Camden Diocese Merger Plan Undergoes Revision

By David O’reilly
Philadelphia Inquirer

August 26, 2008

Bishop Joseph Galante announced today that St. Vincent Pallotti Roman Catholic Church in Haddon Township will remain open as a secondary worship site in a modified plan for reconfiguring the Camden Diocese.

The change is one of a number of revisions in a massive diocese restructuring program announced April 3 that was to cut the number of parishes from 124 to 66 over two years. In today's announcement the diocese said that the mergers will now result in 68 parishes.

St. Vincent's pastor and some of its parishioners had publicly pleaded with Galante to keep the church open after learning that their parish would be merged with St. Aloysius parish in Oaklyn.

St. Vincent's had recently undergone extensive renovations to make it accessible to the handicapped. St. Aloysius will remain the center of the merged parish.

The Rev. Louis Marucci, the handicapped pastor of St. Vincent's, may stay on in the church's rectory, which was modified recently to allow him easy use of his wheelchair. But Galante has named Monsignor Leonard Scott the "priest convener" of the new parish and he will guide its restructuring. Most priest conveners will become the pastors of their parishes, the diocese has said.

In other changes, Galante has decided to keep St. Joseph's Pro-Cathedral in Camden a stand-alone parish rather than merge it with St. Cecilia's in Pennsauken and St. Veronica's in Delair. The latter two parishes will merge, with the parish center to be located at St. Cecilia's.

The bishop also has revised his plans for the merger of St. Bartholomew and St. Joan of Arc parishes, both in Camden. St. Bartholomew will now be the center of the merged parish with St. Joan serving as a worship site.

In several Jersey Shore parishes, secondary worship sites that were scheduled to close in the winter may now remain open. Pastors at those worship sites will be permitted to make the final determination.

In total, Galante announced the appointments of 41 priest conveners who will oversee the reconfigurations of the new parishes.

Contact satt writer David O'Reilly at 215-854-5723 or


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