Msgr. Doyle is our 2016 Uachtarán Award recipient. Ann Claffey Baiada, our 2014 Uachtarán Award recipient, and her husband, Mark, founder of Bayada Home Care, underwrote the production costs of this beautiful documentary.
New documentary celebrates Msgr. Michael Doyle, the beloved ‘Heart of Camden’
Douglas Clayton fell in love with Msgr. Michael J. Doyle while directing an ambitious new documentary about him called Heart of Camden. The filmmaker has plenty of company: Tens of thousands of people in the city and beyond have embraced the Catholic priest and poet who has been Camden’s indefatigable champion for nearly half a century.
“I wanted to tell a story that inspires people to make a difference,” said Clayton, a producer (thefilmdoc.com) well as the director of the 42-minute documentary, for which he is seeking broadcast, screening, and streaming opportunities. “Father Doyle is an amazing person.”
Doyle retired in July after more than 40 years as pastor of Sacred Heart Church, a landmark in the city’s resilient Waterfront South neighborhood. What had been a dwindling congregation in a faded building has survived and thrived: The church, a brownstone landmark that opened in 1887, has been painstakingly restored, and the Sacred Heart School next door has benefactors around the world.
Doyle founded a nonprofit called Heart of Camden in 1984 that has since renovated and sold 250 neighborhood homes and helped develop a gymnasium, live theater, writers house, and art gallery with studio space. There’s also an environmental center with an urban farm. Collectively, the parish and Heart of Camden have brought new life to the Waterfront South neighborhood and helped mitigate a legacy of toxic pollution, disinvestment, and racism.
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