Fr. John Barbella
- (908) 454-0112, ext. 407
Fr. John Barbella Biography
Although I was born in Queens, New York, my family moved to Sayreville before I was a year old. My mom still lives in the house we moved to when I was 5, in the Parlin section of Sayreville. I have family in South Amboy as well. They and my mom all belong to St. Mary’s parish in South Amboy.
I have two younger sisters – Natalie and Christine – both of whom are married with grown (or almost grown) children. Since one lives in Hillsborough and the other in Rumson, it’s easy for us to get together frequently. My family is very close, and big gatherings with aunts and uncles and cousins are the norm. After God, my family is the biggest source of strength and stability in my life.
Most of my education happened in the Sayreville public school system, following a couple of years in Catholic school. I got a degree in history from Montclair State College (before it became a university) and completed my seminary studies at Mount Saint Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland. I was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Edward Hughes on May 30th, 1987 and offered my first Holy Mass in St. Mary’s Church in South Amboy the following day.
My first priestly assignment was right down the road at St. Mary’s in Alpha, followed by terms as an assistant at Our Lady of Mt. Virgin in Middlesex and St. Matthias in Somerset. I then served as pastor of St. Magdalen’s Church in Flemington for several years, and in St. Jude’s Church in Blairstown for a couple of months. After serving three years as associate pastor of St. Bernard’s Church in Bridgewater, I became pastor of both Most Holy Rosary and Holy Spirit Churches in Perth Amboy. I enjoyed four wonderful years in that assignment before coming to St. Philip and St. James in Phillipsburg, NJ. I have been pastor of Ss. Philip and James since June 2009, and it has become my favorite assignment.
Believing that teaching the Faith is one of my most important priestly duties, I have taught school and CCD classes in all of my priestly assignments. While studying history in Montclair State College, I took almost all of the teacher certification classes since I thought they might come in handy someday. In Phillipsburg, I teach both 8th and 4th grade religion in our school every week, as well as 5th grade CCD. I find great joy in this work, and am convinced of the importance of our Catholic Schools.
My hobbies include trains – in which I have been interested my whole life. This hobby has led me to places like Altoona, PA and North Platte, NE – places with heavy freight train traffic that I love to watch and photograph. I also enjoy working on my own model railroad, which I built several years ago. I love going to the movies – and eating more pop – corn then I should. The sports is the first – and sometimes the only –section of the paper I read. Almost my whole family has a love affair with baseball, and we often get together to enjoy the games. While a Yankee fan, I have come to enjoy minor league baseball a great deal in recent years and regularly frequent Trenton Thunder and Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs games.
The priesthood, of course, is the greatest gift God has ever given me. There are so many parts of being a priest that I enjoy – especially celebrating the sacraments and getting to know and serve different people. I try to say a prayerful Mass that moves along with a short, ‘to the point’ homily.
I believe that my most important job as a priest is to help my people get to Heaven – while being sure to get there myself. I ask my parishioners to help me in this regard by praying for me every day. Specifically, I ask each of them to kindly pray one Hail Mary for me daily. Pray that I will be the kind of priest God wants me to be for this parish – and be assured of my daily prayers for each of you.
Fr. Patrick Boyle, O.F.M.
Fr. Patrick Boyle, O.F.M. Biography
My joy in being a 'weekend assistant' at St. Philip & St. James is rooted in the fact that I was born and raised in Phillipsburg. My faith journey began with my Baptism here in our parish church, and continued with my First Holy Communion and Confirmation, all the while being fostered through my grammar and high school education under the dedicated care of the Sisters of Mercy. Following my graduation from the former Phillipsburg Catholic High School, I entered the Franciscan community and began studies at Immaculate Conception College of Philosophy in Troy, New York, receiving my B.A. Degree in Philosophy & Theology, with a second major in Art. Following my novitiate year and the profession of my temporary vows with the Franciscan Order, I became a year round student for the next four years. I studied for my Masters of Divinity Degree at St. John's Seminary in the Boston Archdiocese during the fall and winter semesters, while working on my MFA at Boston University during the spring and summer semesters. I made my Solemn Profession of Vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience with the Franciscan Order in September of 1979, was ordained a deacon in January 1980, and in October of 1980 was ordained a priest.
Over my thirty eight years of priesthood I have served the Church and the Franciscan Order as an Associate Pastor, as a Pastoral Care Chaplain, and as Pastor for two parishes in New York City and Brooklyn. In May of 2016 I was re - elected by my brother Franciscans as the Vicar Provincial for our Province (a position which I held for twelve years once before) and presently reside and work at our Provincial Curia in the SoHo area of New York City. Since our Curia is not attached to one of our parish churches, it allows me the freedom to assist on weekends in Phillipsburg. At the invitation of Fr. John, I am more than grateful to "come home" each weekend to pray and celebrate with the community that is so dear to my heart.
