Cleansing Fire

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Disgusted.

December 1st, 2010, Promulgated by Ink

I’m not from around here.  So I didn’t go to a Rochester Catholic elementary/middle school.  I went to another Catholic school.  But I have sisters.  And they go to Catholic school.  Where?  Mother of Sorrows.

I don’t know how the school-clustering can ever look good, even to Holy Cross parishioners.  Clustering is always, always bad.

1. Holy Cross was closed, so I’m sure the families have been scattered.  Some have, undoubtedly, gone public.  Are they going to come back just because their school building is now being used?

2. Holy Cross is in Charlotte.  Cathedral is in the city.  Mother of Sorrows is in the heart of North Greece.  Location, location, location.  I’m sure people who went to Cathedral will have a harder time getting to school now, or have a crazier bus schedule or something.  It’s a hassle.

3. Mother of Sorrows is a well-funded parish.  This is a fact.  All you bloggers and readers tend to point it out.  (Being a parishioner there, I can attest.)  So if you think about it, wouldn’t it make logical sense to give Mother of Sorrows School over to its parish?  They aren’t really wanting for money, and the school building is a fairly decent size.  Plus, then all the staff get to stay on.

4. This means more teachers laid off and hired.  Basically, one giant staff overhaul.

5. As far as I know, Mother of Sorrows is struggling for students no more than the next diocesan Catholic school.

I don’t know what the end results are going to be here, but all we can do is to pray and pray and pray.  Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem.

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9 Responses to “Disgusted.”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    The only positive I can find in this situation is that it seems to correct a mistake that was made when the schools for closure were chosen. That is unheard of in this diocese.
    The Bishop claimed that “facilities” were one of the criteria, but that didn’t account for MoS staying open while Holy Cross closed.
    The re-opening of Holy Cross’ school building is not going to bring back Holy Cross the way it was. The Holy Cross families and staff have moved on. Some may return, but I’d bet most will not.
    I feel horrible for the affected families. Some of them have been through this before but others are having a big part of their lives ripped apart for the first time. In our experience, there are still repercussions for our family and parish. It got to a point where everyone had to do what was best for their family, and everyone scattered. I’ll be praying for all the affected families.

  2. avatar Vox Clara says:

    I am generally distrustful of diocesan initiatives. I would not be surprised if they’re expecting Holy Cross to fail due to low enrollment and lesser parish support than it had before. Combining clustering and consolidation does have a way of reducing total numbers. Then again, giving Holy Cross their chance to run a school sure does LOOK like a good thing to do.

    I’m not sure what to make of this one. Even apart from my learned dislike for DoR initiatives, I don’t like that two schools are being closed to reopen one. It disrupts a lot of families and shakes faith in the DoR. Ink raises some good points here too. Besides that, turning schools over to parish control increases pressure on them. Why not just give Mother of Sorrows their school and watch them sink or swim on their own?

    Sorry the clearest thing I’ve got to say is something I’m reiterating… pray, pray, pray!

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    From what I’ve been told, they were given the opportiunity, but could not present a financially viable plan.

  4. avatar Gretchen says:

    Anon 11:17 – where did you get your information? They weren’t given the opportunity.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    Ink: In response to your five points:
    1)Yes many of the families have scattered. But the Holy Cross community is a very close-knit, welcoming parish community. There are some who went public that have actually said they will come back to a parish-run school. It’s more about the community and self-determination than the building, although I will admit that the facilities at HC are also a draw. The building has remained pristine.
    2)Regarding crazy bus schedules, when my kids started at MOS after HC closed, they went from a 9:00 start time to 8:00 start time, with the bus coming 80 minutes earlier than they were used to. Yes, it was a hassle, but they adjusted and it has worked out fine.
    3)This is several points in one. All I can say is ask Fr. Bradshaw about whether he wanted the responsibility (and expense) of a parish-run school. I KNOW Fr. Wheeland at HC wanted it, and has never lost hope of getting it back. Regarding staff, many of them may get to stay on at the new school, or be absorbed by other Catholic schools.
    4)Again, regarding staff, let’s get the best from both schools in the new school.
    5)You’re wrong about enrollment. It HAS dramatically decreased, partly because of the loss of the 7th & 8th grades, and partly because of a lack of marketing, which has been the case for all the diocesan schools for years.
    I feel the pain of all the families at MOS–we were displaced when Holy Cross closed, and now my youngest child will go through the closing of MOS and back to Holy Cross for a year, then another transition. However, we have built a new community so many great people from both HC and MOS over the last 2 years. We can make a NEW school at Holy Cross with the best of the staff and traditions from all three schools (Cathedral School as well), and it will be OUR school (not them & us). We will be in control of our destiny, instead of all the turmoil from DoR.

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    Sorry, I forgot to sign my Anon 10:37 post -HCMom.

  7. avatar Mike says:

    Ink, Gretchen and HCMom,

    Do any of you know the actual MOS 2010-11 K-6 enrollment number? If you do then, assuming 25 children per classroom (which appears to have been the MCCS target number), it would be simple to calculate MOS’ actual “occupancy rate.”

  8. avatar Gretchen says:

    Enrollment at MOS is in the 230s, down from the 400s two years ago. Losing the junior high last year was another huge hit to confidence in diocesan Catholic schools. The uncertainty created by the diocese has done a job on all the Catholic schools (as well as the parishes). Fr. Bradshaw has fought for the school, for the church, for lower insurance payments when the diocese raised everyone’s rates. I’m sure he’s not immune to the same exhaustion that the rest of us feel from constantly fighting to keep our schools and parishes alive.

    I hope and pray that HC can be successful. The note that was sent home said that the schools reverting to the parishes will still be controlled by the diocese, it’s just that the parishes will have to foot the bill. “The Catholic Schools Office will continue to oversee curriculum, academic assessments, professional development and personnel at each school and each will still be under the overall authority of Bishop of Rochester Matthew H. Clark.” Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis.

  9. avatar Sfomo says:

    Having been through school and parish closings, my sympathy goes out to MOS and the Cathedral School. It is wonderful to see the joy at Holy Cross, but I wonder how the school will fare when Fr. Wheeland retires and a new pastor is assigned. Fr. Wheeland is a rare pastor who loves and supports his school and will do his best to make it viable. Many diocesan priests are not as supportive.


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