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Bishop Joseph Galante to preside at ground breaking new senior housing project in Cherry Hill

Most Reverend Joseph A. Galante, D.D., J.C.D., Bishop of Camden, will preside at a ground breaking ceremony for a new senior housing project in Cherry Hill:

  Ground Breaking Ceremony
Thursday, September 27, 2012
10:00 AM
206 St. Mary’s Drive
Cherry Hill, New Jersey

The new 74-unit Benedict’s Place senior housing development is sponsored by the Diocesan Housing Services Corporation of the Diocese of Camden, Inc.

Funding for the $16.6M project was provided by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD $11.6M) the New Jersey Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (NJ-HMFA $4.1M), Camden County HOME ($500K), Cherry Hill Township Affordable Housing Trust Funds ($350K)

“There is a need for quality, affordable housing in many parts of New Jersey,” said Most Reverend Joseph A. Galante, Bishop of Camden. “The Diocese of Camden is committed to ensuring that people in South Jersey have access to decent, affordable housing that not only provides adequate shelter but allows them to live in a way worthy of their God-given dignity.”

The Diocesan Housing Services Corporation currently offers 637-units of affordable housing to low income family and senior households at Victorian Towers (Cape May), Village Apartments (Cherry Hill), Davenport Village (Hainesport), Shepherd’s Farm (W. Deptford), Stonegate at St. Stephen (Pennsauken), Haven House at St. John of God (N. Cape May) and the Village at St. Peter’s (Pleasantville).

“Benedict’s Place is a continuation of our strategy to provide more affordable housing in areas of need,” explained Peter O’Connor, President of the Diocesan Housing Services Corporation Board of Trustees.

“We are committed to providing an ‘on budget’ property that is not only affordable for seniors, but through management and design has features that result in resident and community pride,” said Curtis H. Johnson, Jr., executive director of the Diocesan Housing Services Corporation.

Eligible senior residents must be at least 62 years and meet income and other federal and state requirements. For more information, call 856-342-4150.                                   


Bishop Galante dedicated Altar at All Saints Mausoleum Chapel in Newfield

On Sat., Sept. 15, the Mausoleum Chapel officially opened with an inaugural Mass and dedication of the altar at 11 AM.   Participants were welcome to attend the Mass as well as tour the chapel, mausoleum and beautiful grounds of All Saints Cemetery from 9 AM until 3 PM.  Counselors were available to discuss pre-planning burial and entombment options and savings.  All Saints, located at 1300 Tuckahoe Road, Newfield is one of 14 cemeteries in the Diocese of Camden.

For more information, contact the Diocesan Cemetery Administration Office at 856-583-2881.

"Appreciating the contributions of Religious women," Bishop Galante's message in the Catholic Star Herald

Religious Sisters have been very much in the news over the past several months. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a report expressing concerns not about Religious Sisters in general, but about the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) concerning some doctrinal questions. (LCWR is the organization representing the leadership of most Sisters’ communities in the United States).

Without entering into the specifics of the Congregation’s concern, I want to comment on the presence and contribution of Religious Sisters to the Church here in our country and throughout the world.

It was my privilege to spent 24 years working closely with Religious, and in particular with Religious Sisters. My life was greatly enriched by my interaction with Sisters in the 18 years that I was a vicar for Religious in Brownsville, Texas, and especially in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as well as the six years I spend as undersecretary for the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes in Rome.

Sisters have contributed, and continue to contribute, in so many ways to the life of the Church. So often we focus on the work they do, their ministries. My principal focus has been to look at and understand what is called the particular “charism” of each Religious Institute.

A charism is a particular way of hearing the Gospel message and of so being formed by that aspect of the Gospel that one relates it to all of reality, God, self, human relationships and ministry.

For example, St. Francis of Assisi understood the Gospel in the sense of living a profound sense of poverty in order to build up the Church. Mother Catherine McAuley, in founding the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin, understood the tenderness of God towards us broken and weak creatures. Others, such as the Sisters of St. Joseph, adapting the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, looked towards the spirituality of the “good neighbor.” These are merely a few examples of how different Religious institutes live out their call.

The women who founded Religious communities expressed their understanding of the Gospel message and invited others who heard the Gospel in the same way to join them. This reality has continued over the centuries, including the example of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who left her original teaching order community to found the Missionaries of Charity.

Religious contribute to the life of the Church by trying to live out their particular way of hearing the Gospel and responding to it. Their ministries flow out of that Gospel call. The Church continues to be enriched by the example, the dedication and the self-sacrifice of Religious women. Like all of us, including bishops, they are not perfect, they have their struggles. But they are women of prayer, of love for God and their sisters and brothers. They continue to enrich the life of the Church.

