Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Baltimore files

One of the most important documentaries that has ever existed can now be found on Netflix. It is called THE KEEPERS, and travels down a murky path starting with a nun's murder in the 1960s all the way through abuse allegations made against priests in the 1990s and beyond.

Sister Catherine Cesnik was found dead decades ago. But her murder still haunts those alive and those who knew her or were taught by her.. She was a cutting edge nun of the time, she wanted to work in public schools and also had thoughts about leaving her vows to marry a priest who was equally thinking about leaving the priesthood.

During her tensure at an all-girls school Archbishop Keough High School, there were allegations that Father Joseph Maskell and another priest may have been molesting girls. And even more than molesting, but also raping..bringing in outsiders to do that deed as well, including potentially police officers with the Baltimore police department, and subsequently attempting to cover up records by burying them in a cemetery.. Along with those explosive allegations: The theme of THE KEEPERS is that Sister Catherine was aware and was about to do something... and was murdered brutally with her body left to be maggot infested and rotting in a wooded area.

The documentary stokes ill-will in some. The 1990s and 2000s were a period of dramatic revelations for anyone who was a member of the Catholic Church in the United States. Not only were churches and schools consolidated and closed because of dioceses being forced to pay out high numbers of dollars in abuse settlements, but also a general malaise of church officials and mistrust of the heirarchy of the Roman Catholic institution developed. People stopped fearing and respecting the priestly authority.. instead, perhaps sadly for moral men who pick this as their life profession, a white collar has become a punchline.

The Church inflicted wounds on themselves. Their denials in the face of facts--including in this newly released documentary THE KEEPERS--is what brings a pox on their houses.. It is what creates the 'laugh line'.. and it is what fuels constant conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories, by the way, that has proven to be accurate and unsettling.

And .....for those who reside in Eastern Pennsylvania or surrounding areas in Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, you may be scratching your head like I did after viewing THE KEEPERS. I recall, quite a few times, where my own Catholic school priests seemingly had a strange connection to Baltimore.. where parties and weekend getaways happened with certain chosen boys from schools around me called retreats...
What the KEEPERS. And begin asking questions in your own mind and out loud. The answers may be startling.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The end of an era: An icon of Cardinal Brennan passes away

To my friends who graduated or attended Cardinal Brennan high school, the end of an era has occurred.. The famed custodian Nate has met his demise.

Godspeed Nate. You are in every students fond memories of Cardinal Brennan and made each day better, brighter, and more interesting ...

Including my memories and days.
Rest In Peace.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The former CB building

At this time, there has been no affirmative decision as to what the North Schuylkill School District will do with the former Cardinal Brennan high school. Earlier in 2016, NS purchased and auctioned off contents of the CB grounds. There were rumors churning that the school would have to be demolished due to years of neglect.. at this time the building, though in constant worsening condition, still stands tall through the late summer trees...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The bell tower revisited

It has been some time since I typed out a post on here.. I check my stats now and then and realized that hundreds of people per month are still searching for and finding this blog.. The Bell Tower Blog..

Cardinal Brennan has been closed now for years.. Changes. Lots of graduating classes would have come and gone. And gone.. and gone. The beat went on.
The area has too..

The Bell Tower Blog captured a moment in time, when a school was shuddered and lives were forever changed. And scarred. But the area has received its share of devilish grins, too..

Heroin blankets most streets across the coal region now. And so does depression, joblessness, sadness and grief. The mall, the Schuylkill Mall, appears to be entering its final days. With more stores closing by the moment, the seconds are ticking and time is winding down.

There seems to be an overall feeling of malaise that has swept the land. It seems down lately.. It seemed changed.

Perhaps one can soon look back at recent and soon to be distant history and pinpoint a certain time when the area died away and withered? Maybe it has to do a bit with the loss of church life--priest lawsuits and cases of pedophilia have hurt deep and caused everlasting wounds. Schools closing did not help. They took a sense of security from some. Parents who attended Catholic schools now have a tough choice: Risk spending most of what little extra cash they have on school.. or pick the other school.

Times have changed. The bell has tolled over and over again. And with each new phase of life, the standard and quality of life has been compromised.

Thanks for reading.
I am honored many of you still seem to be checking back...


Sunday, November 15, 2015


The school's last belongings have been auctioned off...
The piano gone too.
Before it did, the Alma Mater's sound reverberated through hallways for one last time.. vacant, sad, lonely hallways..

We sing our praise to alma mater the school we all love.
We raise heart and voice in joyous acclaim.
We cherish you and all you teach us.
Blue and gold your colors our fame.
We will be true to the ideals that are strong heritage.
From on high you reign our true beacon light;
Now let’s sing out in happy chorus.
Praise to our dear school,
Cardinal Brennan High!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Bell Tower's final ring: Cardinal Brennan was no more. But now even in name, it's gone. The fat ghost nun on the third floor has sung..

The Pagan conquest

Years in the making.. the death of a school led to the death of Catholic education in the Coal Region of PA, once famed and fortuned and now filled with grief and despair..

More information about something locally making big news.. The former Cardinal Brennan high school is going to be NORTH SCHUYLKILL MIDDLE SCHOOL very soon..

The former Catholic home to education was closed in 2007.. shuddered and tucked away in the annals of memory in the coal region..

Since the announcement was made that NS was going to take over CB, mixed emotions have developed..

  • There is one common thread, though. Most people seem to be quite fine that it will be used as a home to edumucation.. but there’s some other things which are getting some heated reactions among CB alumni, including the following:
  • All religious relics will be subtracted from the property.. obviously crosses and Jesus can’t exist on a publicly funded taxpayer location. Including the giant cross on the mess of the new field house that was built in the late 1990s..
  • All memories of CB will be eliminated..
  • The Ƨharger horse that exists throughout various places on the campus will be painted over with NS emblems..
  • The blue and gold, once the color of CB pride, will be replaced with red and blue where ever it existed..
  • The places of memories and reflections of past students and classes will be trampled on by people who have no clue what happened in certain rooms or buildings. That one is upsetting to me..
  • There is a good chance the bell tower, once known for the signatures of past people, may be painted over. As though none of the sneak-signings ever even happened..
  • Nate, the janitor, will not be there. And for that, it’s a great misfortune on future students..

I am not in the camp blaming NS for anything.
But instead I blame the Catholic Church. I blame them for having priests who molested children for 50 years, leading to a collapse in faith and lack of church attendance ,and lack of money, and death of Catholic education. If anyone is looking for a villain, they are your best option.

Meanwhile.. This is how CB once looked way in the past, and more recently in the past..

It’s over folks
The blue and gold blood has long dried up..
Good day.