A conversation with Father Carlo Stirpe, pastor
Q Can you tell us a bit about the St. John’s Parish community?
A The parish was founded in 1852 in the heart of Camden. It’s a rural community and our unique location means we have to be creative spiritually, in our liturgies and in building our community. The people of St. John’s have a great love for the Church and priests, and in the last ten years we have called forth their lay leadership potential. These are exemplary individuals and many have found a “new spin” on their faith. It’s a dream for me [as the pastor] — they are open to the “new wine” and willing to do whatever needs to be done.
Q September 13 marked a special day for the parish: the dedication of the Stations of Mercy. These 15 crosses dedicated to issues of social justice stand in nearby Manley Field, accessible to all. What is the parish’s hope in building the Stations?
A The cross is the center of our faith. My hope is that the crosses call people to a deeper personal awareness of who God is, and perhaps who they are in relationship with one another. Mercy and reconciliation are needed in our times and I hope people see they can be found if their heart is open.
Q What are some of the ministries offered at St. John’s?
A Our Caring Ministry, funded by contributions from businesspeople and the community, supplies $400 grants throughout the year to people who are shy a few dollars, for things like heating fuel and hospital bills; we also give vouchers for groceries and gas. Over the last ten years, I’d estimate the Ministry has provided between $65,000 and $70,000 [in assistance]. We offer Faith Formation, our Extraordinary Ministers [of Holy Communion] visit with the sick and homebound and our liturgies involve everyone, including the very young. We call on everyone to share their giftedness… We are also planning some special activities to celebrate the Year of the Family.
Q What makes the St. John’s community special? What could a newcomer to the parish expect?
A A certain sense of sophistication — that is, a simplicity, a caring attitude, affirmation. I would encourage anyone who really wants to use their gifts, who wants to feel cared for and loved, to come join us.
St. John the Evangelist Church
22 Church Street
Camden, NY 13316
P: (315) 245-1603
Mondays and Tuesdays: 12 p.m.
Wednesdays: 9 a.m.
Saturday: 4 p.m. Vigil
Sunday: 9:30 a.m.