I personally owe a great deal to Religious women in terms of my own growth in prayer and heightened awareness, especially of the poor and the needy. I am grateful that I was privileged to be able to have served with and for Religious.

"Nurturing a loving relationship with God through prayer," Bishop's message in the Catholic Star Herald

Over the past few months, I have been reflecting a great deal about prayer, particularly about the Psalms which I reflect upon daily in the Divine Office.

Every priest is required to pray the breviary, which is comprised of several sections. One is the Office of Readings, which has three Psalms and two readings, one of which is Scripture, the other a selection from one of the Fathers of the Church or a Vatican Council II document.

Morning prayer consists of a hymn, three psalms, a short reading and the Canticle of  Zechariah (the Benedictus) as well as several prayer intentions for the needs of the whole Church and of particular groups.

There is also a daytime prayer, which includes three psalms, a short reading and a concluding prayer. Night prayer consists of an examination of conscience, a hymn, a Psalm, the Canticle of Simeon, and a concluding prayer, as well as a prayer to Our Lady.

The Liturgy of the Hours, as it is often called, is a wonderful practice not only for priests and deacons, but also for the laity. Some parishes offer morning and evening prayers.

But for me, the beauty and value of prayer are worship, petition, thanksgiving and, especially, praise to God through the inspirational words of the Psalms, especially in Sacred Scripture.

As St. Paul reminds us in Romans, Chapter 8, we do not know how to pray as we ought to, but the Spirit prays within us. ... Praying the Psalms is the most obvious and simplest expressions of that reality. But prayer is not only recited, but always must be reflected upon. The Psalms have become for me prayers to be savored, to be recited slowly and reflectively, to make the inspired words of the Psalmist reflect my own sentiments, my own desires.

Prayer, my dear sisters and brothers, is not something that is complicated or esoteric, reserved only for monks, cloistered nuns and the clergy. All of us have been called by our Baptism to an interior, profound and remarkable relationship with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are adopted children of the Father, brothers and sisters of Jesus the Son, and recipients of the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer is the expression of that unique relationship of love and friendship between God and ourselves. God overwhelmingly loves us. And so we express that remarkable relationship in words, in thinking, in action, and in silence.

Prayer can be done at any time, at any place. Sometimes it can be done reflectively while driving in our cars. It is good not to turn on the radio immediately after turning the ignition. Our automobiles can provide us with a time of silent reflection as we go about our daily errands or driving to work and back. At home, we too often have the noise of radio or television in the background. Silence is a great aid to prayer.

I have been blessed with the hours I have to be on dialysis. I have, thanks to God’s grace, been able to pray the Liturgy of the Hours while at dialysis. I have been greatly enriched by having so much time to reflect on each Psalm, to join my own sentiments with that of the Psalmist. But with a little bit of effort each one of us can discover, even in the midst of our busyness, the special moments of quiet reflection when we can turn our thoughts to the God who loves us.

Sometimes we may not think God loves us very much, as we focus on problems and difficulties. Sometime we may feel God is indifferent or far away and certainly not attentive to our situation. Yet I am firmly convinced that once we begin to draw closer to God in thought, word and silence, we will be surprised to discover how near, close, and concerned God is.

My dear friends, God has given us the power to be in an intimate, loving relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit. Please do not ignore or forget that great gift, the reality that God does indeed overwhelmingly love us and desires to draw us ever closer.

Decree issued on Aug. 3 establishing Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish

Bishop Joseph A. Galante formerly announces the establishment of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, formed through the consolidation of Assumption Church, Galloway, and St. Nicholas, Egg Harbor, effective Sept. 5.

The announcement establishing the new parish was made in a formal decree published in the Aug. 3 edition of the Catholic Star Herald (pages 14-15).

Father Nicholas Dudo has been named to a six-year term as pastor of the new parish, which will serve approximately 3,200 families in the Galloway and Egg Harbor City areas of Atlantic County.

Assumption Church will serve as the seat of the newly-formed parish, while St. Nicholas Church will be maintained as a worship site.

The merger in Galloway marks the end of a process which saw 38 mergers in a diocesan-wide reconfiguration that was the result of years of study by parish and deanery planners, who considered population and demographic trends.

“As we come to an end of this merger process, I am most grateful to all parishioners in the diocese, especially conveners and core teams, whose sacrifices, hard work, and dedication have brought about what has been accomplished,” said Bishop Galante.

“As we go forward, we (create) more inviting, more active, and more vibrant parishes” to meet the needs of the faithful, and help them learn how to “know Jesus more intimately, love Jesus more ardently, and live Jesus more totally.”

The first merger took place in 2009, with the creation of the Catholic Community of Christ Our Light in Cherry Hill, which brought together the parish communities of St. Peter Celestine and Queen of Heaven.

Since then, the number of parishes in the diocese has gone from 124 to 70.