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Retired Paterson Priest Of Haledon Finds New Calling As Therapist, Artist

Dr. Louis Scurti loves working with all of his families.
Dr. Louis Scurti loves working with all of his families. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Dr. Louis Scurti
The father at dinner with his family.
The father at dinner with his family. Photo Credit: Provided
His beloved dog Santa Anna.
His beloved dog Santa Anna. Photo Credit: Provided

HALEDON, N.J. -- Father Louis Scurti of Haledon loves families -- his church family, his own family, and the families he counsels as a licensed marriage and family therapist.

The retired priest, who has a Ph.D as a therapist, still works delivering homilies and with parishioners, constantly is on the move and loves every minute of his life.

"Free time?" he laughs. "I'm always busy either working with patients or the church, with family, reading, traveling, playing with my dog or with my artwork."

Did we mention he's also an artist and a sculptor? And has his own website -- www.FriendsoftheWord.org -- that offers interviews with interesting people and some of his homilies, as well as Mass schedules, prayer requests and much more.

Scurti spent more than 30 years as the campus ministry director at William Paterson University, a job he loved.

"It was just wonderful. It was the college life. I would wake up late and keep going until early in the morning," he said. "It was also rewarding working with the students and watching them grow as we worked to help the community and the world around us."

While at the college, Scurti also had a radio program, "The Word: Alive & Well," that was transmitted to more than 40 radio stations across the country.

He also developed many programs along with students to help the needy in the area, such as working with the local food pantry and with children and the elderly.

"We had a project every day of the week that was aimed at helping someone," he said.

In his practice, he finds communication tends to be the largest issue in families. He said most people bring their own life experiences into a relationship on how to handle problems and they often clash with that of their spouses, children and other family members.

He often focuses on "fighting fair," which encourages people to learn the basics of how to handle their anger and frustrations.

"People often don't know how to connect with one another," he said. "That's why I often work with entire families, so they can all learn to talk with each other and work through their problems."

Being a priest hasn't been a problem with his patients: "I don't announce that I'm also a priest, or try to convert patients. I'm simply a therapist who helps them with their problems."

What does come through is that he loves his family and his church. His voice lights up as he talks about his nieces and nephews and cousins and on and on.

But he has a real love of travel and new discoveries. He spends much of his free time exploring the world, having been places as diverse as Vietnam and the Smoky Mountains.

For Scurti, people and God are what makes the world go round and he wouldn't have it any other way.

When his time is done, how would the bigger-than-life priest like to be remembered: "As a passionate person who loved life with all its ups and downs and did his best to help those in need."

And, of course, as someone who helped spread the word through love and his actions.

To visit Scurti's website, click here.

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