Father
Sal
Scuderi


FATHER SAL SCUDERI led the Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Fatima Roman Catholic Church at 832 South 4th Street from 1994 until his removal by church authorities in September of 2005. He was much loved in his parish. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment while in Camden was his leading the restoration of the "White House", a home built by Antonio Mecca on South 4th Street. 

It is the opinion of this website that Father Scuderi was a victim of both temporal and church politics, that his removal was unjustified and done for reasons having nothing to do with his ministry, and that he has been badly mistreated by those who claim moral authority.

During Father Scuderi's time at Our 

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.

A former parishioner catalogued some of his activities in an e-mail, which follows:

He (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.

He renovated the school, the rectory, the church and the church hall with the help of friends of the parish.

He 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.

He 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.

He 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.

He purchased showers, toilets, a kitchen, and redid the church hall so that the retreat might be able to be held with dignity.

He 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.

He 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.

There 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 of respect.

He worked with police and city officials to make South Camden safe (no frills, no newspaper articles).

He 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 people.

There 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 relief.

The only companions Sal had and still has are his Huskies...they know and love him.

Although 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- 

Phil Cohen
April 25, 2011


Camden Courier-Post - September 6, 2005

'Loved' Camden Priest Removed

By ALONSO HEREDIA
Courier-Post Staff
 

The Rev. Salvador "Sal" Scuderi, who served as priest for 11 years at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Fatima, has been removed from the position, Bishop Joseph Galante announced Sunday. 

No official explanation for the move was offered, although it was described as involuntary. Galante called Scuderi's removal from the parish a decision from his superiors.

The announcement stunned many parishioners at the South 4th Street church, many of whom were left asking for an explanation and wishing for a chance to say goodbye.

Scuderi was not at Sunday morning's Mass, and he could not be reached for comment. Monsignor Robert McDermott, pastor of St. Joseph's Pro-Cathedral in Camden, has been assigned temporarily to replace him.

During his homily Sunday, Galante praised Scuderi and described him as a longtime dedicated servant to the community.

Some parishioners criticized Scuderi. 

Other parishioners, however, say they support Scuderi unconditionally.

Angelica Feliciano described Scuderi as a saint and recalled him being by her family's side when her mother died.

"He was a priest that was very much loved by us," said Feliciano, adding it was "not fair" to have Scuderi removed "without allowing us to give him a thankful hug and to say goodbye."

Nydia Sanchez said she left the Catholic church for 20 years. She went back only after Scuderi's intervention but now says she will stop attending the parish and may give up Catholicism.

Scuderi belongs to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary missionaries congregation, based in Rome. McDermott said the reasons for Scuderi's removal must be asked of his superiors there.


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