Newly Ordained Priest to celebrate Thursday Morning’s Mass

Fr. Jerome Guld, a newly ordained priest for the Diocese of Trenton, will visit and celebrate tomorrow morning's regular 9 AM mass. Father had visited our school many times as a diocesan seminarian and after mass will visit with as many classes as his schedule permits. He will be accompanied by another familiar face to our school students, Seminarian Richard Osborn, who will also visit with our students.


Priesthood Vocation Poster

Fr Manning 2 5-7-14Well, I had never seen an interactive vocation poster before until now. You step behind this 5 foot tall poster and substitute your face for the priest's face. Spiritual imagination plays an important role in the development of morals, leadership and spiritual maturity. In order to think about priesthood, a young man must imagine himself as a priest and this is meant to help stimulate young imaginations for vocations.

Someone must take a screenshot or photo of the poster so the "priest" can see himself.

I haven't road tested the poster yet…stay tuned!

World Day of Prayer for Vocations – A Message from Bishop O’Connell



 We read these words in the Gospel of St. John: “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. I have appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you (John 15:16).”  That is a profound thought for anyone considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life in the Catholic Church today.  It is God who chooses us for his purposes.  As a seminarian many years ago I remember reading in Thomas Merton’s great book No Man is an Island, that “for each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God's will: to be what God wants us to be.”  He wrote: “Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice “out there” calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice “in here” calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.”


Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once wrote:  “Each of you has a personal vocation which God has given you for your own joy and sanctity. When a person is conquered by the fire of His gaze, no sacrifice seems too great to follow Him and give Him the best of ourselves. This is what the saints have always done, spreading the light of the Lord … and transforming the world into a welcoming home for everyone.”


On Sunday, May 11, the Catholic Church will celebrate the annual “World Day of Prayer for Vocations.”  Pope Francis reminds us: “No vocation is born of itself or lives for itself. A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people, in the experience of fraternal love.”  The theme of this year’s celebration is “Vocations: Witness to the Truth.”  That “witness” is the responsibility of every Catholic, every Christian responding to the Lord Jesus Christ who proclaims “I am the Truth” but it is a special obligation for those who are considering Christ’s call to “produce fruit that will last” in the priesthood or religious life.


Here in the Diocese of Trenton, I promote religious vocations every chance I get and everywhere I go.  There has not been one parish I have visited in four years where some young man has not said, “I have thought about or am thinking about the priesthood.”  Young women are not as enthusiastic about religious life as religious sisters but I think that is only because they have not had the benefit so many of us have had growing up with religious sisters so visible all around us.  Potential vocations to both the priesthood and religious life ARE THERE but, as so many young people have said to me, “No one ever asked me before.”  Well, the time has come for all of us — priests, sisters, brothers, moms and dads, teachers, peers — to be “vocation directors” and to ask our young people about devoting their lives to God through vocations in the Church.  The challenges are many, no doubt, but, in the end, the benefits are “out of this world!”


As a Diocese, then, please join me in praying for vocations to the priesthood and religious life on May 11, “Mother’s Day.”  Perhaps, we could place this intention in the hands of Our Blessed Mother, Mary, Queen of the Assumption, patron of our Diocese, that like her, young people might respond to God’s call to  “produce fruit that will last.”


                                                                                                Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M.

                                                                                                Bishop of Trenton


(Please share this message with anyone you think might be discerning a vocation.)      

Trenton Diocesan Seminarian Visits Holy Cross School Today


Sedes Sapientiae, Mary the "Seat of Wisdom" in the chapel gathering space at St. Mary's Seminary

Today we will be welcoming Seminarian Nicolas Petrillo to Holy Cross Parish and School. Seminarian Petrillo is studying for the priesthood for our Diocese and is attending my alma mater St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore (woo hoo!).

He will visit several classes in our school to explain just what exactly a seminarian does (I'm waiting to hear that too!) and answer any questions they may have about priesthood.


