As classroom lights turn off


To the editor:

(re: “Catholic school merger causes an uproar,” Feb. 23)

As only a mother’s eyes could burn through the rhetoric of the closing of 12 schools in the Archdiocese of New York, the Jewish shopkeeper penetrated into my heart and asked bluntly: “Why is the church closing our school?”

Yes, our school.

Tucked away in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, Saint Gabriel’s School is a big monument to what has become an integral part of the life stories of thousands of alums, faculty and staff members who served well the grinding nature and hope of Catholic education.

The grammar school has more than the mythical line of 200 students as a minimal enrollment requirement, but the reasons for closure are many and vague. The finger-pointing and blaming others is a useless waste of time.

As we all heard from kindergarten, wasting time is the most pernicious of activities. It threatens our very souls!

These were heavy thoughts thrown into the laps of students in uniforms, but there is some truth to those teachings. Indeed, we have all seen in our post-Gabe’s life what sheer laziness and lack of clear thinking can lead to in all aspects of the public arena. 

From Vietnam, through cover-ups in the church, to denial of racism that has led to the Black Lives Matter movement, we know that the religious sisters, the towering parish priests and lay people were right in demanding that we deal with consequences of poor behavior and fuzziness.

My family was connected with this “small grammar school” for 28 years, as my mother went back to serve in the school as secretary . The pay was minimal, but she went back because her two sons received good education.

What other report card does a system that says it loves education need so as to bless the future?

the Rev. James Sheehan


The author serves in bilingual campus ministry in the CUNY system

Rev. James Sheehan, CUNY, Catholic schools, Saint Gabriel School,