Sunday, March 25, 2007

The final march..

Girardville was covered with green yesterday for the annual St Patrick's Day parade.. During the parade, Cardinal Brennan's blue and gold was seen for the final time: The small marching band that was organized a few years back marched through the main street of the town--this year however they teamed with Marian Catholic. Wonder when that was planned?

The talk of the town, though, in many instances was the future of Cardinal Brennan's grounds, the building, and the students and teachers.

There are 168 students now searching for a new school--juniors searching for a high school rather than a college as the Pottsville REPUBLICAN pointed out yesterday..
There's more than 20 teachers without jobs. Though past classes wouldn't know the new fresh faces of the 2000s, they would still be able to go back and see a few faces familiar.

This will be a life changing event--just as it was in Girardville last year and other schools in other states at other times.

Perhaps the most ironic part: One students who had his grade school, Immacuate Heart, close down last year now has his high school, Cardinal Brennan, closed down this year. He will now have to back to a grade school, Trinity in Shenendoah, to complete his eigth grade. That is, of course, if he continues in Catholic school.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

My sisters and I (ALL Immaculate Heart & CB graduates) watched Cardinal Brennan's marching band (w/Mr. Schimpf) go by our house-they were wonderful & each member held their heads up high-
As for Marian & Nativity welcoming new students I would rather see my child attend Lourdes--it's closer and I'm sure they would love to have our CB students!!

Sherie Gower-Boyer said...

As the parade passed by my parents house, my two sisters and I..all graduates of CBHS (and IHES as well), were singing the ND Fight song with tears in our eyes as the CBHS band played....." and when we yell, we yell LIKE HELL for the GLORY of OLD BRENNAN HIGH!!!!!!!!!"
CONGRATULATIONS on a job WELL DONE especially under these circumstances...

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Brennan and Marians Band have teamed up a few times. This wasn't the first time.

Anonymous said...

Has the DPC OR the bishop taken into consideration the mental/emotional effects this is going to cause the Junior High students?? I really feel for these children-they finally "moved up" and are now being forced to take two steps BACK-
I also believe-without a doubt- that the Bishop's visit to Trinity Academy in early February wasn't just to bless the "new school" but to seal the fate of CB-

Anonymous said...

The Bishop came to the "new" Trinity Academy and saw just 120 students that were left of the 275 elementary students because of last year's botched elementary school consolidation. The Office of Education led the local pastors through a faulty and painful consolidation that eliminated 155 students from CBHS feeeder schools. CBHS lost an additional 40 students - which remarkably adds up to the additional "shortfall" that so worried Temporal Afffairs this year: 40 students X $4200 tuition + $500 fund raising = $188,000 lost revenue. Will the Diocese accept any resposibility for the mess? Nope!
The CBHS students and teachers were NOT allowed to attend the Bishop's mass... Sister Spaetti stated that the Bishop's visit was for "her" school. Hope she's happy. Maybe Bishop Cullen will make his second visit to CBHS for the closing mass...

Anonymous said...

the administrator of this blog should set up some kind of all-Brennan site where all alumni can come to see pics and communicate with other alumni and look up old friends and reminisce and things like that. do you realize if nobody does something like that the CB spirit itself might fade out of existence except in our hearts and memories? somebody think about doing that

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that Trinity is being set up for failure also. Why would parents send their children back to an elementary setting? They will not be able to provide the same curriculum and activities that they had at CB. How will they do any bonding activities? Marian and Nativity will be competing for these students. Great way to promote unity! Trinity will be the next to fall in the master plan of the diocese. I just wish there would be some truth and honesty exhibited by the education department.

Anonymous said...

Marian wants our CB students??? then why did Sister eileen wait to send the information packets to the parents?? Shame on her-
Thank God I wasn't one of the parents affected by her decision to wait until the decision to close CB was made cuz I'd already have my child enrolled @ Lourdes next year-

Anonymous said...

check out the comment in the blog under WNEP.. "nativity and marian schools welcoming our children......"

Anonymous said...

which blog is that? how do i get to it?

Anonymous said...

in THIS blog.........under the MEDIA news heading about the closing....WNEP was there.....has the message that Nativity and Marian would welcome our kids with open arms.....

