As new pastor, Father Smith seeks to carry on Christ’s work in Marlton parish

July 3, 2024 at 12:27 p.m.
Father James Smith greets parishioners following the June 30 Mass during which he was installed as pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Marlton. Mike Ehrmann photo
Father James Smith greets parishioners following the June 30 Mass during which he was installed as pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Marlton. Mike Ehrmann photo

By MARY STADNYK
Associate Editor

Updated July 3, 2024

Parishioners, brother priests and family members gathered June 30 to witness Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., install Father James Smith as the pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Marlton.

“It is my sincere hope that we all may joyfully embrace this new chapter of St. Isaac’s family life as we continue to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ here in our parish,” Father Smith said to the congregation gathered for his June 30 Mass of Installation that was celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.

PHOTO GALLERY: Father Smith installed as pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Parish

“May the communion we share today and every day unite us as brothers and sisters in Christ, sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.”

Father Smith was installed as the second pastor of the Marlton parish which was founded in 1996. He succeeds founding pastor Father Phillip C. Pfleger, who served for 27 years until his retirement last year.

At the end of Mass, parishioners gathered at the back of the church for the unveiling of a new statue of St. Isaac Jogues which was blessed by Bishop O’Connell. A reception then followed in the parish hall.

Of the statue, Father Smith said that one of the last special orders that Father Pfleger made for the parish before he retired was a statue of St. Isaac Jogues, who was a Jesuit missionary priest who was sent from his home country of France in 1636 to minister to the Huron natives in North America (now Canada).

Prior to the unveiling of the new statue, all the parish had was a poster board image of the saint. The new statue is solid wood and was hand-carved and painted in Italy. The new statue became one of his first fundraising campaigns in the parish, Father Smith said, noting that he was elated when one parishioner, Joe Ritzel, offered to fund the entire cost in memory of his loved ones, which included the wooden pedestal, painting of the surrounding walls, and installation of new lighting to highlight the statue. Flanking the statue are two votive candle stands to aid in prayerful devotion to the parish patron.

Father Smith said that since Bishop O’Connell was going to be present for the Mass of Installation, “I felt it fitting to have him bless the statue for public veneration in our church. Not only have the people of St. Isaac’s witnessed the installation of their new pastor, they have also witnessed the dedication of the new statue of St. Isaac, their patron saint, whose name in Hebrew means “laughter,” apropos for the joyful celebration in Marlton, New Jersey.”

About Father James Smith

James Smith, one of four children born to Debbie and Robert Smith Sr., attended Trenton’s Parkway Elementary School, then graduated in 1993 from Incarnation Parish School. After graduating from Ewing High School in 1997, he worked in a number of jobs for more than 10 years including as a jeweler and a bassist who produced and performed music with area bands. He also pursued liberal arts studies in Mercer County Community College, West Windsor

Though attending Mass regularly was not a priority during his work years, he experienced a resurgence of faith when dealing with a serious medical challenge in 2008 from which he went on to recover. He began to attend daily Mass as well as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Rosary and joining the pro-life group and Knights of Columbus council in his home parish, Our Lady of Good Counsel, West Trenton.

In 2012, Father Smith enrolled in St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in humanities and philosophy in 2014 and then sacred theology baccalaureate and master of divinity degrees in May 2018.

While in seminary, Father Smith served summer assignments in his home parish as well as St. Barnabas Parish, Bayville, and the diocesan Chancery where he assisted with annulment cases. He was also an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion in (the now former) St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center, Lawrenceville, an experience he regarded as a “true ministry of presence” to visit the sick and bring them the Eucharist, and he served as a transitional deacon in Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton.

Following his June 2, 2018 ordination in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, by Bishop O’Connell, Father Smith as served as parochial vicar of St. Aloysius Parish, Jackson, until he was named administrator of St. Isaac Jogues Parish last year.

Sharing Perspectives

The first-time pastor extended appreciation to “all those who assisted me along the way.” He acknowledged his family “for their steady prayers, guidance and encouragement; Bishop O’Connell, whose support throughout my seminary formation and priesthood has inspired me by his own example “ministrare non ministrari” (“to serve and not to be served”); my brother priests; our deacons and all the parishioners I have ministered to along the way.”

In the past year, Father Smith said he has found the people of St. Isaac Jogues Parish to be “some of the most faith-filled and devoted people I have encountered.”

“Thank you for your faith, for our warm reception and the love you have shared with me,” Father Smith said. “It is my sincere hope that our love continues to grow and bear fruit thirty-, sixty- and a hundredfold as we seek to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ here at the Church of St. Isaac Jogues.”

Whether they were staff members, family members or former or current parishioners, all were happy to witness the installation of a first-time pastor.

Nancy Jamanow, parish trustee in St. Isaac Jogues, commented on how Father Smith “has embraced the parishioners” and how he strives to engage in all ministries.

“We look forward to moving forward with Father Jim,” who shows a deep regard for the “spiritual well being of parishioners.”

Elizabeth Zimak, the parish’s communications coordinator and leader of the young adult ministry, said she finds “Father Jim to be a great guy and I’m blessed to have him as my boss and as a pastor.

“He’s inspired me in my faith,” said Zimak, who joined the staff in October.

Father Smith’s parents as well as his uncle, Richard W. Smith, were beyond proud to see their son and nephew installed as pastor.

“Today has truly been a blessing,” Debbie Smith said. “You can see how God is leading Jim’s footsteps and taking Jim to where he wants Jim to serve him and his people.”


Related Stories

Updated July 3, 2024

Parishioners, brother priests and family members gathered June 30 to witness Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., install Father James Smith as the pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Marlton.

