Father Ferrara named Margate pastor; Father O’Neill and Father Wise retire

Bishop Joseph A. Galante has named Father Joseph R. Ferrara as pastor of Holy Trinity Parish, Margate, for a six year term, effective June 19.

Father Ferrara will continue as pastor, St. Simon Stock, Berlin, where he has served since November 2009.

The bishop also announced the retirement of two priests:

— Father Brian E. O’Neill, Senior Priest, St. Simon Stock, Berlin, and Ministry to the Deaf, will retire July 9.

— Father Paul C. Wise, administrator, St. Monica, Atlantic City, retired July 1.

Father Ferrara, 58, served for many years in education and was the founding pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Parish, Egg Harbor Township, 2000-04, and pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Berlin, 2006-09. He also has served as vicar for clergy and director of clergy personnel for the Diocese of Camden.

He taught religion at Holy Spirit High School, Absecon, 1979-82, and Paul VI, Haddon Township, 1982-92. He was vice principal of St. James High School, Carneys Point, 1992-97, and vice principal of St. Joseph, Hammonton, 1997-2000.

Father Ferrara studied at Glassboro (now Rowan) State University, Glassboro, and St. Francis Seminary, Loretta, Pa. He was ordained May 20, 1977, in St. Bridget Church, Glassboro. He served as parochial vicar of St. Vincent Pallotti Parish, Haddon Township, 1977-79, and Holy Family, Sewell, 1998.

Father O’Neill, 69, has been a pastor and military chaplain and has spent years ministering to hearing impaired Catholics.

He worked full time as director of Ministry With the Deaf for more than two decades, 1980-2002. He was pastor of St. Gregory Parish, Magnolia, 2002-08, and was a chaplain stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Richmond, Va., 2008-09.

Father O’Neill attended Resurrection College, Ontario, Canada, and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington, N.J., and was ordained May 18, 1968, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden.

He was parochial vicar at St. Maria Goretti Parish, Runnemede, 1968-71; Sacred Heart, Camden, 1971-76; St. Andrew, Gibbsboro, 1976-77; and St. Mary, Gloucester, 1977-80.

In retirement he will reside at Sacred Heart Residence for Priests, Cherry Hill.

Father Wise was born in Philadelphia in 1940 where he attended elementary and Catholic high school. Upon graduation from high school, he enrolled in Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism, receiving certification upon completion.

Father Wise worked for the Philadelphia Bulletin as a biographical researcher, for the Philadelphia Tribune in advertising sales, and was the first African American to work in an all-white public relations agency in Philadelphia.

He worked for Catholic Social Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia in their foster home department, eventually moving to police work for the Philadelphia Department in juvenile gang control. He taught at Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, at Cathedral Academy in Camden, at St. Paul’s Indian Mission in Marty, S.D., and at the Diocesan Religious Institute.

Father Wise graduated from St. Peter’s Seminary, London, Ontario, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Sacred Theology; then a Master’s in Divinity at St. Charles, Philadelphia. He has received his Doctorate (D.Min.) from the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. He also has his Criminal Justice Counseling (CJC) certification from the state of New Jersey.

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