Anonymous said...

oh ok. i'm sorry. i'm not really computer literate. thanks again

Jim Connors said...

This is a good forum in which to vent personal feelings concerning the closure of Cardinal Brennan High School but I think folks should use their names when posting.

I never spend much time looking at messages that are given anonymously.

serentis said...

When Shenandoah Catholic merged with Immaculate Heart Academy there was a horrible cry that "Allentown" was abusing everybody in the area. Everybody was a victim of Imperial whims. When St. Mary Magdelene Church burned down and the money was set adide to support Cardinal Brennan students, everybody was angry. It wasn't fair that CB got the money when the folks at Lost Creek wanted a new church.
The financial issues are serious and no business would have stayed the course without the steady flow of money FROM "Allentown" to underwrite the school. Even changing the school from 9-12 to 7-12 failed to work any magic by attracting more students.
The facts of the case are simple. There are three Catholic High Schools in Schuykill County which population is in numerical decline while the remaining population is quite "senior." The City of Pottsville holds about 25% of the County's population. Nativity BVM and Marian HS are 9-12 schools and they too have smaller numbers than 40 years ago.
Having moved into the "valley" the population demographics are much different. The needs of Catholics to parish life and parochial education is a question here as well. Here we have parishes with 3000 households. Schuykill County has nothing even close. Here the parishes are growing rapidly. There the decline is just as rapid. The situation of CBHS has been known for many years by the pastors and administrators of CBHS. Suddenly, everyone is a victim and this situation an astonishing event.
Schools have closed before and it is sad, even unwelcome. In Shenandoah St. Casmir, St Stanislaus and Annunciation schools are gone, merged into Trinity Academy. The merger strives to provide Catholic education in the region yet many simply refuse to send their children to Catholic schools because the "personal" expense is greater than the value of the school. The number of children in the region is small and public school districts face the same demographic issues and need for changes.
Venting anger is like steam, it's invisible and dangerous. It burns. Like steam it can be controled and channeled.
Bluntly put, you have choices. You can work to develop and restructure and "save" Catholic education in the region. You can channel the steam. You can also play the victim and decry every genuine effort as manipulative. You can do nothing but complain and watch the region fade into poverty. This change will take greater effort than you are willing to take, I suspect. Hissing steam pipes filled with venting anger, plugged with self-pity seems to be all you are interested in becoming. That's sad and suicidal.

Anonymous said...

my God. finally someone with some sense. God bless you, Serentis, you and your level-headedness. every word you just wrote is not only absolutely true but intelligently stated and fairly balanced. yet, of course, there will be some of greater stubbornness and less rationale who'll call you an anti-catholic or just a "hater" in general. "faith," as it were, cannot be encompassed in any one building, such as a church or much loved local educational facility. faith is what you make it. that much i DID learn at Brennan - and i even remember by name the teacher who taught it - yet now it seems a mute point in the face of teacher lay-offs and student transfers. whatever. thanks for your reasonable reasoning, but, on the terra infirma of this particular blog, it seems that any such reasoning intent on weighing truth against rhetoric is information non grata as the disciples of "glorious brennan high" continue on their trek into spiritual oblivion.

RJM

PS. your assessment about the region in general is also disturbingly accurate. schuylkill county doesn't have to be quite the, um, well whatever it is in kinder terms than i'd care to use at this juncture. but it is a mess; it's a vacuous hole in the ground seething with all manners of fear, self-loathing, and other such human bile. and it's mostly, sadly, due to its populace, who, for the most part, are lazy, petty, contemptuous, resentful and bitter people content to gossip about their neighbors instead of turning around their communities for the better. our forebears who built this place with their bare and bloodied hands, would be ashamed of us all, and we should be duly ashamed of ourselves.

Anonymous said...

