Deacon Leon Santo Mazza was born on July 5, 1937 in Hammonton, New Jersey, the son of Frank and Frances Mazza. He is the eldest of nine children (Leon, Margaret, Francis, Marie, John, Steward, David, Robert, and William).
He attended St. Joseph School, in Hammonton, from first grade to twelfth grade and graduated in 1954.
He enlisted in the United States Air Force (USAF) on February 29, 1956 serving on active duty until March 31, 1982. The USAF sent him to medical administration school to learn what would become his career from 1956 to 2000. His assignments took him to Texas, Alabama, Puerto Rico, California (twice), Panama, Vietnam, Philippines, Hawaii, Florida, Greenland, Illinois, finally arriving at Davis-Monthan AFB in 1978. He is especially proud of his air evac service in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970.
In 1962, he married Maudie Simeroth in Marysville, California. Together they have six children, Leon Jr., Carrie Ann, Maria Elena, Rose Marie, Dawn Suzanne, and Angela Kay. Today, their grandchildren are Kali, Liam, and Tyler Clark, and Rhiannon and Damian Cajero.
While on active duty, he pursued college studies from 1957 to 1977 when he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Park College (now Park University) majoring in Management.
During his military career, he volunteered for various church ministries; choir, usher, Eucharistic Minister, and even parish council.
While on active duty, he said, “When I retire I plan to find my parish and throw my heart and soul into it.” He registered in St. Joseph parish in June 1982 and has kept his volunteer activities in the forefront.
In 1987, Fr. Thomas O’Flannigan recommended him to the diocese of Tucson to study for ordination to the diaconate. As part of his studies he was required to ‘take on’ two more volunteer activities, so in 1989, he started volunteering with our St. Vincent de Paul Conference and assisting with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). He completed his studies and on June 22, 1991, the late Bishop Manuel Moreno ordained him as a Deacon and assigned him to St. Joseph Parish.
In 1997, Bishop Moreno appointed him to the additional duty as Director of Deacons for the Diocese of Tucson. He held this position until 1999.
In July 2000, then pastor, Fr. John Allt asked him to become his assistant as Pastoral Associate. He accepted and since August 1, 2000, he has served our parish in that capacity.
In June 2008, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas appointed him as Parish Administrator for one month, during the period between the departure of Fr. Allt and the arrival of Fr. Miguel Mariano.
Fr. Miguel has appointed him as Business Manager for the parish.
In December 2007, Bishop Kicanas appointed him as Parish Administrator until May 2008, while Fr. Miguel was on Sabbatical.
Deacon Leon has taken as his mantra, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:8-9).
Deacon Leon Mazza