University president to speak at Holy Name event

Jesuit Father Kevin Gillespie, president of St. Joseph’s University, will be the guest of honor at the annual Holy Name of Camden reception at Tavistock Country Club on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Father Gillespie, an alumnus of St. Joseph’s (’72), is an active participant in the ministries at Holy Name of Camden.

Jesuit Father Mark Aita, M.D., founder and past director of St. Luke’s Catholic Medical Services, and Dr. Lesly D’Ambola, present director of St. Luke’s, will receive the “Reaching Out To Those In Need” award at this event.

Father Aita and Dr. D’Ambola have given almost 30 years of combined service to St. Luke’s, which provides quality medical care to the primarily Latino population in North Camden and surrounding communities.

“We are very proud to present this award to Father Mark and Dr. Lesly,” said Sister Helen Cole, SSJ, executive director of the Holy Name of Camden Ministries.

“They have served as an example of unselfish and tireless commitment to improving the lives of the wonderful people in our community,” she said.

“Father Mark,” as he is affectionately known to all in North Camden, came to Camden in 1983 with the dream of establishing a full service ministry program to meet the needs of the poor and marginalized in this challenged community.

He saw his dream fulfilled in the creation of St. Luke’s Catholic Medical Services where he served as medical director, internist and gerontologist from 1983-2000.

Seeing the need to also serve the mental health needs of the community, Father Mark co-founded Guadalupe Family Services with Sister Helen Cole in 1995.

“Father Mark had a vision for North Camden that was based on the message of Jesus in the Gospels to give up all that you have and come follow me,” said Sister Helen.

He also founded a community Little League program and was the driving force behind the establishment of the Holy Name Scholars ministry that provides academic, financial and service programs for Holy Name graduates in high school.

Father Mark is currently assistant director at the Institute of Catholic Bioethics at St. Joseph’s University.

Dr. D’Ambola, D.O. joined St. Luke’s in 2000 and has served as director since then. Her work in North Camden was recognized by St. Joseph’s University, her alma mater, in 2010 when she was given the Hogan Award, which is bestowed annually upon an alumnus or alumna who exemplifies Christian principles and outstanding loyal service to the University.

Dr. D’Ambola has spent her life in service for the betterment of underserved populations, starting with a two-year commitment to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) in California.

She has remained an advocate of JVC by bringing one on staff each year. The last four volunteers are attending or applying to medical school and all have the desire to provide health care to the underprivileged.

“Dr. Lesly sets an example for the young JVC volunteers that cannot be found anywhere else,” said Jesuit Father Dan Joyce, chair of the Board of Trustees of Holy Name of Camden Ministries. “We are enormously proud of her and stand in awe of her commitment to service.”

The proceeds of this event support the ministries that serve the families and children in North Camden and surrounding communities: Holy Name School, Holy Name Scholars, St. Luke’s Catholic Medical Services, Camden Center for Law and Social Justice, and Guadalupe Family Services.

Tickets are $100 per person. For information and reservations, call 856- 365-1001 or go to

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