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Permanent Diaconate

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Deacon Leo Montini Enters Eternal Life

Leo Montini, beloved family man and deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, died peacefully in his sleep at home on August 15, 2022. He was 92 years old.

Leo was born in 1930 in Montecchia di Crosara, a province of Verona, Italy, to parents Vincenzo and Maria Montini. In 1949 he immigrated to the USA as a member of the Comboni Missionaries, serving at San Antonio de Pala Asistencia, a Native American Reservation in Pala, California. In 1953, he was drafted by the Army. Leo was stationed in Maison Fort, France, with the Army Corps of Engineers, and was naturalized as an American citizen at the embassy in Paris by John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight Eisenhower.

Leo married Joan Michalak of Brooklyn, NY, in 1956. Together they raised four children in Verona, NJ. Leo supported his family as a sheet metal welder with Local 28, even working on the World Trade Center Twin Towers during the 1970s.

Guided by his deep faith, in midlife Leo began studying to become a permanent deacon. He was ordained in 1981 and served the Archdiocese of Newark as a parish deacon, the Catholic chaplain at University Hospital Newark, and the deacon assigned to the Italian American Apostolate. In 1985, Archbishop Peter Gerety presented the Caritas Medal to Deacon Leo Montini to honor his outstanding service, leadership, charity and achievement in his parish and throughout the Archdiocese of Newark. In 1997, Leo and Joan retired to Whiting, NJ, and Leo continued his work as a deacon with the Archdiocese of Trenton, assigned to local parishes (Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and Saint Maximilian Kolbe) and as a Catholic chaplain at Community Hospital.

Leo is survived by Joan, his devoted wife of 65 years; their children Theresa, Vincent (Patricia Garrison), Joseph (Wendy Miller), and Mary Ellen (Robert Stickel); their grandchildren Matthew, Laura (Matthew Pallone), Carly, Sarah, and James Stickel; great granddaughter Audrey Joan; and nephews and nieces including Elizabeth Skalski of NC, and Giuseppe, Maria Rosa, and Angelina Montini and Giuseppe, Mariano, and Vincenzo Dal Cero of Italy.

A public viewing was held on Saturday August 20, at The Chapel of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church located at 30 Schoolhouse Road, Whiting, NJ 08759, immediately followed by an 11:00 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Sister Agnese Montini fund to support the Comboni Missionary nuns in El Obeid, Sudan; 1318 Nagel Road, Cincinnati, OH 45255.

Published by The Star-Ledger from Aug. 17 to Aug. 18, 2022.

Have you seen "The Deacon?"

Since its rebirth at the Second Vatican Council, the diaconate has had a profound effect on the Church. The ministry composed of mostly married men has enhanced the liturgy, eased the pressure demanded of the priest, improved communication between the lay faithful and the clergy and helped educate the parish on matters of service to others and prayer by filling the roles of mentor, a welcoming ear and a true servant of the people of the Church.

The deacon, “servant,” is an ordained assistant to priests responsible for such ministerial duties as preaching, baptizing, witnessing marriages, distributing Communion, preaching and, at times, presiding at funerals. The deacon often has many duties in the parish away from the altar. These include the training of servers and other liturgical ministers; sacramental preparation classes for marriage and baptism; sometimes running the RCIA program or teaching the parish school religion classes.

All of this service didn’t happen by accident. The diaconate formation programs have, for the most part, over the years, improved by leaps and bounds. The National Directory for the Life of Permanent Deacons requires continuing education for deacons. Since 1975, no organization has filled that role better than the National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education, NDICE for short. The sole mission of NDICE is to promote the continuing education of deacons.

Check out their website:

Prayer for Deacons

We praise you, Father, Creator of all things,
Who teaches us how to love and
Who guides us on our journey of service.

Have mercy on us, forgive us our failings, and
Show us the way to be faithful servants.

We thank you for our families
and the faith communities who support us,
and we ask You to bless and watch over them.

Give us the grace to open our minds and hearts
as we grow in wisdom, faith and love of You
and Your Word.

