Donato replaces Bishop David Arias who also served as a pastor in Palisades Park. Bishop Arias, who resigned at the mandatory age of 75, served as Hispanic Apostolate, as Regional Bishop for Hudson County and as pastor of St. Joseph of the Palisades parish in West New York.
Born and raised in Jersey City, Bishop Donato also took over as pastor St. Henry's Church in Bayonne in early July.
Donato will serve as the Regional Bishop for Hudson County and he will be ordained along with Father John Flesey who will serve as Regional Bishop of Bergen County.
Donato, 63, will oversee administrative matters involving parishes in the Hudson portion of the Archdiocese of Newark. Archdiocese of Newark. consists of Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Union counties. Donato will be overseeing all the Catholic institutions of Hudson County including churches, parishes, schools, convents, rectories, hospitals and cemeteries. He will also be serving on a committee to oversee the merging of a number of parishes throughout the Archdiocese.
The appointments are made by Pope John Paul II but the ceremony is conducted by Archbishop John J. Myers.
In making the announcement, Archbishop Myers said, "The Holy Father's appoint ob Bishops-elect Donato and Flesey is truly a great gift to the Archdiocese of Newark. Both bishops-elect have broad experience in the Archdiocese and have the hearts of pastors. They have served well the people, priests and seminarians of the Archdiocese. We are blessed to have them in the various new roles they will assume."
Bishop-elect Flesey, 61, was also born in Jersey City. He attended St. Aeden elementary school and St. Peter's Prep. He is a graduate of St. Peter's College and study for priesthood at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Over his long career he studied and served extensively, receiving a Licenciate in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and later a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the University of St. Thomas in Rome.
Although these appointments were announced in Washington D.C. in June, Pope John Paul II named both bishops as part of the February Papal calendar.
Bishop Donato called this "an overwhelming and humbling experience."
"In accepting this appointment, I express my heartfelt thanks to Pope John Paul II, to Archbishop Myers and to the priests of the Archdiocese of Newark who have been sportive of me through my years in priestly ministry," he said.
Father Donato was borne in Jersey City where he attended Holly Rosary elementary school and St. Michael High School.
He is a graduate of Seton Hall University. He studied for priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Darlington, N.J. Following his ordination, Father Donato served as parochial vicar at St. John the Baptist Parish in Hillsdale from 1965 top 1973 and St. de Paul Parish in Bayonne from 1973 to 1982.
In 1982, he was named pastor of Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Bayonne. In 1988, he was named pastor of St. Paul Parish in Ramsey and then pastor of St. Raphael in Livingston in 2001.
At St. Paul's Parish, Father Donato was involved in the parish Tithing the Tithe program (Tithing is giving a percentage of your income to the church - usually 10 percent) that distributed thousand of dollars to needy individuals and organizations through the church's charity committee. Father Donato was named monsignor in 1996.
Since 2003, Father Donato has served as spiritual director of Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in South Orange, responsible for "spiritual formation" of candidates seeking the priesthood.
"As I take on this new position I pray that God is every more compassionate with me," he said in a printed statement "May God grant me an abundance of graces to provide for all God's people - clergy and laity - as I look forward to working with the archbishop in continuing to bring this local church of Newark through exciting and challenging times."