Tearful News

As much as I enjoyed the Thanksgiving weekend, especially with my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and their three children here with me, I was very preoccupied.

Because I knew that Monday would bring very somber news: 26 of our beloved schools could no longer make it, and would be prepared for closing in June after this school year.

I dread this! I’d rather be opening new schools, not closing some! Those poor children, teachers, parents, parishes, and high schools! They love their schools! They fight hard to make them work! Some have just settled into these schools after the previous closing of others. This is very sad . . .

No denying it . . . yes, it is very sad, for all of us, me included. It’s bad news.

So, I try to concentrate on the good news, as clouded as it might be by the somberness of the closings.

For one, these tough decisions were long in coming, after over a year of study, discussion, consultation, and debate by priests, parents, and experts close to the scene.

Two, we did everything we could, with the archdiocese alone investing tens of millions of dollars into the schools, in addition to grants from generous parishes, benefactors, and parents sacrificing to pay tuition.

Three, and very importantly, near-by every sadly closed school is another splendid Catholic school, with room, eager to welcome every student from a closing school, with counselors from our school office ready to expedite this transfer.

Four, our long range plan, Pathways to Excellence, continues. Remember when this promising project began three years ago, we were candid with you that we would face two sets of school closings, since, sadly, “the vine must be pruned if it is to grow.” The first wave of closings came two years ago, and now, grimly, we face the ones announced yesterday.

Five, though, this should be it! While I can’t promise you that, in the future, a school might have to close, I can at least tell you that we envision no more “Black Mondays” like yesterday when we have to announce dozens of them.

Finally, keep the goal in mind: a strong, vibrant system of excellent Catholic schools, accessible and available to all our children, continuing the two-century legacy of private, faith-based, character-forming education, with a track record the envy of all!

To those tearful over the closings — and I include myself — I say, “I am very sad and sorry your own school, after a valiant effort by so many, can no longer make it. Thank you for your devotion. But, do not be afraid! While your own beloved school might not be open next September, our Catholic schools will, and there is a desk for you! The address of your school might change; the quality and welcome of a new one will not.”

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17 Responses to “Tearful News”

  1. Gabriel Espinosa says:

    Eminence,

    Do not close the schools if they are authentically catholic. Rather, put them in the hands of the Father and let go. Trust the Father and not the Trustees, Bankers, Advisors. Be like Saint Francis.

  2. Rebecca Gill says:

    Sadly, a lot depended on parents making the CHOICE to send their children to the local parish school. Too many parents do not consider this option when it is under their very noses. It is only when the school closes that they get upset. The necessary sacrifice to support a parish school by sending their children to it is last on the radar.

    Another problem developed that went unchallenged. Too many parish schools (in order to survive because the above happened) chose to accept vouchers not from parish members, but from desperate inner-city parents who wanted something better for their chidlren, but those parents also chose to not support the school with time and talent and buy in. Many of these parents saw these wonderful parish schools as only yet another option, denying the faith-based aspect of the education, rather than an opportunity to form their children in the faith. The identities of the local parish schools no longer resembled a Catholic identity at all. Sadly.

  3. Irene says:

    It is especially sad since we were all told after last year’s round of closings that, with regionalization, there would be no more school closings for two years. Now we’re three months into regionalization and learning about more school closings.

    Most frustrating for me is the lack of transparency and lack of communication with parents and other stakeholders.

  4. Br Michael Duffy, ofm conv says:

    And to whom shall we have the utility bills forwarded, to The Father too?

    Be real and resonable, it is the 21st Century; once a “group” goes beyond 10 or 12 these are the realities of the Acts of Apostles we live as Catholic Christians. Francis himself knew, before he died, the number of brothers no longer made door to door begging the only way to sustain themselves.

    Good stewardship sometimes means, things have to close.

    Respectfully-
    Br Michael Duffy, ofm conv

  5. Therese Blanchette says:

    Being from the Archdiocese of Boston, I am familiar with the feelings of Parish and School closings. My family has 3 generations that went to the same Catholic School. It is emotionally difficult to have your school close. But I will be praying for everyone affected by these closings that they can find peace and move past the “my” school and “their” school mentality and be able to recognize the importance and privilege of having a Catholic school. Let the healing and work begin.

  6. Brian Murphy says:

    The closing of schools is yet another consequence of the contraceptive culture – a shrinking population that becomes too small to sustain the schools.

    Some bishops are considering the return of Friday abstinence. This would be blatant hipocrisy. How can the clergy ask the laity to abstain from meat when they lack the courage to ask them to abstain from birth control pills? Hypocrisy is the state of promoting or administering virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have or is also guilty of violating. Hypocrisy often involves the deception of others and thus can be considered a kind of lie. The lie here is that one can have virtue by abstaining from meat while continuing to use contraception, which is effectively tolerated by guilty silence from the clergy.

  7. Lisa says:

    This is so sad to read. We live in the Arlington VA Diocese and we are extremely blessed because we have the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. They staff not just our Pre-K through 8th grade school, but also our new Catholic high school. I think your NY schools would have wait lists if you contacted the Mother House down in Nashville and convinced them to send their amazing Sisters to NY!