Fr. Gilbert Starcher
- (908) 454-0112
Fr. Gilbert Starcher Biography
I’m Fr. Gilbert Starcher. Originally from this area of New Jersey, I was born in Hackettstown, raised in Glen Gardner, and was a parishioner of St. Ann in Hampton. I was ordained a priest for our diocese on Aug. 22, 2020 at the Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Asbury.
I had been thinking about the priesthood while still quite young. I remember feeling that I was called to the priesthood even while preparing for First Holy Communion. I was disappointed that ordination was still quite a way off in the future, but felt comforted that First Penance and First Communion were definitely steps in the right direction.
At 9 years old, I became an altar server at St. Ann, Hampton. I continued to serve there through collage and even during my time in the seminary. Service at Mass was a great blessing to me and definitely allowed me to discern the priesthood more deeply. I also discerned my calling during my family’s weekly Holy Hour in Eucharistic Adoration. Annually seminarians would come to visit the parish, with the vocation director, to share their stories, also benefitting my discernment.
I am from a homeschooled family and have 4 sisters and 2 brothers. Growing up prayer throughout the day was an important part of family life. Following high school, I attended Ave Maria University, where I earned a B.A. in Philosophy. After college I was accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Metuchen and I attended Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange, NJ earning a M.Div. in Pastoral Ministry and a M.A. in Theology. Throughout my journey to the priesthood, I have been greatly blessed, in various parish assignments, hospital assignments, and other assignments, such as a summer spent in Bolivia learning Spanish, where I was able to discover God’s love manifest in His will for my life.
Mi nombre es el Padre Gilbert Starcher. Soy originario de esta área de Nueva Jersey, nací en Hackettstown, crecí en Glen Gardner y fui feligrés de la parroquia de Santa Ana en Hampton. Fui ordenado sacerdote el 22 de agosto de este año en el Santuario del Blue Army de Nuestra Señora de Fátima en Asbury.
Desde que era muy joven contemplaba en ser sacerdote. Recuerdo sentirme llamado al sacerdocio incluso mientras me preparaba para mi Primera Comunión. La idea de que la ordenación aún estaba bastante lejos en el futuro me desanimó, pero al confesarme por primera vez y recibir mi Primera Comunión sentía que iba en el buen camino.
A los 9 años, era monaguillo en mi parroquia de Santa Ana en Hampton. Continué sirviendo durante mis años universitarios e incluso durante mi tiempo en el seminario. Sirviendo la Misa fue una gran bendición y definitivamente me permitió discernir el sacerdocio más profundamente. Durante la semana, mi familia asistía a la Adoración Eucarística, lo que también me ayudó a discernir la voluntad de Dios. Cada año, los seminaristas visitaban mi parroquia, junto con el director de vocaciones, y compartían sus experiencias personales, lo cual fue un gran beneficio para mi discernimiento.
Fui educado en casa, “Homeschool,” junto con mis cuatro hermanas y dos hermanos. La oración fue fundamental durante el día y en la vida familiar. Después que termine la secundaria, fui a la Universidad Ave Maria en la Florida, donde obtuve una licenciatura en Filosofía. Después de la universidad, fui aceptado como seminarista para la Diócesis de Metuchen y asistí al Seminario de la Inmaculada Concepción en South Orange, aquí en New Jersey, y obtuve una Maestría en Divinidad en Ministerio Pastoral y una Maestría en Teología. A lo largo de mi camino hacia el sacerdocio, he sido muy bendecido en varios trabajos parroquiales y hospitalarios, y otros lugares a los que me han enviado, como el verano que pasé en Bolivia aprendiendo español, donde pude descubrir el amor de Dios manifestado en Su voluntad para mi vida.
Mr. Luis DeJesus
Seminarian in residence
- (908) 454-0112
Mr. Luis DeJesus Biography
Originally, I am from Perth Amboy, New Jersey where I was raised and educated for most of my years as a youth. I then attended Saint Joseph High School in Metuchen, NJ and graduated in May of 2016. After high school graduation, I entered the College Seminary at Saint Andrew’s Hall at Seton Hall University.
After a few years of discernment, however, I decided to take some time away from the College Seminary. I still continued my studies at Seton Hall and later graduated in May of 2020 with a B.A. in Philosophical Theology and a B.A. in Psychology.
Before graduating, I prayed much to know my vocation and what exactly would be the next step in life. It then became quite clear to me that after college, God indeed was calling me to resume seminary studies once more.
