Father Carmen Carlone, left, concelebrates Mass with Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio, diocesan vicar general, in the chapel of St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton, during a World Day of the Sick observance. Monitor file photo
Father Carmen Carlone, left, concelebrates Mass with Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio, diocesan vicar general, in the chapel of St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton, during a World Day of the Sick observance. Monitor file photo
Father Carmen Anthony Carlone, who was hailed as the “heart and soul” of St. Francis Medical Center as chaplain for the past 10 years, died May 29. He was 77.

“He was an amazing man in so many ways,” said Dan Moen, the Trenton hospital’s president and chief executive officer.

“His loss is immeasurable,” Moen said of Father Carlone, a priest of the Diocese of Camden who joined the hospital staff in 2010. “Father Carmen’s kindness is an example to all of us.”

Born in 1943 in Penns Grove, Father Carlone prepared for the priesthood at the Pontifical North American College, Rome, and was ordained in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 19, 1969, by Bishop James A. Hickey, who at the time was PNAC’s rector.

Upon his return to the United States, Father Carlone served as parochial vicar in St. Ann Parish, Wildwood, and St. Stephen Parish, Pennsauken. He was named administrator, and then later pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Vineland. He then served three additional assignments as pastor in St. Mary Parish, Williamstown; Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Berlin, and St. Joseph Parish, Hammonton, from where he retired in 2010.

About a month into retirement, Father Carlone was asked by Judy Persichilli, then-CEO of St. Francis Medical Center, to join the hospital staff, where he would go on to provide spiritual care to patients, community members and colleagues.

“Father Carmen moved our mission forward. He was an advocate for those in need,” Moen said. “Always ready with a warm, welcoming smile, Father Carmen embodied kindness and generosity. He believed in St. Francis being a hospital without walls, here to serve the community just as the Sisters of St. Francis set out to do many year ago.”

He also recalled how Father Carlone “built community inside our [hospital] walls, too,” through his leading the hospital’s annual blanket and coat drive for those in need. Father Carlone also headed the Spirit Committee, Volunteer Committee, the Living Our Value Awards, Nurses Week and Doctors’ Day blessings and regularly celebrated Mass for the hospital staff.

Deborah McConnaughey also has many fond memories of the priest she affectionately referred to as “Father C.”

Tellinghow she first met Father Carlone in 2005 while serving as a volunteer assistant in the hospital and then later working as his assistant in the hospital’s pastoral care ministry, McConnaughey said she found him to be a man and a leader who “had dignity, was very honest and respected by all who met him.”

“Father C. lived many principles and was very hard working and expected nothing less from anyone else,” McConnaughey said. “His contributions have been immense.”

Father Carlone’s other appointments in the Camden Diocese included: county pro-life coordinator for Upper Camden County; inter-parochial board; priests council; presbyteral council; spiritual director for New Vision Group, Vineland; spiritual moderator separated and divorced, and dean of the Central Deanery.

Father Carlone was buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, Woodstown, but a public memorial Mass in the Camden Diocese will be celebrated at a later date due to coronavirus restrictions. A memorial Mass also will be celebrated in memory of Father Carlone in St. Francis Medical Center.

Editor’s Note: Information for this story was taken from a newsletter published for employees of St. Francis Medical Center.