Lady of Mount Carmel and Fatima Roman Catholic
Church he was very active in his ministry, tending to the spiritual
and material needs of his parishioners and also actively
engaging in the maintenance, repair, and improvement of of the
historic church, which had been built in 1907.
former parishioner catalogued some of his activities in an e-mail, which
(Father Scuderi) arrived on Camden in 1984 and served as Director of
Religious Education. He
translated the certification classes for religious education teachers
into Spanish and this was accepted by the Diocese and used in other
parishes although I am told that other parishes came to Fatima to
receive their classes for certification.
renovated the school, the rectory, the church and the church hall with
the help of friends of the parish.
encouraged the Italian American part of the parish (Mt Carmel) to
reestablish the procession and festival of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel with
great success. They came, they saw, they helped.
continued a retreat for Youth called Jornada but this stopped when
certain pastors suddenly did not make available any space in their
abandoned convents for the retreat... it was the beginning of the end.
Many Youth remember Sal for this retreat and he saved many from an
early demise from drugs or street life.
introduced the Juan XXIII retreat movement into the Diocese and wanted
the parish to be the center. In other Dioceses this is normal, but he
encountered opposition and was eventually replaced by some who wanted
to change the retreat pattern (a no-no). These people, no longer
involved in the church were the beginning of unjustified complaints. A
priest was appointed in Vineland to lead the retreats and finally, it
now has no priest-spiritual director, as it should, but the lay
director is still very cordial and grateful to Sal for the retreats
which are once again held in the Church hall.
purchased showers, toilets, a kitchen, and redid the church hall so
that the retreat might be able to be held with dignity.
renovated the Church kitchen and the bathrooms not only in the church
but in the school to provide decent facilities not only for parish
activities but for the new San Miguel School.
personally painted all the classrooms and hallways in the school
building in preparation for San Miguel to begin is mission for the
kids. (nobody knows that, but I was there and saw it with my own eyes.
are many more things that Sal used to do, like get up at two in the
morning to get drug dealers off the street. There were times when
drivers with loud radios would lower them when passing the church out
worked with police and city officials to make South Camden safe (no
frills, no newspaper articles).
was told not to solicit businesses (big one) who were helping a near
by parish that fills with outside people on Sundays but still is doing
"business". Sal's church was filled with poor neighborhood
are many other things that Sal did which we have not listed here...but
in all the time from 1998 to 2005 he never took a vacation and no one
from his religious community wanted to come to the parish to give is
only companions Sal had and still has are his Huskies...they know and
battered and in dire financial straights, Father Scuderi still
lives at South 4th and Division Streets, unshaken in his faith
and to this day fighting the good fight for his fellow man in
his quiet way. Others locally who claim to serve God feel the
need to see their reflections in His light, and have gone as far
as to claim to speak on His behalf on all matter of things.
While this may be a good business model, one has to wonder what
will be made of it all at the end of days. Of what will be said
of Father Sal Scuderi, however, I have no doubt. What has he has
done, is doing, and continues to do while not seeking the
limelight like a politcian or a rock star speaks volumes-
April 25, 2011