Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Letters to the Editor, Friday, February 23, 2007

Letters to the Editor
Friday, February 23, 2007
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Keep this torch burning

Thank you for continuing to extol the virtues of the private sector and its ability to more efficiently and effectively run a business ("Wine and Roses: State Stores Close Early Despite Cupid's Needs," Feb. 19 editorial).
After reading the Feb. 16 Business article "Spirits of Privatization Are Likely to Stay Bottled Up," I figured that I might as well just give up and accept that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the state store system are here to stay. However, I'm very happy to see that the PG will continue to carry the torch of liquor store privatization.
Aside from keeping the politically active, unionized state store employees working and from giving former legislators high-paying, unnecessary jobs, there is absolutely no reason for the commonwealth to be running a business that 48 other states do not.
I urge the Legislature and governor to focus on those things that the private sector won't do and leave the sale and distribution of alcohol to private enterprise.

Squirrel Hill

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary, 9/22/07 Reunion Program

This is the program, in a black and white pdf, that you'll need to reconfigure a bit to view.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pius Closing - Was it in the Works from '78?

I heard a number of good stories at the St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary 2007 Reunion held on September 22, 2007. However, a fellow '82 graduate also told me something that I should have known, and probably all of the other Pius graduates already know. This individual told me that Bishop McGann appointed Msgr. Nosser as Rector at St. Pius X in 1978 in order to prepare it for closing after the school's founder, the retired Bishop Kellenberg, died. The school was, however, closed in 1984 two years prior to his death.

Pius Closing Results - Msgr. Guarino and Fr. Bryce

I doubt that Fr. Edward Bryce and Msgr. Charles Guarino know each other. With Fr. Bryce shepherding his flock in Pittsburgh and Msgr. Guarino in an administrative role for the Diocese of Rockville Centre there does not seem to have been the opportunity to have discussed the issue.

I have often joked with people over the years when they ask why St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary was closed. My answer has been that the ROI on boys becoming priests was just not high enough from 1964 through 1984 for the Diocese to justify the financial resources to keep the school open. I was not close enough to the situation in 1984 to know exactly what the Diocese's reasons were. But I'm sure that money and very few graduates moving onto the college seminary (Cathedral College which closed in 1987) were the reasons, although I never read the actual spin the Diocese put on Pius' closing.

In May of this year sitting at a dinner table after the Oakland Catholic 4th Annual Golf Outing with Fr. Bryce and three of his retired priest buddies, he and I began discussing my four years as a seminarian. I then joked as usual about the closing and the poor ROI. He chuckled mildly but without hesitation moved into a discussion about the good men who are now raising Christian families and most likely speakly knowledgeably about the Church and its history. This was the first time that Pius was portrayed this way for me.

I attended the Pius September 22, 2007 reunion with my recent realization from Fr. Bryce about my fellow graduates and myself. Msgr. Guarino was the principal celebrant at the reunion's Mass and he stated in his opening remarks that while the number of priests that came from Pius was small that no one should forget the number of good, holy, quality, moral and intelligent men that now are married and raising families as a result of a religious education at Pius.

I'm not sure why I never thought about the Church-aware, moral graduates that resulted from Pius. Yes, these alumni are, for the most part, not priests (not one of the guys from '82 went on to the priesthood) but they are most likely men who, with a level of theology most Catholic high school graduates don't have, can represent the Church well and raise children who are kind, gentle, moral and knowledgeable.

Pius Reunion

September 22, 2007 was the annual reunion date for St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary . I had not been back to that home-away-from-home for four years of my life since I graduated in 1982. I had hoped that more of my priesthood-reticent fellow alumni would have attended, but in the end only five of the 52 made it. While I understand that last year a number of the former faculty had attended the gathering, this year only Dr. Ralph Leitner and his wife were able to participate. There was word that Chris Schneider might crash the party late but that did not happen.

The time for me was well spent. There aren't many high school reunions that start with a Mass. This institution was however for boys who were considering the priesthood (as much as one can in the eighth grade) and during my four years there seminarians were required to attend Mass each day. Mass was celebrated by Msgr. Guarino. Unfortunately, he and his concelebrants had already served and left before I entered the school in 1978. So even then I did not get to talk with any of the men who taught me in those formative days.

I did not attend any previous reunions for the Class of '82. Maybe because there were no girls in the school and thus no women to arrange reunions the events don't happen as one might like. This is not to say that the men of Pi-High could not arrange an event, as last night's organizers most certainly did so. However, the prime organizers were from the Class of '77 that was celebrating its 30th reunion. I understand hasty Class of '82 reunions were held over the years but again I was not there.

The Class of '82 attendees were Rich Duffy (the prime '82 organizer) who had just buried his dad the day before, Juan Cadavid, Rob McMullin, Jim Dotzler and me. Jim attended Mass with his wife but for health reasons he was not able to continue on to the reception. The remaining four found their way to the St. Agnes Parish Center in Rockville Centre for an open bar and vegetarian-friendly hors d'oeuvres and buffet very nicely arranged by Guy Bolognese from the Class of '77. Rich's wife, Denise, and son attended Mass but did not move on to the dinner. Juan brought his mom to Mass and she was beaming with pride for her successful son. Juan mentioned that his mom had come to many regular and holiday services at the Pius Chapel over the years.

The four of us sat at a table for quite some time discussing the old days, nowadays and the days in between. All of us are married. Some of us started families earlier than others but each of us has children. We actually wrapped up the evening rather early, around 11:00, the three locals citing those women and children to get home to. While my bunch was back home in Pittsburgh, I'm not so outgoing as to bust into the Class of '77 attendees to make small talk so I headed back to my room at the Hampton Inn.

My time at Mass was strange. I certainly remember sitting in the appropriate section for my year. (The whole goal was not to get to daily Mass so late that one had to sit in the row in front of the guys a year ahead. One just never knew what someone might be up to behind you. ) I was not taken back 25 years but I did definitely recall much. Again, though without the priests from my years at the altar, the stage was just not set for a truly proper reminiscence. The physical setting though was right - the dark blue stained glass and crucifix were as I recalled.