Merged parishioners have a mixer

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Two 15-year-old, Galloway members of Boy Scout Troop 634 welcome guests at Assumption Regional Catholic School. Eric Shugarts, left, who celebrated his birthday Sunday, Sept. 16, is a freshman at Absegami High School. Mike Baldwin is a sophomore at Cedar Creek.

GALLOWAY – Six hours sounds like a long time for a pot luck barbecue.

But not when it’s at Assumption Church and you’ve got 800 people coming.

The event Sunday, Sept. 16 was a celebration of the merger of the Assumption Parish with St. Nicholas Parish of Egg Harbor City which became official the first week of September.

The name of the new parish is Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Boy Scouts from Assumption-sponsored Troop 634 grilled hot dogs and hamburgers outside to go with side dishes and desserts prepared by parishioners.

There were games. The music was both live by a number of local groups and canned with a DJ,

Rev. Nicholas Dudo is pastor of the newly official parish.

“This celebration of our new parish is an opportunity to celebrate with all of our active parishioners, for which we are so blessed,” Dudo said. “It will also be an opportunity to welcome parishioners who have not been active nor have not been regular attendees to services. It is a time of new beginnings and I hope we can reach out to all.”

Dudo explained that the physical churches will remain as they are.

“Churches are consecrated before they go into service,” he said. “We’re not going to unconsecrated the buildings. But the parishes of Assumption and St. Nicholas will cease to exist and there will be one parish at both locations.”

He said that services will continue to be held at both sites, with the priests alternating locations.

Troop 634 Boy Scout Eric Shugarts manned a welcome table with fellow Scout Mike Baldwin.

When asked his age, Shugarts said, “Fourteen,” and quickly corrected himself: “Fifteen.”

Advised that the questions would only get harder as we moved along, Shugarts explained that Sunday, Sept. 16 was his 15th birthday. Later the singing of “Happy Birthday” could be heard all the way to the other side of the Assumption Regional Catholic School building.

“We’re just the welcome table,” Shugarts said. “We greet people and maybe tell them a little about the Boy Scouts.”

His partner, Baldwin, said part of the welcome was directing folks inside where the food was.

Andy Martin represented the parish youth group at a nearby table.

“We are based and physically at both sites,” said of his parish-wide organization. “We’ll bounce back and forth. It’ll give the kids a chance to meet new friends.”

Robert Luke, grand knight of the Knights of Columbus Villa Maria Council 6342 said he was recruiting new members.

“Come join us and help serve the community,” Luke said.

One of the Scouts working the grill was Shane Bell, 15, a Life Scout.

“I’m working on my Eagle Scout project,” Bell said. “We’re putting in a fitness area with uneven bars, a horizontal ladder and spring balance beam in back of the school here.”

He’s working on fundraising to purchase the equipment, Bell said. Anyone wanting to help a youngster promoting health for his Eagle project can contact Bell by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Andy Martin was giving out information about the Our Lady of Perpetual Help youth group.

From left are twins Ashley and Hayley Delarosby, 13, Irenonsen Eigbe, 11, and Amanda Robichaud, 10, all of Galloway, try to sign up volunteers for ushers and altar services.

Grand Knight Robert Luke seeks new members for Villa Maria Council 6342 of the Knights of Columbus.

Troop 634 Boy Scouts put their cooking skills to good use. From left are Andrew Hart, 13, first class Scout; Brendan Kopervos and Brian Shugarts, both 11-year-old tenderfoot Scouts, and Shane Bell, 15, a Life Scout.

The food line extends out into the hallway for much of Sunday, Sept. 16.

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