The statement below is by Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. on behalf of the Freeholder Board in regard to the passing of Msgr. Robert McDermott, long-time Pastor of St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral Parish.
“It is with profound sadness the Freeholder Board says a final goodbye to Father Bob, an esteemed member of the Camden clergy and a larger than life champion of his parish and our community. He was a visionary when he came to St. Joes Pro-Cathedral Parish back in the 1980s and he took many progressive initiatives to the streets of East Camden. His ministry oversaw the creation and operation of St. Joseph’s Carpenter’s Society, a community development corporation that has rebuilt more than 1,100 units. These projects had taken on shuttered and abandoned housing stock throughout ravaged sections of East Camden, renovating and transforming it, then training and finding new homeowners. Basically, Father Bob would deliver the dream of homeownership hundreds of individuals that would never have the opportunity to enjoy it. That said, he never gave anything away for free and each new homeowner had to earn it.
He expanded the ministry to include the work of the Carpenter’s Society, homeless initiatives at Joseph’s House and the critical work of the elementary school and early childhood development center on parish grounds. Words cannot express the good works Father Bob did over his career in the city, nor can they do justice to his tireless commitment to our community. We will miss his presence and take solace that his legacy will continue to live on in the homes, services and education that St. Joe’s provides every day to city residents. In short, Father Bob left outsized shoes for all of us to fill, a task that will take the combined efforts of our entire county to fulfill his dreams.”