2018-06-06 / Voice at the Shore

EHT’s McCollough receives Schiavo Leadership Award from Beth El


Schiavo service honorees (from left), Father Joseph Wallace, Claire Collins, and James “Sonny” McCollough. Schiavo service honorees (from left), Father Joseph Wallace, Claire Collins, and James “Sonny” McCollough. Egg Harbor Township Mayor James “Sonny” McCollough, Father Joseph D. Wallace of the Diocese of Camden, and Claire Collins of Holy Trinity Parish were honored by Beth El in Margate May 22 during the synagogue’s annual Father Tom Schiavo Interfaith Memorial Service.

Founded by Rabbi Aaron Krauss, the Schiavo service honors the memory of an assistant pastor from Blessed Sacrament Church, a neighboring church to Beth El. Awards are given out annually during the service to those whose work has benefited the local community or advanced interfaith relations and understanding.

Retiring Egg Harbor Township Mayor James “Sonny” McCollough received the Tom Schiavo Devoted Leadership Award, presented by EHT Committeeman Frank Finnerty. Mayor McCollough was lauded for his many years of devotion to Atlantic County leadership.

Claire Collins, choir director of Holy Trinity Parish and chair of the music department at Holy Spirit High School, received the Sisterhood Award, presented by her own sister, Patti Capaldi. Other speakers, who included former students, also praised Collins, who has brought choirs to the Schiavo service for many years.

Collins herself also conducted two powerful pieces during the course of the service, including the well-known “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. The pieces were performed by the combined choirs of Blessed Sacrament and Holy Spirit High School, as well as the Beth El choir, directed by Cantor Ralph Goren.

Father Joseph Wallace received the Tom Schiavo Brotherhood award, presented by Father Robert Hughes, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Camden, who had high praise for his colleague’s community work. Father Wallace has been involved with ecumenical and interreligious affairs for more than 25 years, and writes a regular column on the subject for the Catholic Star Herald. He has also been the president of Wildwood Catholic High School since 2009 and is the Pastor of the Notre Dame De La Mer Parish in North Wildwood.

At the conclusion of the service, Dr. Beverly Vaughn of Stockton University led all attendees in a rousing chorus of “God Bless America.” s

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