Bishop Dennis Sullivan released the following statement concerning the withdrawal of the Franciscan Friars from Saint Anthony of Padua Parish, Camden.
It is with great sadness that I received news from the Provincial of the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Name Province, Father Kevin Mullen, OFM, that the Franciscan Friars will be withdrawing from the Parish of Saint Anthony of Padua in Camden after 32 years. I am grateful for the ministry of the Friars to their parishioners. Since my arrival in the diocese four years ago, I know that they have the profound respect of the diocesan clergy and the love of their parishioners.
This decision by the Friars is understandable, as their numbers have decreased greatly since the mid- 1980s. They now only have 280 friars left in ministry and many of the current friars are over the age of 65. As their ministry requires them to live in community, this makes it difficult to maintain the administration of many of their parishes.
On behalf of my brother priests and the Catholic faithful of South Jersey, I wish all the friars, especially the departing Father Hugh McSherry, Father Ron Pecci, and Brother Karl Koenig, Godspeed and safe travels in their future endeavors.
The new administration of Saint Anthony of Padua Church will be announced later this month.