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Funeral Services Held for Retired North Cape May Pastor, Father Richard L. Forbes, age 80

Father Richard L. Forbes, 80, former pastor in North Cape May, died on April 28.

Since his retirement in 2009, he had made Cherry Hill’s Sacred Heart Residence his home. Screen Shot 2021-05-14 at 20.13.24

Born in New York on July 22, 1940, Father Forbes studied for the priesthood at Our Lady of the Angels Seminary in Albany, N.Y., and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Camden on May 20, 1967, by Archbishop Celestine J. Damiano.

From 1998 until his retirement, he was pastor of Saint John of God in North Cape May. From 1997-98, he served as administrator of Atlantic City’s Saint Michael Parish.

He was parochial vicar at Sacred Heart, Mount Ephraim (1972-77); Saint Cecilia, Pennsauken (1986-91); and Our Lady of Grace, Somerdale (1993-97).

In the 1970s, he was chaplain at Newcomb Hospital in Vineland.

Starting in November 1985, he began co-hosting “Up! On Air,” a weekly radio magazine program. Father Forbes and Mary Ann Johnston, RSM, from Philadelphia, would interview guests such as Mother Angelica, foundress of EWTN, and engage in prayer and discussion.

“Up! On Air” was produced by the Delaware Valley Catholic Office of TV and Radio, a multi-diocesan effort that saw the Diocese of Camden partner with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and the dioceses of Allentown, Trenton, and Wilmington to bring the Catholic faith to listeners over the airwaves.

Father Forbes and Sister Mary Ann were paired up because Joe O’Neill, the show’s producer, realized “they certainly weren’t shy,” he recalled in a March 31, 1988, story in the Philadelphia Archdiocesan newspaper the Catholic Standard and Times describing the show.

“Father Forbes is very outspoken. Sister Mary Ann has a gentle, friendly, spiritual and fun-loving side to her. Put them both together and there’s chemistry.”

The “light” show aimed to “teach with a little bit of humor,” O’Neill said in the article.

Msgr. Joseph DiMauro, a retired diocesan priest, has been a friend of Father Forbes’ since their time in seminary together at Our Lady of the Angels, and their shared ordination day in 1967.

He recalled a “wonderful friend with the gift of wit … a great storyteller who liked to make people laugh.”

On the pulpit, through his work in radio and interacting with others, Father Forbes aimed to put smiles on faces, Msgr. DiMauro said.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden, on May 4. Entombment followed at New Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Bellmawr.

This article first appeared in the Catholic Star Herald