August 31, 2015
By Terrence T. McDonald
Mourners attend the wake and funeral for Bishop Thomas Donato, the pastor of St. Henry in Bayonne and vicar of Hudson County, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. Reena Rose Sibayan | The Jersey Journal
NEWARK — “He was a priestly priest.”
That’s how Sister Brunilda Ramos described Bishop Thomas Donato, the longtime pastor of St. Henry Church in Bayonne who died last Tuesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 74.
“He ministered to all,” said Ramos, 68, who knew Donato for decades. “Never spoke an unkind word about anyone.”
Ramos traveled today from the Montoloking retreat house she runs to Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart to attend Donato’s funeral. She is one of dozens of clergy members gathered inside the 61-year-old church for the 2 p.m. service.
Born and raised in Jersey City, Donato was a priest for 50 years. He was first ordained in this very church on May 29, 1965. Barbara Liguori, who now lives in Morristown, was there then to celebrate his new role, and she was there today to bid farewell.
“He’s a gentle soul and a peace loving man,” Liguori told The Jersey Journal, still using the present tense to refer to Donato.
The Rev. Thomas P. Nydegger will preside over today’s service.