Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Four Bronx schools to lose grades K-8.

Sad to report, Dr. Timothy McNiff, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York, has announced the closure of three parish schools in The Bronx, and the elimination of grades K-8 in one other.  Closed are Visitation School in Kingsbridge, where the church lost regular services in August, 2015, St. Ann School, Bainbridge Avenue, likewise with a church without regular worship, and St. Mary School, Carpenter Avenue.  The school at the parish of Sts. Peter and Paul, Brook Avenue, Morrisania, will become a Universal Pre-Kindergarden school financed by the City of New York.
Please see the link HERE.  The superintendent's euphemism is "operational changes."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Catholic New York special section 1.19.2017

Available on the internet is the special Catholic Schools Week section published 1.19.2017. A link is HERE.
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The sixteen pages include high schools and elementary schools in the seven counties of the Archdiocese of New York. However, my focus is on the elementary schools of The Bronx. The sole paid advertising for Bronx elementary grades is for Mount St. Michael Academy, grades 6-12. Cardinal Hayes HS and Fordham Prep also placed ads.
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One hundred forty elementary schools will have Touring Tuesday on January 31, 2017, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  Of the forty-four Catholic elementary schools in The Bronx, eighteen are listed with a schedule for Open House. The special section lists school names, dates and times, but not phone numbers or addresses.  
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For Bronxites living near Manhattan or Westchester, please do not overlook nearby schools, such as Good Shepherd School, one block from the Bx12 bus terminal in Inwood.
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More information may be found at http://buildboldfutures.org/
Scroll down on that home page to Coming Events. Or use the information links at the top of the home page.
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The New York Daily News on 1.26.2017 published an Advertising Supplement for Catholic Schools.  In several aspects, this supplement gives better coverage to Bronx Catholic elementary schools than I saw in Catholic New York (above).  The link to the Daily News supplement for Catholic schools is HERE. Don't give up when you see ads for a few New Jersey schools. Continue scrolling through the pages and you will find more Bronx schools.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Elementary school statistics

With the recent publication of the 2016 Official Catholic Directory, it is possible to look at some statistics of the Catholic elementary schools in The Bronx. Please realize that the data was probably collected more than a year ago, and some of the numbers may include pre-kindergarten enrollment, the free municipal Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program.  Also, some of the forty-four schools are listed with the same exact enrollment three years running, quite unlikely, and therefore suspect. The forty-four schools open in September, 2015, are listed in the directory as having about 14,300 students.  As St. John's-Visitation did not submit enrollments to the 2016 OCD, I use the word "about." I neglected to include Villa Maria numbers. The 2012 directory listed 17,380.
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The following analysis marks schools with suspect numbers with an asterisk, usually due to round numbers or the same enrollment repeated annually.  The five elementary schools with the highest enrollments are St. Raymond (901), Immaculate Melrose (511), Santa Maria (500*), St. Lucy (498*), Sacred Heart (471), and St. Clare (452).  At the median are Holy Family (340*), St. Francis Xavier (332), and St. Athanasius (315*). Lowest numbers were Sts. Philip and James (217), St. Philip Neri (209), St. Gabriel (204), St. Thomas Aquinas (180*), and St. Nicholas of Tolentine (163).  
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Also, please see the official websites:
http://buildboldfutures.org/regions/northeast-east-bronx/
and
http://buildboldfutures.org/regions/northwest-south-bronx/
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According to the above links, the total number of elementary school students in The Bronx is 13,721, probably a more accurate figure than the OCD totals. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Choosing a Catholic High School

