Ocean County native, Deacon Kevin Hrycenko, will reach a major milestone in his life’s journey when he is ordained to the Catholic priesthood for the Diocese of Trenton by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.

By Laura Cortes

Ordination to priesthood set for Kevin Hrycenko, native son of Diocese of Trenton

Ocean County native, Deacon Kevin Hrycenko, will reach a major milestone in his life’s journey when he is ordained to the Catholic priesthood for the Diocese of Trenton June 3 by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.

The Ordination Rite and Mass will take place in the parish church of St. Joseph, Toms River, where Deacon Hrycenko was baptized as an infant and where his family are long-time congregants. Set to begin at 10 a.m., the event will be livestreamed at youtube.com/trentondiocese.

Hrycenko was born in Brick in 1994, one of three children of Walter and Loretto Hrycenko. He graduated from St. Joseph School, Toms River, in 2008 and Donovan Catholic High School, also Toms River, in 2012. He went on to The Catholic University of America, Washington, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 2016.

Following college, Hrycenko entered Mount St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., in the Fall of 2017 to study for ministry in the Diocese of Trenton. In 2022, he was ordained a transitional deacon by Bishop O’Connell, the penultimate step in his formation for the priesthood.

Deacon Hrycenko completed his seminary studies in 2023, earning a Master of Divinity degree and Master of Arts in Theology degree with a concentration in Church History.

The priest candidate spent his diaconal year in St. Dominic Parish, Brick. He served summer assignments in the linked parishes St. James, Pennington; St. George, Titusville, and St. Alphonsus, Hopewell, in 2018; St. Mary of the Lakes, Medford, in 2019; Nativity, Fair Haven, in 2020, and St. Charles Borromeo, Cinnaminson, in 2021.

These assignments, Deacon Hrycenko said, have given him the opportunity to learn from many diocesan priests. “All of them encouraged me to ask questions about what happens at the parish, the daily life of a priest, or why they celebrate the liturgy a certain way,” he said.

Those priests and many others who minister in the Diocese will be present at the Ordination to concelebrate the Mass and offer their witness and support to their new brother. Following the Ordination rite, the new priest will be vested in the garments of his new office by Father Garry Koch, pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel.

Reflecting on his vocational journey, Deacon Hrycenko gratefully acknowledged his roots in a supportive family and parish.  He observed, “God calls us in the way that we will respond best. My journey may look different from yours, but the result is the same: Follow what God is calling you to do for your life.”

As he looks to his upcoming priestly ministry, Deacon Hrycenko stated, “My life as a priest has only one goal: to help people get into heaven.”


The Diocese of Trenton encompasses 97 parishes across Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties, who together serve a community of nearly 700,000 Catholics.

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