Bishop announces five priests to retire


Bishop Dennis Sullivan announced on July 17 that five priests of the Camden Diocese will retire on July 1.

— Father Alvaro Diaz, parochial vicar of Saint Damien Parish, Ocean City. He will continue in residence there.

— Father Anthony R. DiBardino, pastor of the Catholic Community of the Holy Spirit, Mullica Hill.

— Father Phillip M. Johnson, pastor of Saint Thomas More, Cherry Hill.

— Msgr. Roger E. McGrath, pastor of Saints Peter and Paul, Turnersville.

— Father Peter M. Saporito, pastor of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel, Hammonton.

Father Diaz, 74, has served at Saint Damien Parish since 2011. Originally from Colombia, where he was ordained on Dec. 1, 1973, he came to South Jersey in 1991. Much of his active ministry in the Diocese of Camden has been in Hispanic ministry.

His first assignments in the diocese were as parochial vicar at Holy Spirit, Atlantic City, 1991-93, and Saint Nicholas, Egg Harbor, 1993-96. He was an associate at the Spanish Catholic Center in Vineland from 1996-2001, and then served at Saint Peter, Pleasantville, first as parochial vicar, 2001-04, and then as pastor, 2004-09.

Father Diaz split his time at Saint Augustine, Ocean City, 2009-11, serving as part-time parochial vicar and serving the Hispanics in the area. He did the same at Saint Damien from 2011 until 2015 when he became full time parochial vicar.

Father DiBardino, 69, was pastor of Saint Cecilia Parish, Pennsauken, 2000-02 (after serving the parish for five years as parochial vicar and then administrator); Holy Name of Jesus in Mullica Hill, 2002-10; and Saint Joseph, Woodstown, 2010, until those parishes were combined in the merger that resulted in the Catholic Community of the Holy Spirit in 2010.

He was parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament, Margate, 1976-80; Saint Patrick, Woodbury, 1980-81; Saint Stephen, Pennsauken, 1981-84; Saint Peter Celestine, 1984-90; and Assumption, Atco, 1990-95.

He was ordained May 22, 1976, at Corpus Christi, Carney’s Point.

Father Johnson, 69, has been at Saint Thomas More, Cherry Hill, since 2012, first as Priest in Charge, and since 2016 as pastor.

He was part of the ministry team at Saint Bridget University Parish, Glassboro, 2010-12.

Born in Talequah, Oklahoma, he was ordained May 22, 2010, at Incarnation Parish, Mantua.

Msgr. McGrath, 75, has been pastor in Turnersville since 2014 and previously at Our Lady of Grace, Somerdale, 2001-05. But much of his active ministry has been in administrative roles, both inside and outside of the Diocese of Camden.

He has been director of diocesan relations for The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and for the Diocese of Camden he was director of evangelization, communications and development. In 1990 he was appointed Vicar for Pastoral Services for the Diocese of Camden.

He holds a doctorate in theology from Notre Dame and worked as a professor and acting dean at Saint Mary’s Seminary and University, Baltimore, 1991-98, and at the seminary at The Catholic University of America, Washington, 1998-2000. He returned to the diocese as director of Nazareth House, a discernment house in Cherry Hill, 2000-01, and later supervisor of seminarians.

In 2005 Msgr. McGrath was appointed Episcopal Vicar for Administration and Moderator of the Curia, and two years later Vicar General.

He was ordained May 22, 1971 at Saint Joseph Pro-Cathedral, Camden.

Father Saporito, 70, has been pastor of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel since 2016. He was pastor of Our Lady of Pompeii, Vineland, 2000-03, and Saint Padre Pio, Vineland, 2003-15.

He was ordained May 7, 1977, as a Conventual Franciscan in Albany, N.Y., and came to the Diocese of Camden in 1989. He was chaplain of Sacred Heart High School, Vineland from 1989-1993, and assistant principal and Director of Guidance, 1991-1993.

He was principal of Saint James High School, Carney’s Point, in the late 1990s.

Father Saporito’s other assignments included Saint Mary, Williamstown; and Saint Raymond, Villas.