The Test for Admission to Catholic High Schools is accepting applicants now.  Parents are urged to look at this information site (link here)  and read each of the links in the left-hand column.  You may have to print out some of the forms and directions. The list of schools is posted sideways on the PDF, so printing those pages would help you to read the information. It would appear that the thirteen Catholic high schools of The Bronx offer 2,415 places for incoming freshmen.
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Please also note the dates of the Open House visitations and the Information Fairs.
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The cost of the test is $63.
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You will also find an abundance of information in the 2016 Catholic High School Guide linked HERE.
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For students and parents intent on Catholic high school admission, the important point is to GET MOVING, as instructed above.
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The following note is of less importance. Because of my interest in Catholic education in the metropolitan area,  I list the number of seats available to freshmen in twelve counties:
The Bronx leads with 2,415 openings.
Queens, with 2,160 openings.
Manhattan, with 1.314 openings.
Staten Island, with 1,375.
Brooklyn, with 1,300 openings.
Westchester, with 1,179 openings.
Dutchess, with 190 openings.
Orange, with 110 openings.
Rockland, with 110 openings,
Ulster, with 60 openings.
Putnam and Sullivan, with no Catholic high schools.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New York Daily News Back to School Section

About August 22, 2016, the New York Daily News included a special advertising section for Back to School vendors.  Interspersed are laudatory descriptions of several Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens Catholic elementary and high schools.
Warning! Links to Daily News sections often go stale and become useless.
If you are quick, please try
http://www.nydailynews.com/services/back-to-school

Monday, April 25, 2016

Book: Who Shall Take Care of Our Sick?

Recently, I saw a reference to a 2005 book by Bernadette McCauley, Who Shall Take Care of Our Sick? Roman Catholic Sisters and the Development of Catholic Hospitals in New York City. Amazon lists copies of this book. One does not have to pay a collector's price for this slim, very informative volume. I have read the book and continue to praise it.  Not exactly a history of the Catholic hospitals in our city, it gives clear and insightful analysis of the reasons for and practice of the hospital apostolate from 1849 until the end of the 20th century.
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Several constants show up in the book.  The religious Sisters ran and staffed the hospitals, and physicians chose and performed the treatments. Fund-raising was usually the responsibility of the Sisters. The types of patients and ailments changed with the quickly changing world of our city. A particular decade's problems could not be answered with out-dated treatment.
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The Bronx shows up in this book in two ways. Pages 77 and 78 describe the medical college at Fordham University, 1905-1921,  a period of profound change in the training of doctors. Secondly, the book hints at the migration of three Catholic hospitals from Manhattan to The Bronx, St. Francis, St. Joseph, and Misericordia.
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Only one Catholic hospital remains in the five boroughs of New York City: Calvary Hospital on Eastchester Road.  Mom volunteered at House of Calvary on Featherbed Lane, Highbridge. Calvary became a hospital in 1968.
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In the early 1960's, I visited my grandmother in a large ward at St. Francis Hospital, 525 East 142 Street, in Mott Haven. In 1865, Franciscan Sisters of the Poor (Frances Schervier's congregation) founded the hospital in the German neighborhood of East 5th Street, Manhattan.  Wikipeda says it moved to Mott Haven in 1905 and closed in 1966.
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Adjacent to St. Francis Hospital in Mott Haven was St. Joseph Hospital for Chest Diseases (or Consumptives), administered by the same congregation of Sisters.  Its address was 525 East 143rd Street.  A New York Times article from 6.4.1961 describes its impeding closure after 73 years. In arguing for its continuation, a staff doctor is quoted as saying that patient care there costs $10 daily as opposed to $28 in city hospitals.  I have been unable to find a previous location in Manhattan.  Maybe tuberculosis initiated its establishment in the more healthy air of The Bronx.
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Professor McCauley, author of this book, mentions several times the Sisters of Misericorde, who came from Quebec in the 1880's to help single mothers in Manhattan. Their work evolved into Misericordia Hospital in Wakefield, The Bronx, about 1958.  When Misericordia (renamed Our Lady of Mercy Hospital) fell into financial distress about 2008, the hospital was purchased by Montefiore Medical Center.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Holy Rosary / Nativity of Our Blessed Lady





Above is Holy Rosary church on Eastchester Road near Gun Hill Road. See pages 484 and 486 in Thomas Shelley's book for the 1925 creation of the parish. The rectory is to the left at 1510 Adee Avenue, Bronx NY 10469, telephone 718-379-4432. The church dates from 1970, probably just before architects realized that imposing steps often impose difficulties. An alternate access is at the blue sign. Clicking on any photo enlarges it.
On August 1, 2015, the archbishop of New York merged the parish of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lady (two miles north) with that of Holy Rosary.  The parish bulletin displays the merged names.  Mass is no longer offered regularly at what was the Nativity parish church on East 233rd St.  The Mass schedule at Holy Rosary remains the same.




