Parish Clergy and Staff
Rev. Msgr. Anselm Nwaorgu, Ph.D.
Rev. Msgr. Anselm Nwaorgu, a former parochial vicar here at St. Michael Church (1992-1998), was ordained to the holy priesthood on May 30th, 1992. In June of 2009, Pope Benedict elevated him to the status of a Papal Chamberlain—a Monsignor, making him the first Native African Born priest to be made a monsignor in the United States Catholic Church. He is a licensed psychologist in the State of New Jersey and holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, from Urban University, Rome; a master’s degree in Systematic Theology; a master’s degree in Counselor Prep; a Master’s in Divinity in Pastoral Ministry, and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, from Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. Over the years, he has received several awards and citations for outstanding performances. In May 1991, he received the Pope John Paul II Medal for Superior Academic Work in Theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. In 2015, he was awarded the “2015 Man of Vision” by The Municipal Council of the City of Newark. He has co-authored book Chapters and written his own books also. He is presently the consultant for Africa to the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, and Travelers, at the United States of Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Rev. Fr. Camilo Lopez
Fr. Camilo (aka Fr. Miles) was born and raised in Daraga, Albay, Philippines. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Divine Word College of Legazpi, Legazpi City, the Philippines in 1986, where he majored in Political Science. After his graduation from college, he migrated to the U.S.A. In 1989, he attended Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. There he obtained a Master of Divinity Degree in 1993.
On May 29, 1993, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Newark. He has served as a Parochial Vicar at St. Augustine’s Church in Union City, Church of the Madonna in Fort Lee, St. Vincent De Paul Church in Bayonne, Church of Assumption in Emerson. Fr. Miles came to St. Michael’s in Union in the summer of 2016.
Deacon Michael Cavallo
Deacon Michael grew up in the Ironbound section of Newark and was a parishioner of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. There he served as the Moderator of the Youth Program and was the coordinator of the Religious Education program for First Eucharist. He attended Seton Hall University as an undergraduate and received his degree in Business Management and Administration. Deacon Michael continued his studies at Chubb Institute where he earned a Certificate as a Mainframe Computer Programmer and currently holds PMP certification in Project Management. He currently works as a Portfolio/Program Manager in IT for a healthcare insurance company in New Jersey. In 1990, he moved to Union with his family and continued to attend Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church in Newark. In 2002, Deacon Michael and his family joined St. Michael’s Parish, where his 2 children Nicholas and Gianna attended Religious Education and CYO. Upon joining the parish, he became a member of the Adult Choir, was a substitute cantor as well as a Lecturer and Eucharistic Minister. Always having an interest in serving the Lord from an early age, Deacon Michael applied for the Permanent Diaconate in 2011 and was accepted into the program. He attended Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University and graduated in May 2016, receiving his Master’s Degree in Theology as well as a Certificate in Diaconal Studies. Deacon Michael was ordained by Cardinal Tobin, Archbishop of Newark on May 21, 2017, as a Permanent Deacon and was assigned to St. Michael’s Parish to carry out his ministry. Deacon Michael enjoys spending his free time with his family and friends as well as attending to small projects around his home.
Deacon Michael Alfano
Michael has lived in Union most of his life and currently lives with his wife Jeanne of 36 years. He is currently employed as Director of Quality at Benjamin Moore Paints in Flanders, NJ. Michael received his early religious instruction and the sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation at St. Michael’s. After graduating from Union High School, Michael attended the University of Notre Dame and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree concentrated in Physical and Life Sciences. While at Notre Dame, Michael learned the importance of being an active member of the community, especially his obligation as a Catholic to participate in community service and in being charitable toward those less fortunate than himself. To prepare for the diaconate ministry, Michael just completed a five-year theological program established by the Archdiocese of Newark in conjunction with Seton Hall University that led to his graduating with a master’s degree concentrated in systematic theology. On Saturday, July 11, 2020, Michael was ordained to the ministry of Permanent Deacon at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark by Cardinal Joseph Tobin Archbishop of Newark. Deacon Michael has been assigned to his home parish, St. Michael the Archangel. Michael has served St. Michael’s for several years as the coordinator and teacher of the Right of Christian Initiation for Adults program and as a Eucharistic Minister and Lector. He is looking forward to serving the parishioners of St. Michael’s by encouraging their spiritual growth and strengthening their faith. Amongst other duties, he will be presiding over Baptisms and Weddings and will proclaim the Gospel and preach at weekly masses.
Parish Business Manager
Pastoral Associate, Religious Ed.
