Saturday, January 7, 2012


Two years ago the Archdiocese of Philadelphia chose to close Cardinal Dougherty and North Catholic.  That decision was incredibly painful to me and to hundreds of people I knew, and to thousands more I was only connected to through these schools. My years of connection to North, and my years of teaching at Dougherty contain so many wonderful memories; the loss of the physical reality of those schools still hurts.

Now five more high schools and almost 100 grade schools are being closed, or "merged" into new identities. Thousands of peoples' lives will be changed. Students will have to begin their high school lives over again as new students in a new school, many for their senior year. Younger students will no longer go to "their neighborhood" schools, but be traveling to other areas. Teachers will be starting over as well, as many of us will be (again) moving to a new school. Many hundreds of teachers, administrators and staff will be out of work. Parents will have to deal for months with the emotions of their children, and for many of them, their own emotions as well, as they see their own alma maters disappearing. Alumni of these schools have lost their home. A hole has been torn in the emotional fabric of  Catholic Philadelphia.

I do understand the financial need for these changes. Understanding does not help; it does not alleviate pain or sadness.

I have family and friends affected by every one of the high school changes, and by many of the grade school changes. I am heartbroken for each and every one of them. The loss of Cardinal Dougherty still hurts me; although I am happy in my new school, I still miss the kids, my colleagues and the building every day. Like any other death, it is a loss that does not, and can not, change.

I am appalled by those who say "they will get over it". No, they won't! We get PAST it, and move on, but we do not get over it. It is a scar, and one that can still cause pain. I have a friend, my own age, whose school closed at the end of her Junior year, and she is still saddened when she remembers not being able to graduate from her "own" school.  It has not marred her life, but the pain is still there, more than 40 years later. 

I hope that those who are suffering this loss right now will be supported and comforted. I hope that understanding and consideration is given to them. I hope that kindness and caring surrounds them. I hope that strength and fortitude is given to them. I hope they find solace in one another, and in the shower of love that will engulf them.

My prayers and condolences go to everyone affected by this sad time. 

1 comment:

Pam said...

I'm from Boston and that has happened all over the place...My children have had to change schools. People are still holding vigils in some of the "closed" churches.
This is the last year for my All-girls Catholic alma mater. After 108 years they are merging, changing the name and turning coed. (30 years out and it can still smart)
They are now proposing a new "parish collaborative model"
I sometimes think the powers that be, really don't get it....
Tradition, identity, connectedness is getting watered down and vanilla-ized...I like vanilla but not everywhere and all the time...
Hang in there