Above, a Catholic church that advertises the time for Bible Study!



If you click on the above bulletin pages, you might be able to read the text, which somewhat clarifies the size of the two parishes in the merger.


Above, the school in 2009.



For decades, the Presentation Sisters taught in Holy Rosary School and lived above it.  The school address is 1500 Arnow Avenue, likewise near the intersection of Gun Hill Road and Eastchester Road. The website of Holy Rosary Elementary School is linked here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

St. John - Visitation

On August 1, 2015, the Archbishop of New York merged two Kingsbridge parishes, St. John and Visitation.  The church of St. John remains open.  Both elementary schools remain open. However, Visitation church, that is ,the newer one, no longer has regular religious services, even on Sundays. The bulletin pictured below is available at the parish website, linked HERE.



Any photo may be enlarged by clicking on it.
The 2015 Official Catholic Directory gives the enrollment at St. John's School as 224, Visitation 216.
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The mailing address remains 3021 Kingsbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10463, telephone 718-548-1221.  The parish pastoral center is around the corner at 275 West 230th Street, and its seven-day office hours are listed on the website and in the parish bulletin.  I presume that the above phone number reaches both the priests' rectory and the office, depending on hours. The office used to be in the rectory.  Some parish events are held in the Godwin Terrace School, while St. John's School is at 3143 Kingbridge Avenue, a newer building.
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See pages 268 and 298 of the Bicentennial History for the creation of St. John parish on Kingsbridge Avenue, north of West 230 Street, in 1886. Previously, it had been a mission of St. Mary's, Yonkers, and after 1869 a mission of St. Elizabeth parish, Washington Heights, whose pastor, Father Henry Brann, built a chapel in Kingsbridge. This church's patron is John the Apostle and Evangelist. The parish is often called St. John's, Kingsbridge, to distinguish it from other parishes named St John. The present church dates from 1910, but was rededicated in 1966. For more than a century, the Religious of Jesus and Mary have staffed the school. For about twenty years (1950-1970?) the De La Salle Christian Brothers staffed the boys' department.
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The rectory address is 3021 Kingsbridge Ave., Bronx NY 10463, telephone 718-548-1221.  In the above photo, the rectory is at the left, the church is at the right.  Ordained Augustinian Recollects staffed the parish for perhaps twenty years. The pastor of the combined parish (St. John - Visitation) in 2015 is Father Michael Kerrigan, an archdiocesan priest.
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The New York Times of March 15, 1966, ran an article under the headline, "Bronx Church is Crowned with a Spire in 3 Hours," narrating how the spire arrived from Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, by truck, in several pieces.  It was assembled on the rectory lawn.  Hoisting it into place took less than from noon until 3 p.m. on March 14.  It is made of steel and aluminum with baked enamel finish. The height of the spire is 52 feet.
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Over many decades, the lower church has seen much use.  In the 1940's, pews ran all the way to the back. Because of shortage of classroom space before the Godwin Terrace building was expanded, a 7th grade class was held in the rear.  In March, 2014, when these two photos were taken, parishioners were gathering for the 12:15 daily Mass.  Maybe the upper church is used on Sundays; the bulletin does not explain.



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The following helpful site gives some history: link here.
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The school is located two blocks north of the church, at 3143 Kingsbridge Avenue. It appears to have about 230 students, with one section per grade. 
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The original convent of the Religious of Jesus and Mary stands on Godwin Terrace.  The building above on West 230th Street was built for the Sisters in 1950, but the parish reclaimed it about fifty years later, moving the Sisters to the Godwin Terrace convent.  In 2015, the above building includes the parish pastoral center.


