TRENTON, NJ – For the first time in more than a decade, the men who are becoming priests this year have all grown up within the schools and parishes of the Diocese of Trenton.  All four are Catholic school alumni – three of them having graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft.  

Having just served a year as transitional deacons, the four men will be ordained by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., June 2 in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, beginning at 10 a.m.   They will serve their first Masses in the parishes where they have been assigned as parochial vicars (assistant pastors) and will officially begin their priestly ministry July 1.

The ordination will be shown via live video stream on and an archive of the video stream will be available shortly after the end of the Mass.

The Ordination Class of 2018 follows:

Deacon Christopher Dayton, 30, was born in Long Branch, the eldest of eight children of Chip and Melissa Dayton. The family belongs to St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish, Spring Lake.  He is a 2006 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy, 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, graduating May 17 with bachelor of sacred theology and master of divinity degrees.  His first priestly assignment will be in St. Rose Parish, Belmar, where he will as parochial vicar.


Deacon Michael G. DeSaye, 34, was born in Newton, the eldest of four children of Gregory and Deborah DeSaye. His home parish is St. Benedict in Holmdel. He is a 1997 graduate of Holy Family School, Lakewood; a 2001 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy 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 first entered St. Mary Abbey, Morristown, later becoming a seminarian for the Diocese of Trenton. He holds a pre-theology certificate from Theological College (connected with The Catholic University of America in Washington) a master of divinity degree from Mount St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md.  He will serve as parochial vicar in St. Joan of Arc Parish, Marlton.


Deacon James R. Smith, 38, was born in Trenton, one of four children on Robert J. Smith, Jr., and Deborah M. Smith. His home parish is Our Lady of Good Counsel, West Trenton. He attended Parkway Elementary School, Trenton, and Incarnation School, Ewing, later going on to Ewing High School, from where he graduated in 1997. For more than 10 years following his high school graduation, Deacon Smith worked in various capacities – including as a musician – while pursuing liberal arts studies at Mercer County Community College, West Windsor. Deacon Smith earned a bachelor of sacred theology and master of divinity degrees from St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore.  He will begin his priesthood as parochial vicar in St. Aloysius Parish, Jackson.


Rev. Brother Nicholas Dolan, 25, was born in Brick, one of four sons of Robert and Maria Dolan. He attended Allenwood Elementary School, Allenwood; New School of Monmouth County, Holmdel; Wall Intermediate School, Wall Township, and Christian Brothers Academy. 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 Mount St. Mary University and Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., recently earning a master of divinity degree. Rev. Brother Dolan is part of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri (located in his home parish of St. Anthony of Padua, Red Bank) a religious group of priests and brothers who live, pray and serve together. Brother Nick will remain in the Oratory, and will serve his first priestly assignment as parochial vicar in St. Anthony Parish.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...