Parish Mission Statement
The Parish of St. Thomas More is a Roman Catholic family of faith, built on the inspiration of past generations, to serve the community by loving God and our neighbor. We strengthen faith, celebrate the sacraments, provide for the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, educate across the life span, heal the spiritually broken and respect the dignity of human life. We live the Gospel and seek Christ in all people.
St. Thomas More Parish Office
Hours: M-F : 8:30am - 4:30pm
Vincenza Magliano, Parish Administrator
Eileen Weber, Secretary
Phone: 732-446-6661 / Fax: 732-446-6507
Religious Education Office
William Staub, CRE
Liz Halstead, Secretary
Our Lady of Mercy Church
There is no parish office at this location.
All inquiries should be directed to St. Thomas More in Manalapan @ 732-446-6661)
Father Mark CranePastor
I was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 2005 after five years of preparation at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, and two years in the permanent diaconate program for the Diocese of Trenton.
Previously it had been my life long goal to forecast the weather, and so I took mostly math and science classes in high-school, and majored in meteorology at both Kean University (undergraduate) and Rutgers University (graduate). Upon graduating from Rutgers in 1982, I began my career as an Assistant Professor of Physics at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida. Desiring a cooler climate, I resigned from teaching in 1990 to take a position as a research scientist at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, NJ.
While in Princeton, I became actively involved in several ministries at St. Paul's parish. First I became a lector, then an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and a hospital visitor. For seven years I decorated the church for all the liturgical seasons. I began to value my ministries more than my career in meteorology. I began studying to become a permanent deacon but had several profound spiritual experiences that convinced me to resign from my career, sell my home, and enter the seminary to study for the priesthood in 2000.
After ordination I was assigned to St. Thomas More Parish as parochial vicar on June 17, 2005. I became administrator of St. Thomas More Parish on June 23, 2008 and pastor on September 1, 2009. The official installation ceremony occurred on November 22, 2009 and was one of the happiest days of my life.
God has been very good to me! I pray that He continues to give me the grace and wisdom to guide St. Thomas More Parish into the months and years to come and that He continues to bless our parish with the wonderful and talented volunteers who make so many good things happen.
Born in India to a traditional Christian family that claims its Christian root even to the first century, I entered the seminary in 1960 and graduated from Papal Seminary, Pune, in 1971. After 13 years as pastor in three different places I came to Toronto, Canada in 1985 for graduate studies in theology.
On returning to India in 1993 I was appointed the Rector of the Minor Seminary and Director of Formation for the Archdiocese of Tiruvalla. In 1997 I came to the U.S. on a temporary assignment as the pastor of St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Parish in the Diocese of Dallas and from there the Lord led me from one circumstance to another until I became a U.S. citizen and incardinated priest of the diocese of Trenton.
Some Highlights of Ministries:
- Pastor, in India & US
- Diocesan Director of Catholic Students League.
- Diocesan Consultor and Member of
- Rector of Seminary/ Diocesan Director of Formation.
- Editor, Diocesan Publication.
- Coordinator/President of Malankara Catholic Missions of North America.
- Nine Years as Parochial Vicar at St.Veronica, Howell.
Educational and Training Background:
- Pontifical Licentiates in Philosophy & Theology (India)
- Advanced Degree in Systematic Theology. (Canada)
- Certificate in Pastoral Counseling (India)
- Certificate in Pastoral Practioner in NLP (Canada)
- Two Months Training of Seminary Formators (Italy)
Experience & Background:
- Spiritual Direction, Directing Retreats, RCIA, Directed Pilgrimages to Holy Land, Medjugorje, Fatima-Lourdes, Italy, and Eastern Europe.
Reading: Philosophy, Theology, Spirituality and Psychology, Prayer Meetings, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Lonergan Studies & Ecumenism.
Just as a major league pitcher might shake off a few signs from his catcher, waiting for just the right one, so, too, did Michael A. Gentile, Jr. on his long road to the priesthood.
“I am a big Mets fan, and I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to intern with them in Flushing, Queens, during the final semester of college,” Gentile said. “This was an opportunity I had dreamed of for so long. However, the more I was there, the more I realized that my desires were deeper. I felt that there was something more than working for a sports team that God wanted from me.”
Born to Barbara and Michael A. Gentile, Sr. in The Bronx, N.Y., in 1975, Michael is one of the couple’s eight children. He attended that borough’s Holy Rosary School and Mount St. Michael Academy, and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, radio, television and film from Marist College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1997.
The first sign for the priesthood occurred while young Michael attended grammar school. He recalled, “I always looked upon the priesthood as something really special… Service as an altar boy gave me a closer look into the life of a priest as I saw the work they did to help people in all situations in life.”
Gentile also credits the “sacrificial love” of his parents as a great influence.
A move to North Carolina after college and jobs in the airline industry proved unfulfilling, so Gentile entered a pre-seminary program in New York in 2001. “I had been finally courageous enough to see if my vocation was to be a priest,” he recalled, “but I was not there for very long and felt it was not the right time for me. I wasn’t totally ready to embrace fully the gift that God was giving me.”
Gentile eventually moved to New Jersey after a few years of chauffer driving for a job with Verizon Communications and joined Lawrenceville’s St. Ann Parish. He credits that family of faith and its Knights of Columbus council for his decision to reenter the seminary, this time for the Diocese of Trenton, in 2011.
“Ever since I first entered the vocations office I can say that a true sense of peace and belonging has been with me,” Gentile recalled. “It has been a wonderful journey for me and as I look back, I see that God was with me always. He was inviting me to answer this call, but he never forced it upon me, and that is what makes it so special.”
His large family of birth, too, has been supportive on his journey.
Gentile has served summers in St. Dominic Parish, Brick; St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, and assisted in St. James Parish in Red Bank.on He returned to St. Dominic upon ordination.
Fr. Michael was assigned to St Thomas More this year and we are very happy he is part of our Parish.
Deacon Michael Lee Foster