Above is a banner over the church's main door in April, 2011.
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A Facebook page has this photo of Kingsbridge Avenue, dated 1916. Looking north, it clearly shows St. John's Church, without the steeple.  The cross-street in the foreground is West 230th Street.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

St. Frances of Rome and 3 other churches in Wakefield = one parish in 2015



Above, before the 1960's only the lower church existed, on the ground floor. Then a magnificent, bright upper church was added,designed by the architect Paul Waldon Reilly, who also designed the new church of St. Frances de Chantal, Throgs Neck. More recently, an elevator helps those who have difficulty with the foyer staircases.

Clicking on any photo will enlarge it.

The new church, as seen from the west.
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From Catholic New York: 10.15.2015:  Father Georginus Ugwu, M.S.P., who was named pastor of the newly merged parish of St. Frances of Rome-St. Anthony-St. Francis of Assisi-Our Lady of Grace, the Bronx, on Aug. 1, had previously served as temporary administrator of the Wakefield Catholic Churches of St. Frances of Rome, St. Anthony and St. Francis of Assisi since July 2014. He was pastor of the Catholic chapel and chaplain of Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, Fla., 2007-2014. He was associate director and bursar of his religious congregation’s office in Houston, 2005-2007. A native of Nigeria, he earlier served there and in the Central African Republic. He was ordained for the Missionary Society of St. Paul in 2000.
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See pages 299 and 301 for the 1897 creation of the parish of St Frances of Rome, near East 236 Street and Barnes Avenue, Wakefield, east of White Plains Road. The present church dates from 1967. For many years, the Sisters of the Presentation taught in the parish school. The rectory address is 4307 Barnes Ave., Bronx NY 10466, telephone 718-324-5340. The pastor of this parish is also responsible for St. Anthony's on Richardson Avenue and St. Francis of Assisi on Baychester Avenue. 
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For St. Francis of Assisi elementary school, please use this link.
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For Our Lady of Grace elementary school, please use this link.

Friday, September 25, 2015

St. Joseph, Bathgate Avenue

Once again, David Gonzalez has written for the New York Times a magnificent article about Bronx Catholics.  Please see the link HERE.
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He writes about St. Joseph's parish, Bathgate Avenue, which was merged with the parish of St. Simon Stock on August 1, 2015.  He writes of the parishioners, the Carmelite pastor, and the Mexican religious Sisters who help maintain contact with the Catholic Christians of the neighborhood.  Angel Franco has provided sharp, telling photographs.
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Mr. Gonzalez does not mention the parish school across the street, apparently doing well.
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In addition to reading the above article, please also look at my 2009 post:
http://bronxcatholic.blogspot.com/2009/08/st-joseph-bathgate-ave-tremont.html


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Elementary school statistics

With the recent publication of the 2015 Official Catholic Directory, it is possible to look at some statistics of the Catholic elementary schools in The Bronx. Please realize that the data was probably collected more than a year ago, and some of the numbers may include pre-kindergarten enrollment.  Also, fourteen of the forty-four schools are listed with the same exact enrollment three years running, unlikely, and therefore suspect. The forty-four schools open in September, 2015, are listed in the directory as having 15,590 students.  The 2012 directory listed 17,380.
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The following analysis ignores schools with suspect numbers.  The five elementary schools with the highest enrollments are St. Raymond (given as 925), Immaculate Melrose (515), Santa Maria (500), St. Lucy (498), and Sacred Heart (456).  At the median are Holy Family (340), St. Francis Xavier (320), and St. Athanasius (315). Lowest numbers were St. Simon Stock (210), St. Nicholas of Tolentine (200), and St. Thomas Aquinas (180).  
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Also, please see the official websites:
http://buildboldfutures.org/regions/northeast-east-bronx/
and
http://buildboldfutures.org/regions/northwest-south-bronx/
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According to the above links, the total number of elementary school students in The Bronx is 14,145, probably a more accurate figure than the OCD totals.