Nestled in the heartbreak and poverty of South Camden, New Jersey, sits the Scared Heart Church. It serves as a beacon of light, welcoming all persons from near and far to come inside its doors and experience the power of hope. For 35 years, a humble yet well known priest strives each day to provide peace and hope to those in need. He is innovative, compassionate, and committed to spreading God’s love to the otherwise forgotten, abandoned and hopeless.
Father Michael Doyle felt committed to peace from a young age. He has always been a positive influence to others through thought, word, and most importantly, action. Fr. Doyle aims to spread the message of hope throughout Camden, NJ, encouraging everyone to have faith that tomorrow will be a better day and despite the most horrid conditions, people can still create their own destiny.
Fr. Doyle is a champion of peace. He has dedicated his life to Camden’s deteriorating neighborhoods. He founded “The Heart of Camden,” which is a program that transforms abandoned houses into suitable dwelling places and sells them to residents. As of January 2011, the parish had rehabilitated 200 neighborhood homes. Additionally, the Sacred Heart Church functions as a soup kitchen each weekend, feeding hundreds of families in need.
While visiting Camden with my good friend, John Connors, I was privileged to be introduced to Fr. Doyle. I was moved by his compassion for others and inspired by his steadfast determination to transform the area house by house, family by family, and person by person. In our brief conversation, Fr. Doyle instilled a sense of hope within my heart just by describing the people his parish served and the mission he carries out with such humility.
From the schools to the parish and out in the violent and broken neighborhoods, Fr. Doyle is a living beacon for hope and peace. For these many reasons, Father Michael Doyle is truly a silent hero.