Father John Scully died July 30 after an illness, following the publication of The Monitor Magazine's Lives of Faith religious anniversaries issue. 

Marking 50 years of priestly ministry, Father John Scully has found many ways in which to minister – chiefly in parishes of the Diocese, as well as among law enforcement officers, for whom he had a great love.

Born in Trenton May 30, 1944, Father Scully's home parish was Blessed Sacrament Parish, Trenton, which is now part of Sacred Heart Paris, Trenton. He attended St. Philip Neri School, Boston, and St. Charles College, Catonsville, Md. He prepared for the priesthood in St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore, where he received his Master of Divinity degree, and was ordained to the priesthood May 20, 1972, by Bishop George W. Ahr in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton.

After ordination Father Scully’s first assignment was in Corpus Christi Parish, Willingboro. Three years later he moved to St. Mary Parish, New Monmouth, where his responsibilities included both St. Mary Grammar School and Mater Dei High School (which became Mater Dei Prep, now closed). Further assignments included two years in St. James Parish, Woodbridge (now in the Metuchen Diocese), followed by time in St. Barnabas Parish, Bayville.

His first assignment as a pastor came in 1982, when he moved to Holy Innocents Parish, Neptune. While ministering there, he also served as chaplain of the Neptune Police Department for 15 years, looking forward to the Blue Mass celebrated in the Cathedral each year.

While ministering in Holy Innocents, Father Scully formed a committee in 1990 to determine interest in and support for the construction of a new church building – and 88 percent of parishioners agreed it was a worthy investment. The parish raised $1.2 million in pledges; following its construction, the new worship space was dedicated by Bishop John C. Reiss in 1992.

Father Scully served on the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal along with Msgr. Edward Strano, who later recommended Father Scully to replace him as pastor of St. Clement Parish, Matawan, upon his own retirement.

For 18 years Father Scully shepherded the parish community in Matawan before his retirement in June 2015. Notable accomplishments during his pastorship include the establishment of House of Hope, a property converted into a meeting space for various support groups; structural improvements to St. Clement Parish property; and intentional involvement in the spiritual development of young parishioners, regularly inviting children to come to the altar following the Gospel reading to dialogue with him about Jesus’ message in the Scriptures.

“I am very proud of our religious education program and the numerous volunteers who assist us with teaching at St. Clement,” he said in a 2018 interview at the time of his retirement, “and the enthusiasm our children have for learning about Jesus and the Church.”

During his time at St. Clement, he served as chaplain of the Aberdeen Police Department and witnessed firsthand the devastation at Ground Zero. “Our parishioners volunteered and collected supplies and organized them inside our parish gym. It was an incredible collective effort by our parish and local communities that were hit hard by loss from that terrible attack,” Father Scully recalled. “We lost six parishioners. I visited each family at their homes. It was a traumatic time and experience for all, and we were proud one year later to honor the victims with a monument on the grounds of St. Clement where they could always be remembered.”

In January 2011 Father Scully was honored by the Matawan Borough Council as the “Citizen of the Year” for his years of faithful service to the community. St. Clement Parish also honored him by naming the religious educational building after him, in recognition of his support for religious education and youth of the parish.

Upon his retirement, Father Scully served in various parishes, until recent health issues prevented him from doing so.