As serentis said-the pastors and administrators KNEW CB was in trouble--then why didn't those pastors go to their parishioners for support?? My pastor (in Girardville)never mentioned a word about CB having financial problems-and EVERY parishioner supports their Catholic schools, not just the parents of enrolled children-

Anonymous said...

i just don't understand how people who claim to love catholic values so much can come within millimeters of calling our own bishop a liar, a cheat, and even a thief, if they could get away with it. people who don't even really know anything about the actuasl numbers like serentis and others have pointed out. where are the catholic values in defaming our own bishop? he's been our shepherd for almost a decade now. he could have closed it years ago if he wanted. and nevermind his condos. there are cb parents worth much more than him and i don't see them offering him some kind of settlement of the school's debts.

serentis said...

So far as I know the financal the CBHS situation was public knowledge for some time. Whether pastors mentioned the situation to their parishes or not, the difficulties were generally known.
Again, keeping one's focus on the source of the problem -- namely regional demographics (an aging population with a "fixed income" layered over a depressed economy added to an increasingly smaller "students-of-school-age" base) -- is crucial. The region simply lacks the resources to support the project of a regional (let alone a parochial) high school. Reconfiguring the "resources" into workable units, such as Trinity Academy, parishes that can meet the expenses needed to function well, programs that nurture the Catholic faith has to be done throughout the entire diocese. It is not simply the "problem" of one region. It is the focus of the entire diocese and the reason a synod was held.
Nobody wants unwarranted changes but the synod "points" provided a list of important issues which were drawn from all of the parishes and discussed publicly in every deanery. There was no secret about the seriousness of the needs. I attended the meeting in my area and the discussions were "animated" and fruitful.
It is easy to be mean spirited and accuse the bishop and the clergy of the diocese of acting out of self-interest. That seems to be quite popular. That's shameful.
Some of my ancestors were poor yet generous. A few of them had some wealth, but were cheap. Guess which group helped build the beautiful churches and schools? Telling me that one's ancestor's hard work and money built these places doesn't tell me what you have done. You and I cannot lay any claim on what the generations before us did. We are inheritors of their legacy of faith. The larger and much more profound question is what you (and I) are doing to hand on the Catholic faith in our families, among the people we meet. Ducking one's responsibility and tossing the blame onto somebody else -- the bishop, the synod, the pastor, whomever -- is a hobby nobody can afford any more. We need to do our part so generations from now they can see and be helped by the good things we've accomplished. The alternative is being the target of ridicule for generations who are left with lots of nothing because all we did was complain.

Anonymous said...

totally correct serentis. and while we can't rest on the laurels of our ancestors we should use them as a drive to better ourselves. well, we shouldn't have let it get this far to begin with. it is shameful and only reflects badly on the people of this area. you have to admit, though, that the lower classes can do very little by themselves without help and support from the upper classes, why with working so hard to support themselves and their families of 3.2 children and a dog in the back yard. it's extremely difficult for the common everyday working class, that on which the county's current survival is basically placed, when they have ridiculous taxes and water and other bills and expenses to deal with on a laborer's wages. if you'll notice, it's only recently all these feel good revitalization programs have begun, and by recently i mean in the past 10 years or so. and if you look even closer at those people who are spearheading them, it's all those prominent members of our local communities who have something substantial to lose from outmigration and the general deterioration of this place. i know many ordinary people involved in such social programs, people who honestly want to turn things around and believe they can, but really the main impetus are those parties with the most to lose, and that does not include your average laborer paying a mortgage. small but affluent businesses are afraid of having to close their doors and the offspring of the local elite who decided to stay here are also afraid of losing their legacies and their family name and/or estates.

in a way these elitists deserve it. while they were busy making their wealth they shunned the common man, whose children eventually grew up and started leaving in droves. it totally reeks of poetic justice. yet it's always the hardworking men and women of the area left behind who suffer the most, no matter what, and they certainly don't deserve it. but they're resilient. they come from resilient stock. it's those at the top who wouldn't know their elbow from the spleen if they started plummeting back down to the social slime from which they came.

Anonymous said...

It looks like matters have become more calm in the long-suffering account of Cardinal Brennan's closing. There's no glee anywhere about this. There is a certain resignation and even an acceptance of the situation. The implementation of the diocesan statutes seem to be the starting point for any plan, rather than the plan itself. In that, the whole array of matters seems sloppy. That may be unvoidable too.