Send down Your Spirit, Lord, to sustain us
as we accept Your call to be Heralds of Your Word,
servants at Your Table and Ministers of charity
to Your people.

With the intercession of Blessed Mary, Mother of God, St. John the Baptist,
who inspires us to be Your voice, and all Your saintly deacons.

We pray in the name of Jesus, Our Lord and Savior,
In union with the Holy Spirit.


Composed by Deacon candidates of the Diocese of Sprinfield, MA.

Online Liturgy of the Hours

A website has the apprioved English version (ICEL 1976) of the Liturgy of the Hours available online. It is quite comprehesive with: Invitatiory Psalm, Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer, as well as hymns! It gives page numbers for both the four-volume and single volume versions. A podcast is also available so you can listen if reading is inconvenient. An excellent resource anytime, but especially when traveling with your smartphone or laptop. The URL is

Procedure for Ministering Outside of the Archdiocese

Click HERE for the latest guidelines.

The memorandum dated May 8, 2013 from Deacon McKenna has been incorporated into the Deacon Manual at the end of the last Appendix. See "Handbook for Permanent Deacons" in "Archives" at the right for details.

The Permanent Diaconate in the Archdiocese of Newark

Some general information about the Permanent Diaconate can be found HERE.

It has been more than fifty years since the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate (Diaconatus Ordinem) in 1967, and forty-six years since the ordination of the first class of permanent deacons in 1975. At that time 77 men were ordained by Archbishop Gerety, considerably reduced from 200 who had applied and the 144 who began the probationary period. Since that time, the permanent diaconate program in Newark has seen many changes as both the theology and the praxis of the diaconate has developed and evolved under the influence of experience and guidance of the Holy Spirit. As in almost all areas of the world where the permanent diaconate has taken root, it has grown and generally has exceeded expectations, not only in the numbers of men called to this ordained ministry, but in the quality of its witness "as icons of Christ the servant." A listing of significant events in the history of the permanent diaconate in Newark is given in Appendix A from the booklet "A History of 25 Years of Service" presented at the Annual Assembly of Deacons in the Jubilee Year 2000.

Pax et Bonum

Madonna Murillo

From the Directory for Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons, Congregation for the Clergy, n. 57, we are given this exhortation: "Love for Christ and for His Church is profoundly linked to love of the Blessed Virgin Mary, handmaid of the Lord. With her unique title of Mother, she was the selfless helper of her divine Son's diaconia (cf. John 19:25-27). Love of the Mother of God, based on faith and expressed in daily recitation of the rosary, imitation of her virtues and trust in her, are indeed signs of authentic filial devotion. With deep veneration and affection Mary looks on every deacon....This love of the Virgin Mary, handmaid of the Lord, which is born and rooted in the word, will cause deacons to imitate her life. In this way a Marian dimension is introduced into the Church which is very close to the vocation of the deacon.


Director of Selection and Formation

Msgr. Joseph R. Chapel

Director of Deacon Personnel

Deacon John J. McKenna

Associate Directors
Joseph Yandoli No Photo Available

Deacon Joseph Yandoli Deacon James Tobin

Continuing Education

Deacon Andrew Saunders

Council of Permanent Deacons
Executive Committee

President Vice President Secretary
Deacon Michael York Deacon Walter Wiggins Deacon Steve Lipski

County Representatives

Deacon Andrew Golden          Deacon Andrew Zucaro


Deacon Emeruwa Anyanwu      Deacon Walter Wiggins

         Deaon Steve Lipski            Deacon Michael Missaggia

Deacon David Farrell            Deacon Michael York


Deacon Jorg Montalvo            Deacon Pedro Herrera


Deacon Ed Campanella

For information about the diaconate program in the Archdiocese of Newark, or questions about the diaconate in general, email us at john.mckenna@rcan.orgi.

Contact Us

Comments and suggestions about the website may be directed to the webmaster, Deacon Bob Gurske at

For information about the diaconate program in the Archdiocese of Newark, or questions about the diaconate in general, email us at