Saturday, March 1, 2008

A hint of the past.. and things to come

With the anniversary of the closing of Cardinal Brennan quickly coming, all eyes are on the next wave of school and church closings presented by the Catholic Church..

Even more interesting: A new Vatican ruling is bad news for parish-closing opponents..


"Parishioners fighting the closings said they would continue their effort in the Vatican and in civil courts in Boston. But they acknowledged that the ruling, issued in Latin, dismisses their arguments that O'Malley violated canon laws by closing the church, and instead expresses support for O'Malley's argument that he needed to close parishes for the good of the archdiocese"

It's been one year...

One year ago this month..

This letter went to all:

Bishop's Letter to Cardinal Brennan Parents
March 22, 2007

Dear Cardinal Brennan Junior/Senior High School Parents,

On February, 6, 2007, the Diocesan Pastoral Council began a review of Cardinal Brennan Junior/Senior High School. This review began in response to a request made by the Diocesan Secretariats for Catholic Education and Temporal Affairs. Their request was grounded in an ongoing concern for the viability of the School based upon its consistently decreasing enrollment, deficit spending, and mounting debts.

Statute Eight of the Second Synod of the Diocese of Allentown authorizes the Diocesan Pastoral Council to act when it determines that there is an urgent and serious need to consolidate or close a school before the full implementation of the other Diocesan Statutes. It was under this Statute that the request was submitted to the Diocesan Pastoral Council. After careful consideration, the Diocesan Pastoral Council voted that they should review this request under Statute Eight.

In a previous letter sent by the Very Reverend David L. James, Vicar for Synod Implementation, you received the same information the Diocesan Pastoral Council received. After reviewing the critical information submitted by the two Secretariats, the Council chose to provide the parents, faculty, students, and friends of Cardinal Brennan Junior/Senior High School the opportunity to give their input about the future of the school.

Father James, Mr. Mark Smith, Secretary for Temporal Affairs, and Mr. Philip Fromuth, Secretary for Catholic Education met with the parents and others gathered for this purpose on Sunday, March 4, 2007 in the School's field house. Before, during, and after that meeting, parents, students, faculty, and alumni provided the Council with their input. A copy of every letter and e-mail received by the Diocese was shared with all members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council. Many of these letters offered possible solutions and proposals and all displayed great attachment to the School.

I sought the insights of the Diocesan Pastoral Council at its meeting on March 15, 2007. After fully examining the proposals made by the Cardinal Brennan community, the Council concluded that they did not contain a solution that sufficiently addressed the enrollment and financial problems at the School. I also sought the advice of the Council of Priests and the Diocesan Finance Council. All three official diocesan consultative bodies have recommended the closing of Cardinal Brennan Junior/Senior High School.

After prayerful consideration, with the counsel of all three bodies, and mindful of the well-being of the entire diocesan educational system, I find it necessary to accept their recommendations that Cardinal Brennan Junior/Senior High School officially close at the end of the present academic year.

The closing of Cardinal Brennan Junior/Senior High School does not bring to a close Catholic education in Schuylkill County. Your high school son or daughter will receive a warm and enthusiastic welcome at Marian High School, in Hometown or Nativity BVM High School, in Pottsville. Seventh and eighth grade instruction will be restored at Trinity Academy at the Father Walter J. Ciszek Education Center in Shenandoah at the beginning of the 2007-2008 academic year. Mr. Fromuth will form transition teams at all three high schools and at Trinity Academy. These teams will be responsible for, among other things, the transfer of records, arrangements for bus transportation, and the integration of academic credits. Opportunities for parents and students to visit the three schools will be provided in the near future.

Your commitment to Catholic education has been strong in the past. It has left an indelible mark on Schuylkill County. Parents have made sacrifices, even heroic sacrifices, to provide their children with a Catholic education.

Be assured the Diocese of Allentown remains firm in its commitment to provide the children of Schuylkill County with an excellent Catholic education. May we all be united in prayer with a common purpose to work together to provide quality, affordable education and faith formation to our children for many years to come.

Sincerely yours in Christ