Four men who have been called by the Lord to follow in his footsteps will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., during a 10 a.m. Mass June 2 in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. The priest candidates, all of whom are currently ordained transitional deacons, are: Rev. Mr. Christopher Dayton, Rev. Mr. Michael G. DeSaye, Rev. Brother Nicholas Dolan and Rev. Mr. James R. Smith.
Below are brief profiles on the candidates. Full articles featuring their vocation stories, as well as coverage from their ordination day, will be published in The Monitor’s special Priest Ordination keepsake booklet June 14.
Rev. Mr. Christopher Dayton
Rev. Mr. Christopher Dayton, 30, was born Aug. 27, 1987, in Long Branch. He is a 2006 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, and a 2010 graduate of Christendom College, Fort Royal, Va., where he received degrees in political science and economics.
He prepared for the priesthood in St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore, from where he graduated May 17 with bachelor of sacred theology and master of divinity degrees.
Rev. Mr. Michael G. DeSaye
Rev. Mr. Michael G. DeSaye, 34, was born July 29, 1983, in Newton. He is a 1997 graduate of Holy Family School, Lakewood; a 2001 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, and a 2005 graduate of Ithaca College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music and piano.
Recognizing a desire to serve the Church, Deacon DeSaye entered St. Mary Abbey, Morristown, and became a Benedictine brother, completing his novitiate and professing simple vows. In 2016, he spent a summer as a case worker at the Mount Carmel Guild food pantry in Trenton.
As a seminarian for the Diocese of Trenton, his formal education includes earning a pre-theology certificate from Theological College on the campus of The Catholic University of America, Washington, in 2015, and matriculating in Mount St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., where he was awarded a master of divinity degree on May 4.
Rev. Brother Nicholas Dolan
Rev. Brother Nicholas Dolan, 25, was born June 28, 1992, in Brick. He attended Allenwood Elementary School, Allenwood; New School of Monmouth County, Holmdel; Wall Intermediate School, Wall Township, and Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft.
Rev. Brother Dolan went on to attend Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy in 2014. His preparation for the priesthood included spending a year in St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore, from 2014 to 2015, and Mt. St. Mary University and Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., from where he was awarded a master of divinity degree on May 4.
For Brother Dolan, the day-to-day life of a priest may look different for him than his fellow transitional deacons. Brother Dolan is part of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri that’s located on the property of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Red Bank, his home parish. As oratorians, the priests and brothers live, pray and serve the people of God together.
Rev. Mr. James R. Smith
Rev. Mr. James R. Smith, 38, was born Sept. 2, 1979, in Trenton. He attended Parkway Elementary School, Trenton; Incarnation School, Ewing, from where he graduated in 1993, and Ewing High School, Ewing, from where he graduated in 1997.
For more than 10 years following his high school graduation, Rev. Mr. Smith worked in various capacities – including as a musician – while pursuing liberal arts studies at Mercer County Community College, West Windsor.
Rev. Mr. Smith studied for the priesthood in St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore, from where he was awarded bachelor of sacred theology and master of divinity degrees on May 17.