The pastor of St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish, which was formed last year by the rocky merger of two Montclair churches, is being transferred to a parish in Bergen County.

The Rev. Joseph Scarangella effective July 1 will be leaving Montclair to go the Church of St. Mary in Closter, several parishioners were informed on Sunday morning. Scarangella had been pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception on North Fullerton Avenue in Montclair before the Archdiocese of Newark merged it last fall with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Pine Street to create the new parish.

The Rev. A Benny Prado, who is now at the Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River, will be coming to St. Teresa, Montclair parishioners were told. His title will be administrator of St. Teresa.

"I'm very excited about serving in my new ministry there for Saint Theresa," Prado said in an email on Sunday. "I'm grateful for the Cardinal's confidence in this new assignment and look forward to getting to know, working with, and serving the good people there."

Following the Montclair merger Scarangella was named head of St. Teresa parish, and during the past year he has clashed with members of Mount Carmel over the combining of the two Montclair houses of worship and whether the Pine Street church will remain open.
The Rev. A. Benny Prado was at the Mass that Cardinal Joseph Tobin celebrated in Nutley last week. COURTESY REV. A. BENNY PRADO
The Rev. A. Benny Prado was at the Mass that Cardinal Joseph Tobin celebrated in Nutley last week. COURTESY REV. A. BENNY PRADO

Scarangella participated in a Mass that was celebrated by the new archbishop of Newark, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, last Tuesday, May 16, at Holy Family Church in Nutley. Tobin held the service for the North Essex deanery, a group of parishes that includes four in Montclair.

At a "town hall" that Tobin held after that Mass one Mount Carmel parishioner pleaded with the cardinal to come to Montclair and meet in efforts to save the Pine Street parish.

“I will get to Montclair eventually, not to save your church — unless, unless this is an instrument for the Church’s mission today,” Tobin told her. “I’m aware of some of the issues in Montclair. That’s why I’ll come and listen.”

Members of the Save Our Lady of Mount Carmel Committee have met with representatives of the archdiocese to discuss the fate of their parish, which ultimately is in Tobin's hands.

Archdiocese spokesman Jim Goodness on Sunday confirmed that Scarangella was leaving St. Teresa and that Prado was coming there, but didn't have any more details.

According to the Church of the Presentation's website, Prado earned his B.A. from St. John's University in Jamaica, Queens. He was ordained a priest May 29, 2004, earning an M.Div. and M.A. in theology from the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University.

"His parish assignment was at the Resurrection Parish in Jersey City and then to Sts. Peter and Paul in Hoboken, New Jersey," the site says. "Father Benny has organized mission trips to Jamaica, in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. He is originally from Nicaragua and moved to the states when he was 15 years old. He grew up in the Bronx. Father Benny enjoys running, hiking, and above all loves to travel the world."

The chair of the Mount Carmel committee, Frank Cardell, and member Raffaele Marzullo earlier this year claimed that pastor Scarangella has stymied their efforts to make Mount Carmel grow. Those considered “in conflict” with the goals of St. Teresa’s parish are “considered outcasts,” according to Cardell.