Bishop Joseph A. Galante will ordain two men to the priesthood this weekend.
Rev. Mr. Phillip Max Johnson, 59, and Rev. Mr. Jon Peter Thomas, 27, will be ordained in a 10:30 a.m. Mass at Church of the Incarnation, Mantua on Saturday, May 22.
Rev. Mr. Thomas entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia in August 2001, after graduating from Clearview Regional High School in Mullica Hill. His seminary studies also included The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
“I wanted to become part of Jesus’ work,” he said when asked what influenced his decision to enter the seminary. “The teachings of Jesus in the Gospels…and my personal relationship with him in prayer had the greatest influence on my decision.”
Rev. Mr. Johnson is a former Lutheran minister, and married with four grown children. Previously pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church (1988-2006) and Grace Lutheran Church (1986-88), both in Jersey City, he was received, along with his wife Janet, into the Catholic Church in 2006.
The Catholic Church accepts married men to the priesthood on a case-by-case basis, for reasons of pastoral need; Rev. Mr. Johnson’s ordination does not indicate a change of celibacy norms for Latin Rite priests.
Rev. Mr. Johnson completed the S.T.L. program this past spring at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Last year, he completed the requirements for ordination at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore.
He will be the second married, non-Catholic minister ordained a priest for the Diocese of Camden, following the 1984 ordination of Father George C. McCormick, since-deceased, a former Episcopalian priest.
Rev. Mr. Thomas will celebrate his first Mass Sunday, May 23, 2 p.m., at Church of the Incarnation. The following Sunday, May 30, Rev. Mr. Johnson will celebrate his first Mass at Church of the Incarnation at 11 a.m.