  8. Larry says:

    I might suggest you and your priests start preaching energetically at Sunday Mass about the grave sin of contraception. Perhaps then within a decade or two you might have enough children to people the Catholic schools, and enough parents to pay the freight.

  9. Robert Fox says:

    One commenter said <>

    I would further assert the contraceptive culture in modern Catholicism is the natural outcome of the Novus Ordo… the new Mass… valid though it may be sacramentally.

    When I look at videos of traditional parishes in the US and elsewhere (the ones in full communion and the ones that are not yet)… one thing is visually loud and clear: The many young families at various TLM are not committing the self destructive practice of contraception. Their priests won’t stand for it.

    Numerous young priests have often confided in me that when Bishop Fellay speaks they listen… even though they are in full communion and he is not. When I ask why… those young priests tell me: “It’s because we young guys wish our own bishops would talk this way… but sadly they are too afraid to most of the time”. WOW! These are young men who gave up everything to serve Our Lord and to offer sacrifice for the living and the dead. And yet they see their own ‘generalissimo’s’ as ‘afraid’ ! That is a stunning message to me.

    Something to think about if you are listening your Excellency.

  10. Katie says:

    Since the 1960 s there has been a decline in Catholic education. Mostly because of the cost of education in the schools. For my 2 grandchildren ,it s 5,ooo dollars. Not including parish dues. Most people are not that well off anymore. People need to be energized about their faith again. Preach the 10 commandment again from the pulpit especially confession. We have lost the concept of sin and our faith

  11. Mary Castrovilla says:

    Timothy Cardinal Dolan
    Please give the “schools at risk of closing more time to raise funds. The Nov. 28 announcement comes as a time when parishes and schools are heavily involved in advent/Christmas preparations.
    2.also, since the Reconfiguration Committees were just Named on November 16, 2012 wouldn”t it serve JUSTICE to NOT close these 26 schools in June, 2013, but to give the Reconfiguration Committee time to possibly identity revenue means to keep these schools open.

    PLEASE HEAR my pleas, made especilly, but not only, for St. Casimir School in Yonkers

  12. Irene says:

    “Numerous young priests have often confided in me that when Bishop Fellay speaks they listen”

    Do you mean the Lefebrvrite who rejects the authority of the Pope? I can’t imagine how listening to someone like that would do anything at all to help our struggling NYC parochial schools.

    I agree with Mary Castrovilla (12/2/2012 5:29 am) that it would be simple justice to give these at risk schools a few years to try and develop a sustainability strategy.

  13. Edward T McKenna says:

    Your Eminence
    Can Kingston Catholic hold the 205 students from St Joseph’s plus the 89 from St Mary’s In addition to their 237. They, KCS have been saying they are full. Why is it that St Joseph’s is on the list when they do not take any assistance from the Archdiocese. Where as both Kingston Catholic and St Mary’s do. This is not pruning you are leaving Ulster County with ONE school .

  14. Patrick says:

    It all started when the Nuns left the classroom and the Church. They knew it too. Several are teaching in Public Schools. I feel they are responsible for deserting us. Its like they went on strike. Bring in new Religious and the Schools will flourish once more. I was taught by the School Sister of Notre Dame. They were wonderful. But they went on strike and my school closed. Even the Parish is a shadow of what it once was.

  15. Margaret says:

    Cardinal,
    St Joseph School in Kingston is being included in the at risk list by virtue of data that is two years old. This school takes little, if any, Inter Parish Funding, and the enrollment has increased by 34% over the last two years. I would respectfully ask that your committee meet again to discuss the accurate data, and that St Joseph School be allowed to continue to educate our students. St Joseph School has some of the highest test scores around, the arts programs are growing, People in Ulster County are fed up with the public school system and are coming to the Catholic Schools in huge amounts, 82 new students at St Joseph school this year alone…. please give the school another chance, a FAIR chance.
    By closing these schools you are turning away church goers, possibly future religious and more. Ulster County is different than Manhattan. There is such a huge area, one school cannot do it all. St Joseph School should be kept open to continue to do what it is doing so well.

  16. On behalf of St. Casimir School in Yonkers – as well as the other “at risk” schools, I would like to share this link:
    Sotomayor’s old Bronx school faces the ax
    - NY Daily News
    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/sotomayor-old-bronx-school-faces-ax-article-1.1212873
    2 days ago … The Bronx parochial school that nurtured Sonia Sotomayor from childhood to the Supreme Court is one of two dozen Catholic schools in
    .

    Read please the lines about “the closure of the school would leave a tremendous spiritual, educational and safety void” and by Jan. 3. The archdiocese will sacrifice our children’s future and close our school.”
    Please give ALL the at-risk schools more time. Jan. 3 is IMHO, unreasonable. People are so overwhelmed right now with family, spiritual and community preparation for Christmas.

  17. Steven says:

    Has Justice Sotomayor given any donations to the school she attended? I’m sure she could help the school with the bills. Furthermore, I don’t believe she upholds every Catholic teachings in her rulings anyway? does she? I believe she is pro abortion to name one teaching she rejects once taught to her at Catholic school.