I can predict two of them: 1) Can priests be married or why not? 2) Can women be priests and why not? I am sure there will be many others…I encouraged the second graders to ask hard questions!

Pray for Nicholas and all our seminarians that they be fortified by the Holy Spirit and encouraged by family, friends and the faithful of the Diocese of Trenton to follow the path to priesthood if God calls them there with courage, persistence and prayer.


Don’t Blend In, Stand Out…for Christ!

Today's Scripture reading warning that "gold and silver corrodes" reminds us that sometimes what we strive after most, is not what we really need and it will not really give peace. It struck me especially because I had once again seen the story of Grant Desme, a promising young minor leaguer for the Oakland A's who hung up his cleats to enter the Norbertine Monastery in California.  One thing in particular he said: I had everything I wanted and it wasn't enough. His search led to a journey to test whether he had a priestly vocation with the Norbertine Fathers. Still almost 8 years away from ordination (as far as I could tell), his journey continues with constant prayer, study and work.

Minor Leagues


Major Leagues

Video Produced by the Norbertines



The Norbertine Fathers, Brothers and Sisters are a very traditional order – the kind of religious life which seems to be entering a new Springtime in the United States. The abbey is moving, both to leave a volcanic fault line, and to accomodate new students and the growth of their community.

Religious orders of women renewing the traditional charisms and way of life are also experiencing similar growth in the United States. We've talked about the Nashville Dominicans before, but a visit to their website is always inspirational. Their formation house is also bursting at the seams with enthusiastic young women in love with Christ.

Some of the Newest Dominicans in Nashville



Don't forget about our own Diocesan Website for Priestly Vocations

Priestly Vocations Diocese of Trenton

Priestly Vocations

It was exciting to see our bishop encourage vocations during his Confirmation visit a few days ago. Not only did he ask each of the boys serving the Confirmation ceremony about priesthood, but distributed a prayer card from the Office of Vocations and a Miraculous Medal from his recent trip to Lourdes.




Diocesan Vocations Web Page Link

Bishop O'Connell is inviting men who are discerning a call to the priesthood to his residence in Princeton for a day of prayer and reflection.

June 16th – 11 AM        Young men of high school age

June 23rd – 11 AM        Men between the ages of 18 – 40


Warm Response to Bishop’s Annual Appeal Video

Bishop O'Connell and Catholic Elementary School Students


Thank you for your warm response to the Bishop O'Connell's appeal to us through the video shown at all the masses today. In case you missed the message you can click here, or watch on the Bishop's Annual Appeal website.

Bishop's Annual Appeal 2011 from Trenton Diocese on Vimeo.


Good Shepherd Sunday, World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Witness Awakens Vocations

message of Pope Benedict XVI on World Day of Prayer for Vocations

fruitfulness of our efforts to promote vocations depends primarily on God’s
free action, yet, as pastoral experience confirms, it is also helped by the
quality and depth of the personal and communal witness of those who have
already answered the Lord’s call to the ministerial priesthood and to the
consecrated life, for their witness is then able to awaken in others a desire
to respond generously to Christ’s call

The pope enumerated three characteristics of the
witness of a priest:

Friendship with Christ

Complete gift of self to

A man of communion with
God, the Church, the people.


 the Lord
makes use of the witness of priests who are faithful to their mission in order
to awaken new priestly and religious vocations for the service of the People of

New Webpage to Promote Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life in US

This coming Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday and also World Day of Prayer for Vocations. To commemorate this day, the USCCB will launce a new website designed to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Check it out on Sunday when it goes live and spread the link!

Remember to encourage and pray for vocations.

Vocations Webpage of the USCCB

USCCB's Webpage for Priestly and Religious Vocations

On a similar note, check out some of the characteristics of the Priestly Ordination Class 0f 2010 measured by a survey completed by the ordinandi (soon to be ordained).

Survey of Priestly Ordination Class of 2010