To tears from his parishioners, a man of the cloth and for the people of Camden is retiring — at 85
by Valerie Russ,
Many of the church’s white parishioners had fled to Pennsauken, or Cherry Hill, or other South Jersey suburbs.
As a result, both the church and Sacred Heart School struggled to stay afloat. About 80% of the school’s current students are not Catholic.
But poverty did not scare Father Michael, as his congregation calls him. He was born in Ireland on a farm, the second of five children.
“It was a field, not a town,” he said of his origins, a community named Rossduff which, ironically, translates to “black woods,” similar to the name of a town in Camden County: Blackwood.
“The poorest child in Camden probably had a better Christmas than I ever had,” Doyle, 85, said Sunday, just days after the Diocese of Camden announced he would be retiring later this month.
Doyle talked about his imminent retirement, his passion for Camden, and growing up in Ireland, just after helping celebrate the first public Sunday morning Mass at Sacred Heart since March 15, when the coronavirus forced the temporary shuttering of most places of worship in an effort to reduce the spread of the deadly virus.