Obituary: Monsignor Emmanuel Capozzelli
Monsignor Emmanuel M. Capozzelli, 98, a former longtime pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Montclair, will lie in repose Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Aloysius Church, 219 Bloomfield Ave, Caldwell, with a vigil to begin at 7:30 p.m.
Capozzelli also served as chaplain of the Township Police and Fire departments. He belonged to the Lions Club, Cystinosis Foundation of New Jersey, UNICO and many other charitable foundations.
A burial Mass will be celebrated on Friday at Queen of Heaven Parish in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. There will be a brief viewing before the Mass from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The interment is at Calvary Cemetery and Drums Pennsylvania.
Capozzelli, who was one of 12 children, died Saturday, Dec. 23.
He was born July 2, 1919, in Lattimer, Pennsylvania, and educated in the Hazle township Schools in that state. Capozzelli received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Seton Hall College and completed his philosophical, theological studies and the degree of Master of Divinity at the Immaculate Conception Seminary.
Following his ordination in St. Patrick's Pro-Cathedral Newark on June 11, 1949, by the late Archbishop Thomas Joseph Walsh, Capozzelli was appointed associate pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, Union City, where he served until 1956.
During that time he was active with the Catholic Youth Organization, moderator of St. Ann Cabrini Society and Holy Name Society. He was also moderator of the Boy and Girl Scouts. He helped in the planning and building of the new St. Anthony Church. While at St. Anthony he was involved in the formation of a priest group to help coordinate their work in the community. In 1953 he was temporary administrator of the parish.
In 1956 Capozzelli was assigned to Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Jersey City, and in June 23 of that year he assumed the position of school administrator and established various scouting programs.
Capozzelli was spiritual director of the Holy Name Society Knights of the Altar, Sodality of Mary, Moderator of the School Mothers Guild. While in Jersey City he was involved in neighborhood planning during the racial disturbance. He continued to work in Jersey City for 12 years before his transfer to Montclair.
Capozzelli was assigned as assistant at Our Lady of Mount Carmel on June 22, 1968. One year later, on July 25, 1969, he became the administrator. From 1974 to 1994 he served as pastor.
During the time he when he was also was the school director and school administrator at Our Lady of Sorrows and Mount Carmel he implemented school boards. At Mount Carmel he was the spiritual director of the Holy Name and Rosary Altar societies, the CYO, the Altar Boys adult discussion groups, and taught grammar school and high school religious classes. Capozzelli also instituted the Parish Council and was busy preparing the church for the Renew Program.
To help Italian immigrants, Capozzelli served as chaplain to the St. Sebastian and St. Vito Aquilonese societies and started Italian soccer teams as a means to assist them adjust to their new environment and maintain their ethnic culture.
Capozzelli received the Maria SS Della Lavina Society Award for his dedication and service regardless of faith, color or ethnic background and his continuous efforts to works of charity and humanities in 1988.
The beautiful organ enjoyed by the parishioners will always be a testimony to his efforts to present an appreciation of liturgical music. In community affairs, Capozzelli was one of the founders and vice president of the board of First Montclair Housing, which was involved in the building of the senior-citizen units for those with low and moderate incomes.
He was one of the founders and a member of Union Developments Corp., an interracial group that was involved in building Union Gardens on Greenwood Avenue and Lackawanna Plaza and town houses on Glenridge Avenue. He was also involved as founder and a board member of South End Gardens.
In 1968 Capozzelli attended 60 two-hour lectures and was certified by the H.E.L. P. (Health, Education, and Leadership Program), which is designed to aid in the recognition and prevention of the emotional disturbance for training in techniques on how to recognize another's need for help.
Capozzelli attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and won certification in chaplaincy to better assist Montclair police and firefighters, who he served for 27 years. He also received certification from the North and Mid-Atlantic Police Chaplaincy.
Capozzelli was involved as a board member of the Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Fundraising Committee for the Montclair Public Library Read-a-thon.
His vocational and professional accomplishments include being the dean of North Essex, member of the Pastoral Advisory Committee to the Archbishop; member of the Archbishop's Annual Appeal; appointed to the Editorial Advisory board of the Catholic Advocate in 1986; and appointed member of the Vicariate Committee to the Priests Archdiocesan Capital Campaign in 1984.
Capozzelli was deeply involved with UNICO, and elected president in 1985, and is one of the founders and treasurer of the Association of Blind Athletes. He was also president of the Cystinosis Foundation Inc., New Jersey chapter; board member of International Cystinosis; president of the Montclair Lions Club, District Chaplain of 16-E, chairman of District 16-E International Understanding and Cooperation Committee, deputy district governor, district 16-E.
The International Association of Lions conferred life membership on him June 10, 1994.
Capozzelli received the Melvin Jones fellow award for dedicated humanitarian services and was recipient of the Lions Eye Bank of New Jersey Visionary of the Year award from 2005 to 2006 for invaluable service to community, business and state projects.
He was selected grand marshal for the Montclair Fourth of July parade in 1980 and was the first recipient of the Margot M. Studer award from Montclair State University in 1984, the Montclair Police Department award in 1979, and the Governor's Special Olympics Award in 1978.
He was honored by Gov. Thomas Kean and Human Services for outstanding volunteer and professional contributions to New Jersey's Blind and Visually impaired community in 1985. The New Jersey Commission on Recreation for individuals with disabilities - Evelyn Arnow Dolan Citizens Award 2001.
Capozzelli was also chosen for the Freeholder Humanitarian Award in 1989, was named Verona UNICO National Man of the Year, and received the first community service award for his contribution to the promotion of awareness of Cooley's Anemia and by exemplifying the UNICO motto "service above self."
He was designated Livingston UNICO National Citizen of the year June 1, 1986, and won the the Cystinosis Foundation humanitarian award in 1991.
He also garnered the 23 years award as chaplain of the township fire department of Montclair and the 27 years award of service as chaplain of the police department. In addition, he received the Silver Life membership medal of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association.
In Montclair he also received the outstanding citizen of the year award from the township for outstanding humanitarian services; the John Cresbaugh Jr. Citizenship Award of the Service Clubs Council of Montclair in recognition and appreciation of outstanding civic, cultural, educational and charitable service to the community 1979; outstanding humanitarian award for his work with the Chamber of Commerce, especially for serving as an active member of Urban Renewal Agency and his involvement founding and initiating housing in the municipality.
He helped start the Center of Prayer for Padre Pio Pietrelcina, was also a member of the board at immaculate Conception School for many years.
Pope John Paul II named Capozzelli Prelate Of Honor March 17, 1986.
He is survived by 19 nieces and nephews, 24 great nieces and nephews, and a sister-in-law Amelia. He was predeceased by his parents Anthony and Grace Maria DiGirolamo Capozzelli, his sisters Jennie and Angeline, Sister Mary, and his brothers Eli, Ciriaco, Daniel, John, Leonard, Joseph, David and Anthony.