St. Saviour

Can’t Get Much Weirder at Brooklyn’s St. Saviour Elementary School

In 1 on September 17, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Click here to see article with comments

Our Story So Far:
It was only last May that parents clamored to get their children into Park Slope’s desirable St. Saviour elementary school, led for 26 years by beloved Principal James Flanagan.

Cue to the dark cloud swooping over the smiling faces . . . in the form of Pastor Daniel S. Murphy, a relative newcomer. On May 11, Fr. Murphy sent a memo to the teachers at St. Saviour informing them that Principal Flanagan was being let go as of June.

Chaos ensued. Teachers cried in the halls, parents (who had just dropped off their deposits) attempted to have a meeting with Fr. Murphy, but were refused. Letters and calls went unanswered. Parents held protest marches, prayer vigils, sent letters to the press, started St. Saviour Preservation Society and a web site, and sent letters to the Bishop and superintendent.

Fr. Murphy told the Brooklyn Eagle that the firing was in accordance with the Bishop’s long-term vision of the future. The Bishop, however, distanced himself, saying that the Pastor was totally and singly in charge of his parish, hiring and firing.

Fr. Murphy quickly appointed a new principal, parish insider Maura Lorenzen. Lorenzen, recently a well-regarded co-director at Congregation Beth Elohim’s Early Childhood Center, has said nothing since starting her new job, as protests continue to swirl around her.

According to the Eagle, accusations that Lorenzen is plotting with Fr. Murphy to hike tuition or even dump the school and rent the property to the City for use as a public charter school have been aired. (Fr. Murphy denies the latter.)

Mr. Flanagan appealed to the Diocese. He won his appeal, but apparently that carries no weight.

Our Story Today:
Now the Brooklyn Eagle reports that Fr. Murphy has turned down a mediator’s recommendation that Principal Flanagan return to St. Saviour for one more year, this time as a co-principal.

Father Murphy told the Brooklyn Eagle on Friday “that he has indeed declined to have Flanagan return as a co-principal,” but “did not elaborate on his reasons.”

Meanwhile, some parishioners are leaving St. Saviour to attend Mass at another church. Others are diverting money from the collection basket. More parent protests are planned.

Can it get any weirder? Can Fr. Murphy possibly screw the situation up any more than he has?

And about the Diocese of Brooklyn — They have the power to close a school, to combine schools into academies, to hire and fire pastors. Can they really claim they have absolutely no influence over Fr. Murphy?

As they fiddle, Rome burns.

St. Saviour Church 9/16/09

St. Saviour Church 9/16/09

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