Currently, I am in formation at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall, and I just completed my first year of formation. I look forward to three more years of study and a lifetime of priestly ministry in God’s Holy Church.
Dcn. Enock Berluche, Sr.
Dcn. Enock Berluche, Sr. Biography
Deacon Enock Berluche Sr. and his wife Ines have been parishioners at Saint Philip and St James since 1981. He was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on June 13 of 1998 by Bishop Vincent De Paul Breen. He received a Theology certificate in Diaconal Ministry and a Master of Arts degree in Theology from the college of St Elizabeth. He attended Brooklyn College and earned a Bachelor degree of Science in Chemistry at Long Island University. He is retired from ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company as a Senior Chemist after 30 years of service doing research in chemistry.
In the parish he serves as the spiritual director for the Legion of Mary, moderator for the charismatic prayer group and coordinator of the Eucharistic adoration and whatever else his Pastor calls him to do. He served as a representative of The Missionary Childhood Association (MCA) and the Society for the Propagation of the Faith (SPOF), as well as a member of the council on Mission Education. He is co-coordinator of African-American, Black and Caribbean Apostolate. He preaches Mission Appeal for Franciscans in Action and Source de Vie organizations for Haiti Missions. He gives spiritual direction and marriage counseling.
Dcn. Larry Bevilacqua
Dcn. Larry Bevilacqua Biography
I have been a member of St Philip & St James since 1977. My wife Carol and I exchanged wedding vows here at SPSJ in April 1978. My education includes a Business Management Degree. I was ordained a Permanent Deacon by Bishop Paul Bootkoski, June 9, 2012 after attaining a Theology Certificate in Diaconal Ministry from St Elizabeth College. After 38 years of service, I have retired from Ingersoll Rand/Flowserve Corporation as Regional Pattern Storage Manager of the east coast. My parish activities include: coordinator of Baptismal Prep class, facilitator of RCIA formation, chairperson of the usher ministry, Eucharistic Adoration Adorer, Catholic Charities volunteer and present member, past deputy grand knight and past faithful navigator of the Knights of Columbus Warren 474.
Dcn. Rob Fisher
Dcn. Rob Fisher Biography
Deacon Rob has a strong background in speech, special education, language, and reading. He holds New Jersey and Pennsylvania certificates for Teacher of the Handicapped, Elementary Education, Speech- Language Specialist, Reading Specialist, Supervisor and Principal.
Deacon Rob has Masters Degrees in Literacy, Speech Pathology, and Theology. He has an earned doctorate in Literacy Education from Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, and the Certificate of Clinical Competency (CCC) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
During Deacon Rob’s 35 years in education, he has served as both a speech-language specialist, and a regular education Grade Four classroom teacher. He has extensive experience working with autistic and special needs populations and is certified in the Orton-Gillingham reading method.
In addition to teaching 4th grade at SPSJ, Deacon Rob has a private practice in Speech-Language Pathology.
He was ordained in May 2017 as a deacon in the Diocese of Metuchen, and serves at the English and Spanish Masses at St. Philip and St James Church under Fr. John Barbella.
His interests include outdoor activities, traveling, entertaining reading, and art. Deacon Rob currently advises the Italian Club at SPSJ School.
Dcn. John Flynn
Dcn. John Flynn Biography
Deacon Flynn has served our parish for four decades. He was born May 20th 1937 to the late Blanche Cantrel and Francis T. Flynn Sr. He and his wife Florence have three sons, Edward, Thomas, and Brian. He attended SPSJ elementary and high schools, and Rutgers University Labor Relations Institute. He also studied at Leads and Northrup Pyrometer Technical School, North Wales, PA. From 1960 through 1983 he worked as a pyrometer technician for Ingersoll Rand Company and then until 2002 he was a loan officer at IRCO Community Federal Credit Union.
Deacon Flynn received his diaconal training in the Diocese of Trenton and was ordained by Bishop George W. Ahr on May 14th, 1977. While assigned to SPSJ Deacon John served as president of the Phillipsburg area Council of Churches, as well as the Warren County jail chaplaincy council. Before his retirement he served as our RCIA coordinator, assisted with annulment petitions, and ministered to the elderly. He now spends much of his time with his lovely wife, seven grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
|Bill Casey||Business Manager||(908) 454-0112|
|Mike Clark||Cemetery Superintendent|
|Escarlen Duran||Confirmation Coordinator||(908) 454-0112|
|Nancy Ensley||Parish Secretary|
|Donna Kucinski||School Principal||(908) 859-1244|
|Paul Kucinski||Music Director|
|JoAnn Scott||Parish Catechetical Leader||(908) 859-1244, opt. 9|