary School and Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Marist College in New York. Among other jobs following graduation, he worked for the airline industry in North Carolina and then, when he moved to New Jersey, as a chauffeur for Verizon Communications.

When he ultimately realized he had a vocation to the priesthood, he decided to prepare as a seminarian for the Diocese of Trenton. In 2011, he enrolled in Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University, South Orange, where he earned a master of divinity degree. Bishop O’Connell ordained him a priest June 3, 2017, in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, and his parish assignments have included serving as parochial vicar of St. Dominic Parish, Brick, and St. Thomas More Parish, Manalapan.

As a first-time pastor, Father Gentile said he believes his seminary formation and past experiences as a parochial vicar have helped him to get a sense of what the faithful are yearning for in their lives.

“The seminary can only prepare you so much, and my experience at Immaculate Conception Seminary certainly prepared me well,” he said. “I am forever grateful to the formation faculty and professors who have helped me be the priest I am today,” he said, then emphasized that the assignments of a newly ordained priest enhance priestly formation.

Father Gentile expressed appreciation to Bishop O’Connell for having the “confidence in me to shepherd the people of Resurrection Parish and, with the help of God, I will hopefully lead them closer to him.”

Happy Pastor, Happy Parishioners

Father Gentile smiled as he reflected on the months since he arrived at Resurrection Parish, saying that he has found it “to be a community that is very close knit.”

“They care very much about one another and the Church. They have been very welcoming to me, and I feel comfortable here, thanks to such wonderful hospitality of the people,” he said. He noted that the parish, which in 2008 was formed from the merger of the former Holy Name Parish, Delran, and the former St. Casimir Parish, Riverside, currently has about 1,500 registered families and offers a number of ministries, including bereavement, Holy Name Society, Perpetual Adoration, Secular Franciscans and a St. Vincent de Paul conference.

Looking Ahead

While he looks forward to the challenge of being a pastor, Father Gentile knows it’s something he can’t do alone.

“My goal is to continually seek help 'from above,'" he said, adding that he is grateful for the parish’s Adoration Chapel, where he enjoys spending time in prayer.

“It helps me to constantly remember that God is in control, and it uplifts me to see people coming in and out of the Chapel at all hours of the day and night. It shows that they, too, are relying on God, that they, too, know that they cannot do it, whatever it is, alone,” he said.

Now in her 34th year working in the parish office, Mariana Pirri said she is “especially happy” to work with Father Gentile, her sixth pastor.

“He brings a level of excitement to the rectory and parish,” she said. “Watching him serve the parishioners with sincere dedication and caring is heartwarming.”


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Parishioners, brother priests and family members gathered Nov. 4 to witness Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., install Father Michael Gentile as the new pastor of Resurrection Parish.

PHOTO GALLERY: Father Gentile installed as pastor of Delran parish

“Today as we celebrate this Mass of Installation, it is my sincere prayer that I will continually strive to humbly serve all people of this parish,” said Father Gentile, who was named administrator of the Delran parish just before Christmas last year and was appointed pastor as of July 1.

The Mass coincided with the start of the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week Nov. 5-11, which Father Gentile reflected on in his homily.

Celebrating Vocations

When Jesus was addressing the crowds and his disciples, he spoke of how “humility is essential for those who preach and for those who follow,” Father Gentile said, referring to the Gospel.

“Jesus advises them that no one should do things in order to be noticed,” such as the Scribes and Pharisees were doing.

“They were preaching but not practicing their own teachings. They were more concerned with places of honor and were not genuine in their actions,” Father Gentile said.

Similarly, Father Gentile noted that, a few days earlier, the Church celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints, “where we remember so many examples of men and women from the past whose actions spoke louder than any words.”

He noted that National Vocation Awareness Week, which this year was observed Nov. 5-11, is “a time where we are called to pray for and encourage vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life.”

“As we begin this week of prayer for vocations, we all together can continually pray that, hopefully, more vocations will be brought about in our time,” he continued, then referred to the example of St. Paul and his true zeal for bringing Christ to others and the example from all the saints.

“Sure, there have been sinners throughout history, but we are reminded that the Lord has promised that he will always be with his Church,” he said.

Michael Gentile was born in 1976 in Bronx, N.Y., and is one of eight children of Barbara and Michael Gentile Sr. He attended Holy Rosary School and Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Marist College in New York. Among other jobs following graduation, he worked for the airline industry in North Carolina and then, when he moved to New Jersey, as a chauffeur for Verizon Communications.

When he ultimately realized he had a vocation to the priesthood, he decided to prepare as a seminarian for the Diocese of Trenton. In 2011, he enrolled in Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University, South Orange, where he earned a master of divinity degree. Bishop O’Connell ordained him a priest June 3, 2017, in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, and his parish assignments have included serving as parochial vicar of St. Dominic Parish, Brick, and St. Thomas More Parish, Manalapan.

As a first-time pastor, Father Gentile said he believes his seminary formation and past experiences as a parochial vicar have helped him to get a sense of what the faithful are yearning for in their lives.

“The seminary can only prepare you so much, and my experience at Immaculate Conception Seminary certainly prepared me well,” he said. “I am forever grateful to the formation faculty and professors who have helped me be the priest I am today,” he said, then emphasized that the assignments of a newly ordained priest enhance priestly formation.

Father Gentile expressed appreciation to Bishop O’Connell for having the “confidence in me to shepherd the people of Resurrection Parish and, with the help of God, I will hopefully lead them closer to him.”

Happy Pastor, Happy Parishioners

Father Gentile smiled as he reflected on the months since he arrived at Resurrection Parish, saying that he has found it “to be a community that is very close knit.”

“They care very much about one another and the Church. They have been very welcoming to me, and I feel comfortable here, thanks to such wonderful hospitality of the people,” he said. He noted that the parish, which in 2008 was formed from the merger of the former Holy Name Parish, Delran, and the former St. Casimir Parish, Riverside, currently has about 1,500 registered families and offers a number of ministries, including bereavement, Holy Name Society, Perpetual Adoration, Secular Franciscans and a St. Vincent de Paul conference.

Looking Ahead

While he looks forward to the challenge of being a pastor, Father Gentile knows it’s something he can’t do alone.

“My goal is to continually seek help 'from above,'" he said, adding that he is grateful for the parish’s Adoration Chapel, where he enjoys spending time in prayer.

“It helps me to constantly remember that God is in control, and it uplifts me to see people coming in and out of the Chapel at all hours of the day and night. It shows that they, too, are relying on God, that they, too, know that they cannot do it, whatever it is, alone,” he said.

Now in her 34th year working in the parish office, Mariana Pirri said she is “especially happy” to work with Father Gentile, her sixth pastor.

“He brings a level of excitement to the rectory and parish,” she said. “Watching him serve the parishioners with sincere dedication and caring is heartwarming.”

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