“It is my sincere hope that we all may joyfully embrace this new chapter of St. Isaac’s family life as we continue to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ here in our parish,” Father Smith said to the congregation gathered for his June 30 Mass of Installation that was celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.

PHOTO GALLERY: Father Smith installed as pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Parish

“May the communion we share today and every day unite us as brothers and sisters in Christ, sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.”

Father Smith was installed as the second pastor of the Marlton parish which was founded in 1996. He succeeds founding pastor Father Phillip C. Pfleger, who served for 27 years until his retirement last year.

At the end of Mass, parishioners gathered at the back of the church for the unveiling of a new statue of St. Isaac Jogues which was blessed by Bishop O’Connell. A reception then followed in the parish hall.

Of the statue, Father Smith said that one of the last special orders that Father Pfleger made for the parish before he retired was a statue of St. Isaac Jogues, who was a Jesuit missionary priest who was sent from his home country of France in 1636 to minister to the Huron natives in North America (now Canada).

Prior to the unveiling of the new statue, all the parish had was a poster board image of the saint. The new statue is solid wood and was hand-carved and painted in Italy. The new statue became one of his first fundraising campaigns in the parish, Father Smith said, noting that he was elated when one parishioner, Joe Ritzel, offered to fund the entire cost in memory of his loved ones, which included the wooden pedestal, painting of the surrounding walls, and installation of new lighting to highlight the statue. Flanking the statue are two votive candle stands to aid in prayerful devotion to the parish patron.

Father Smith said that since Bishop O’Connell was going to be present for the Mass of Installation, “I felt it fitting to have him bless the statue for public veneration in our church. Not only have the people of St. Isaac’s witnessed the installation of their new pastor, they have also witnessed the dedication of the new statue of St. Isaac, their patron saint, whose name in Hebrew means “laughter,” apropos for the joyful celebration in Marlton, New Jersey.”

About Father James Smith

James Smith, one of four children born to Debbie and Robert Smith Sr., attended Trenton’s Parkway Elementary School, then graduated in 1993 from Incarnation Parish School. After graduating from Ewing High School in 1997, he worked in a number of jobs for more than 10 years including as a jeweler and a bassist who produced and performed music with area bands. He also pursued liberal arts studies in Mercer County Community College, West Windsor

Though attending Mass regularly was not a priority during his work years, he experienced a resurgence of faith when dealing with a serious medical challenge in 2008 from which he went on to recover. He began to attend daily Mass as well as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Rosary and joining the pro-life group and Knights of Columbus council in his home parish, Our Lady of Good Counsel, West Trenton.

In 2012, Father Smith enrolled in St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in humanities and philosophy in 2014 and then sacred theology baccalaureate and master of divinity degrees in May 2018.

While in seminary, Father Smith served summer assignments in his home parish as well as St. Barnabas Parish, Bayville, and the diocesan Chancery where he assisted with annulment cases. He was also an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion in (the now former) St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center, Lawrenceville, an experience he regarded as a “true ministry of presence” to visit the sick and bring them the Eucharist, and he served as a transitional deacon in Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton.

Following his June 2, 2018 ordination in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, by Bishop O’Connell, Father Smith as served as parochial vicar of St. Aloysius Parish, Jackson, until he was named administrator of St. Isaac Jogues Parish last year.

Sharing Perspectives

The first-time pastor extended appreciation to “all those who assisted me along the way.” He acknowledged his family “for their steady prayers, guidance and encouragement; Bishop O’Connell, whose support throughout my seminary formation and priesthood has inspired me by his own example “ministrare non ministrari” (“to serve and not to be served”); my brother priests; our deacons and all the parishioners I have ministered to along the way.”

In the past year, Father Smith said he has found the people of St. Isaac Jogues Parish to be “some of the most faith-filled and devoted people I have encountered.”

“Thank you for your faith, for our warm reception and the love you have shared with me,” Father Smith said. “It is my sincere hope that our love continues to grow and bear fruit thirty-, sixty- and a hundredfold as we seek to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ here at the Church of St. Isaac Jogues.”

Whether they were staff members, family members or former or current parishioners, all were happy to witness the installation of a first-time pastor.

Nancy Jamanow, parish trustee in St. Isaac Jogues, commented on how Father Smith “has embraced the parishioners” and how he strives to engage in all ministries.

“We look forward to moving forward with Father Jim,” who shows a deep regard for the “spiritual well being of parishioners.”

Elizabeth Zimak, the parish’s communications coordinator and leader of the young adult ministry, said she finds “Father Jim to be a great guy and I’m blessed to have him as my boss and as a pastor.

“He’s inspired me in my faith,” said Zimak, who joined the staff in October.

Father Smith’s parents as well as his uncle, Richard W. Smith, were beyond proud to see their son and nephew installed as pastor.

“Today has truly been a blessing,” Debbie Smith said. “You can see how God is leading Jim’s footsteps and taking Jim to where he wants Jim to serve him and his people.”

Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


Vatican, USCCB president condemn violence at Trump rally, offers prayers for victims, peace
The Vatican expressed its concern about ...

St. Luke Parish welcomes installation of new pastor
Parishioners and friends of Father Michael Kennedy were ...

Peregrinos en la recta final de la Peregrinación Eucarística Nacional ven a la Iglesia 'viva y hambrienta'
Cantando himnos y rezando el rosario, cientos de católicos...

In Local News as of July 12, 2024
The following parishes, schools and organizations in the Diocese of Trenton have announced these upcoming events:

Mission: Jersey gives teens an opportunity to help others
Almost two dozen teens and their youth ministers gathered July 10...


The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448
© 2024 Trenton Monitor, All Rights Reserved.