St. Saviour

A Tribute at Last

In 1 on March 9, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Parishioners, peers, parents, alumni, faculty, friends and family finally had the opportunity to gather together in joyful tribute to the former Principal of St. Saviour Elementary School.  On March 7th, 2010, the St. Saviour community gathered to honor James J. Flanagan, the steward of their parish elementary school from 1984 until 2009.   Mr. Flanagan was surrounded by admirers in his home parish of St. Patrick’s, Bay Ridge, where revellers were toasting to his good health, listening to speeches extolling his many virtues, buying raffles, and enjoying plenty of good food and drink.  Lorraine Gorrin, the first grade teacher of St. Saviour Elementary for 29 years, served as host, introducing such honored guests as  Monsignor Nagle, who was the pastor of St. Saviour from 1997 to 2004 and is the current pastor of St. Patrick’s, Jean Eschenauer who has been the 8th grade teacher of St. Saviour Elementary for 20 years,  Lucia Balzamo, the Kindergarten teacher at SSES for 20 years, Mary Papaleo who has been the kindergarten assistant teacher for 18 years, Gertrude Gilligan who attended St. Saviours Elementary School & High School and who also sent her two children there, Judy Fallon an alumni of the elementary school, high school, and member of Friends of St. Saviour, Cathy Hunt who is the current Home School Board President, and Sister Kathleen Sullivan, the principal of St. Francis Xavier.  Mrs. Eschenauer mentioned how daunting Mr. Flanagan’s early years must have been since he was the first layperson principal and (gasp!) a man!  Sister Kathleen related that “he set the standard for all of us, and when other principals had problems or concerns, they looked to Jim.  He is sorely missed.”  Everyone was teary when the two Kindergarten teachers thanked him for hiring them so long ago and giving them a great lifelong opportunity to work in Catholic Education.  After being presented with a plaque, Principal Flanagan lightened the mood by jokingly announcing his candidacy for NY governor with a campaign run by St. Saviour parents.  Mr. Flanagan told us that his doctors couldn’t be more pleased with his blood work numbers and it was easy for everyone to see that semi-retirement was agreeing with him.  He’s staying busy by running an Honor’s Program at St. Patrick’s and occasionally substituting. It was a loving and memorable night that will be remembered by all attendees.  We will all continue to keep him in our prayers, knowing that he will do the same for us.  What a blessing to our parish to have had such a dedicated shepherd for a quarter of a century.

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