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.
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).  
Also, please see the official websites:
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.
Please also note the dates of the Open House visitations and the Information Fairs.
The cost of the test is $63.
You will also find an abundance of information in the 2016 Catholic High School Guide linked HERE.
For students and parents intent on Catholic high school admission, the important point is to GET MOVING, as instructed above.
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

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.