Clare has been a parishioner of St. Michael’s for more than 30 years. She is married to her husband, Derrick, for 45 years. They resided in Union for 30 years where they raised three sons – Michael (Vanessa), David (Nicole), and Steven (Amanda). They relocated to Mountainside in 2007 to care for Clare’s mom. They are proud grandparents to Dominic, Grace, Giuliana, Shane, and Milania. In December 2018, Clare retired as Executive Assistant to the General Counsel at Merck after 20 years of service. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in
Psychology from Kean University. Clare has been a catechist at St. Michael’s for over 25 years. The Knights of Columbus named her Catechist of the Year in 2018. She has been a volunteer at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside during open recreation for the children in the Long-Term Care Unit since 2011. She had recently joined the HUGS Ministry and the Women’s Bowling League for St. Michael’s. Clare joined the Religious Education staff in August 2020 where she will be responsible for the religious formation program for the Parish from Sacramental preparation – 1st Reconciliation through 1st Eucharist – through 8th grade. She will also participate in the Parish Adult Faith Formation.
Director of Liturgical Music
Peter Petrecca graduated from Montclair State College with a BA in Comprehensive Business Education. Upon graduation, he was a business education teacher at Kearny High School for 32 years. He imparted marketable, personal, and social skills to students of all grade levels as he guided them toward their endeavors. During his college education, he began studying liturgy and organ under the tutoring of his parish priests, nuns, and other accomplished musicians.
After 21 years of dedication and service to his Italian parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Newark, he contemplated and realized the music ministry’s calling.
My name is Tiago. I was born in Lisbon, Portugal, but raised here in Union since I was 2 years old. I first began at St Michael’s Church when I graduated from Union High School in 1998. I have always worked for both the school and church together. I was a CCD teacher at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Elizabeth in 1999 for about 6 years, where I was also the Assistant Leader of the CYO. I am certified with my Black Seal license to
operate and maintain boilers and furnaces. I am also trained in low-level asbestos treatment. I have many skills that I put to good use here at the church every day. I’ve learned a lot working here for almost 2 decades, and I enjoy learning more each day.
Supervisor of Maintenance
Mary Jo was a St. Michael’s Church parishioner from 1989 until she moved to Millington, New Jersey in 2008 with her husband Doug and her 3 children. She started working as Parish Secretary at St. Michael’s in October 2007. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City, Philippines. She moved from the Philippines to New York to study Fashion Design in 1982. Prior to working at St. Michael’s, Mary Jo has had jobs in retail as an Assistant Buyer, a law firm as a Human Resource Assistant, a Real Estate Stager
Mary Jo Sipe
for an interior design company, and an Office Manager for a CPA company. Please contact Mary Jo at the Parish Center if you want to schedule a Baptism or Wedding or questions about funeral mass arrangements. You can also contact her if you have any changes in your status, address, for parishioner verification letters and copies of your Sacramental Records.
Lois has been a parishioner for over 40 years. She is married to husband Richard for 52 years. They live in Union and have raised 3 children, Michael (Shannon), Karen, Thomas (Jennifer). They have 3 grandsons —Joseph, Thomas and T.J. Lois retired in 2012 from Union High School as a secretary in the UHS Supervisor’s office. She has been active in St. Michael’s as a Eucharistic Minister, Pre-Cana Team Member and Liturgy Committee. Lois joined the Religious Education Office in 2012 as Coordinator of the Religious Education Home-Based Program. She also assists Mrs. Andriola in the Religious Education Office.
Religious Education Assistant
Rebekah graduated from Kean University in 2007 with BA in Early Childhood & Elementary Education and began teaching kindergarten at St. Michael Parish School in 2007. In 2013, she had the opportunity to intern as the assistant principal. During this time, she fell in love with administration and went back to Seton Hall to obtain her MA in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Management.
In 2018, Rebekah became principal of St. Michael Parish School. As a product of Catholic Education, she is a firm believer in the importance of teaching our children in a faith-based environment. St. Michael School serves over 350 children and Rebekah is honored to be part of this great mission!
Cristina has been a parishioner of St. Michael’s for her entire life and has made all of her sacraments there. She is also a resident of the township of Union and has gone through the Union Public School System. She graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Criminal Justice and has a Masters in Educational Psychology from Kean University. She is expected to graduate from Kean University in May 2021 with a
Professional Diploma in School Psychology. Cristina has recently taken over the CYO and Confirmation Program, which focuses on faith formation for teenagers from 9th-12th grade. She has extremely close ties with the program, as she was a very involved member of CYO during her high school years and hasn’t left since. After she graduated high school, she continued to volunteer as a young adult helper and was a Youth Ministry Assistant for the last 3 years. She has also been a catechist for the past 7 years, teaching the 5th grade about the seven sacraments with her mother. Cristina looks forward to continuing CYO in the spirit of her mentor, friend, and predecessor, Phil Matrale, whom she loved and admired greatly. Her vision is to keep CYO a safe haven for the teenagers and young adults of the community, where all are welcome to come share and learn about their faith.
Pastoral Associate, Youth Ministry