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DiPaul, Larry

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Feb. 15, 2017

Lawrence “Larry” M. DiPaul, 66, of Ardmore, a tireless advocate for the Catholic Church’s teachings on life and social justice in the Diocese of Camden and beyond, died Feb. 15.
From 2007-09, DiPaul was the Camden Diocese’s director of the Office of Social Justice Ministries, leading the diocese’s efforts to integrate Catholic social teaching into the life of South Jersey Catholics, through advocacy, service and faith formation.
In 2009, his office combined with the Office of Respect Life, to form the Office of Life and Justice, with DiPaul as director, working with clergy, religious and laity in the call to live in solidarity with all of God’s people, especially the most vulnerable, and promote a consistent and seamless ethic of life from conception to natural death.
Before his work in the diocese, from 2004-07 he was director of the Romero Center, a retreat and social justice education center in East Camden, affiliated with St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral.

To the high school and college students who came to the Romero Center from all over the nation, DiPaul “left a good and lasting impression,” recalled Msgr. Robert McDermott, pastor at St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral.
“He had great passion for his work, and was able and willing to see the goodness in people,” he said. “Larry realized that justice is Gospel-driven and part of our existence.”
Kevin Moran, now executive director of New Visions Homeless Day Shelter in Camden, was hired by DiPaul in 2005 to be associate director of the Romero Center.
Remembering his “spiritual mentor,” Moran said DiPaul “was a genuine man, who lived his faith through action. He was a remarkable individual, living out the Gospel. He formed so many friendships over the years.”
He said DiPaul was the living example of the quote from St. Francis of Assisi to “preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”
While at the Romero Center in 2005 DiPaul worked with the over 600 volunteers of the Project One initiative, a diocesan-wide effort to clean up the Gulf region in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Before and after their trips to New Orleans, DiPaul met with the volunteers, leadings reflections on the Gospel and Catholic social teaching.
“Larry was a fierce advocate for faith and justice, with a mild manner,” remembered Kevin Hickey, executive director of Catholic Charities, sponsor of Project One.
“He had a wonderful quality of seeing the sacred and divine in all of life. What he did for so many of us, through his work, was to give us a glimpse of the promised land, building societies in the right relationship of God. He was a prophetic voice,” Hickey said.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, DiPaul was a 1965 graduate of St. Joseph Preparatory School, and he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s of divinity from St. Charles Seminary in Overbrook.
A former priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he served as associate pastor at parishes there in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
He was associate professor of Immaculata College, Immaculata, Pa. (2000-01), and Holy Family College (1986-99), teaching theology and social justice.
DiPaul also taught theology and was director of Christian Service programs at Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, Pennsauken (2004) and Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pa. (1997-2004).
He was pastoral care and community relations coordinator for the Compassionate Care Hospice, Marlton, and volunteered with the Bethesda Project, serving homeless men and women. He served on the boards of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Habitat for Humanity in West Philadelphia, and the Diocese of Camden’s Racial Justice Commission.
DiPaul was the fiancée of Jenny Fair; husband of the late Carol DiPaul; son of Josephine (nee Vitali) and the late Larry DiPaul; brother of Leonard (Ellen) and Vincent (Terry); step-father of John Petrarca. He is also survived by six nieces, a nephew, and four great-nieces and great-nephews.
A Mass of Christian burial was held on Feb. 20 in St. Denis Church, Havertown. Interment was to be at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 21, in St. Denis Cemetery.