Statement of Archbishop John Myers on the Passing of Bishop Thomas Donato

Bishop Thomas Donato embodied the priestly ideal. He not only represented Christ to people, he also saw Christ in everyone he met. I am grateful that I too came to know this holy man who influenced and helped deepen the faith of so many people in parish ministry, and of many men studying for priestly service for the Archdiocese of Newark.

When he was ordained a bishop in 2004, Bishop Donato told a story that has always remained with me. When he was a second grader at Holy Rosary School in Jersey City, he told his teacher that he was going to be a priest when he grew up. He added that those seeds of faith were planted by his parents, his brothers and sisters, the Priests and Sisters at Holy Rosary, and that entire parish community.

He embraced the call of the Lord, then and always throughout his life, and he lived the words of St. John XXIII: “At my window a light will be burning.  All may come in, the arms of a friend will always be waiting.”

As sad as we are at his passing, we can take comfort in our belief that today Bishop Tom Donato has entered into the arms of Our Lord.

The Most Reverend Thomas A. Donato, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, passed away in the evening of August 25, 2015 from cancer. He had served as Auxiliary Bishop of Newark, Regional Bishop of Hudson County, and pastor of St. Henry Parish, Bayonne, from the time of his episcopal ordination in August 2004 until his passing. Prior to being named an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese, he had served in both parish ministry and as Spiritual Director of Immaculate Conception Seminary, Seton Hall University, South Orange.

Thomas Donato was born on October 1, 1940 in Jersey City, one of six children of the late Antonio and Rosa Arturi Donato. Baptized at Holy Rosary Parish, Jersey City, he attended Holy Rosary Elementary School and St. Michael High School in Jersey City. After graduating from the College Seminary at Seton Hall University in 1961, he entered Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington, where he received a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained to the priesthood by The Most Reverend Thomas A. Boland, second Archbishop of Newark, on May 29, 1965.

Father Donato’s parish assignments included St. John the Baptist, Hillsdale and St. Vincent dePaul, Bayonne. He served as pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption, Bayonne and St. Paul, Ramsey. Pope St. John Paul II named him a Prelate of Honor, with the title of Reverend Monsignor, in 1996.

After 35 years of Priestly ministry, Monsignor Donato took a six-month sabbatical to attend the Institute for the Contining Education of Clergy at the Pontifical North American College, Rome. Upon his return, he was appointed pastor of St. Raphael Parish, Livingston, and shortly thereafter was appointed Spiritual Director of Immaculate Conception Seminary.

The Holy See announced the appointment of Monsignor Thomas A. Donato as Titular Bishop of Jamestown and Auxiliary Bishop of Newark on May 21, 2004. His episcopal ordination took place on August 4, 2004.