Joe Belmonte grew up around the St. Anthony of Padua church, he became an altar boy at eight years old, developed a strong faith which led him to a life of service – a teacher in the Revere Public Schools and a deacon at St. Anthony’s.
This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Restoration of the Permanent Diaconate and Deacon Joe has been an ordained minister of the Catholic church for 38 years.
Belmonte graduated from Boston College High School and attended St. John’s Seminary in Brighton and Boston State College for his master’s in education and CAGS in school administration.
“I decided after prayer and reflection that I might be too young,” he said. “I actually decided I’d like to be married. I met my lovely wife Barbara here at St Anthony’s. They had never known each other before.”
On their first date they went to the movies and saw “Gone with the Wind.”
Today Belmonte’s family includes son Joe Jr., daughter Kristen and son-in-law Alex.
“My father and mother were the biggest influence for prayer. My father used to tip his hat or make a cross on his forehead when we went by the church,” he said. “Indicating to me these was something special there.”
Although he was always drawn to religious vocation he didn’t become a priest. But decided to get into education, math and science. He taught at the Paul Revere School, the Garfield, the Beachmont.
His ministry has included work at the Essex County House of Correction/Middleton, nursing home, as director of the marriage preparation, baptisms, preaching during Saturday and Sunday masses, performing marriage ceremonies, renewal of marriage vows, works with Eucharistic ministers, lectors and working with those who would like to become a member of the Catholic Church.
“I looked up the priests here as role models,” Belmonte said.
While at Boston State he was invited to attend a meeting a deacons. Belmonte thought he might be too busy but he decided to go and had to wait until he became 35 years old. He found during his reading of the Bible that he kept coming across the same gospel message, “You have no chosen me, I have chosen you. I keep asking the question, why me Lord,” Belmonte said, adding he has had wonderful support from the priests and his family.
“She is an integral part of my ministry,” Belmonte said, adding they both worked on the marriage preparation classes at St. Anthony’s for 37 years. “To proclaim God’s word it ultimately what my mission is.”