2 local men to be ordained — one a priest, the other a deacon — in coming days

The five men being ordained to the priesthood, from left, are Roberto Julio Moreno Andrión, Matthew Gonzalez, Ashton Ignacio Francisco Wong, David Hinojosa and Peter Jacob Volz. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Newark

One man with a local connection will be among five to be ordained priests in the Archdiocese of Newark Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m., at Newark’s Cathedral-Basilica of the Sacred Heart by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin.

Tobin will also ordain four transitional deacons — one of whom is from Belleville — during a separate ordination at the Cathedral on Sunday, May 22, at noon.

All are invited to attend both ordinations, which will give Archdiocese of Newark parishioners the chance to pray for the new priests and deacons before they are assigned to parishes in Bergen, Essex, Hudson or Union counties.

The ordinations will additionally be live streamed on the Archdiocese’s YouTube and Facebook pages as well as the Cathedral’s YouTube and Facebook pages for those who cannot make it in-person.

This year’s group of soon-to-be-priests come to the Archdiocese from all over the world, where they each led very different lives prior to the priesthood. Despite their contrasting backgrounds, the five men share one thing in common — their lives have been made whole by God.

  • David Hinojosa, 29, was working as a missionary in Houston when he realized his calling in life was not to get married and start a family of his own — it was to help other families strengthen their relationships with God. And after earning three degrees from Seton Hall University, he is eager to share the good news of Christ as a priest. Hinojosa will celebrate his first Mass at St. Peter Church in Belleville on May 29 at 11:30 a.m., where he currently serves as a transitional deacon. His home parish is Sacred Heart Church, Lyndhurst.
  • Roberto Julio Moreno Andrión37, was born and raised in Panama, where he worked as a physics teacher and researcher for many years before a friend reintroduced him to the church. Inspired to share God’s love, he entered the seminary in 2013 and earned M.A. and M.Div degrees from Seton Hall University. Andrión will celebrate his first Mass at St. Benedict Church in Newark on May 29 at 11 a.m.
  • Matthew Gonzalez, 28, first experienced the call to the priesthood as an 8-year-old. Gonzalez fully embraced his passion for the Gospel in high school while serving as a youth minister at St. John the Evangelist Church in Bergenfield. He entered the seminary in 2015 and now has three degrees from Seton Hall. Gonzalez will celebrate his first Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church in Bergenfield on May 29 at 3 p.m.
  • Peter Jacob Volz, 30, was working at a coffee shop while attending community college when he realized he felt as if his life had no direction. So, he turned to missionary work with the Neocatechumenal Way and, after entering the seminary in 2012, went on to earn three degrees from Seton Hall. Volz will celebrate his first Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Midland Park on May 29 at noon.
  • Ashton Ignacio Francisco Wong, 30, experienced much success and popularity as a star student athlete growing up in Guam — but he was never truly happy. It was only after turning to God upon entering the seminary in 2009 he found fulfillment, leading to a better relationship with his parents and an enlightened perspective on his life. Wong will celebrate his first Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church in Bergenfield on May 29 at 10:30 a.m.

The four men who will be ordained as transitional deacons — Bernardo Garcia, a parishioner at St. Peter’s Belleville, Robert Burkot, Frenel Phanord and JuHyun Andrew Lee — are current seminarians who will each spend the next year serving an archdiocesan parish by performing charitable works, proclaiming God’s Word, and assisting in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church. This will culminate in their own ordinations to the priesthood one year from now.


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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.