Joseph P. LaMorte, son of Joseph and Kathryn (Apolito), the first of their three children, was born in Mount Vernon on July 25, 1950, and was raised in the Wakefield neighborhood of the Bronx. He attended St. Anthony School and Mount Saint Michael Academy there, and later earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from St. John’s University, a Master of Divinity from St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, and a Master of Science in Pastoral Counseling from Iona University.
Father LaMorte was ordained to the priesthood by Terence Cardinal Cooke on October 31, 1981, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Prior to ordination, he spent his deacon internship year at St. Boniface, Wesley Hills. From 1981 to 1985 he served as parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament, West Brighton, Staten Island. He was a member of the Parish Mission Team, which was the preaching apostolate of the archdiocese (1985 to 1989), served as parochial vicar, administrator, and pastor at Holy Trinity, Poughkeepsie (1989-2010) and pastor of St. Gregory Barbarigo, Garnerville (2010-2018). In December 2018, he was named chancellor (an office he held for a year) and vicar general. In 2019, he was also appointed moderator of the curia.
Before beginning his priestly formation, Father LaMorte was a Catholic school lay teacher (1973-1977). He served for 40 years, first as an enlisted airman and then as a chaplain in the United States Air Force Reserve and New York Air National Guard, retiring in 2012 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was named Chaplain to His Holiness, Pope Francis in 2019. He is a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus.