St. Saviour

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  1. We are going through a similar situation in our Catholic School in Ocean Springs, MS. Did many families pull out of your school? We have tried the petition, met with the Bishop, families are leaving but all the changes made are staying in place. Just wondering if you had any luck.

    • There was no exodus from the school, but I should point out that many of the Catholic Schools in the neighborhood are foundering and may not stay open for long. There are a few thriving schools in Brooklyn, but they are pretty far from Park Slope. The Diocese is in the process of converting the Parish Schools into Academies which would be run by an Administrative Board made up of Parents and Parishioners. We’re hoping this will alleviate what we found to be erratic governance by the Pastor. As far as the Parish goes, parishioners are still hoping for a reconciliation between the Parish Council and the parishioners, but as of yet, the Pastor and the Council have showed little interest in pursuing one.

  2. How is it that the Diocese has no power in this matter? I find it very strange that they seem to be able to enforce their will in every other parish, but claim that their hands are tied here.

  3. What do you consider good comments? Those comments that agree with you? Bad comments are those that are in opposition to your views I would imagine. Also, am not clear how you can turn a campaign against an individual pastor into a “preservation society”.

    I find this to be the opposite of christianity and against the teachings of Jesus.

  4. How can I be removed from the mailing list of the SSPS?
    The fear mongering in the letters is truly upsetting and I
    do not wish to be contacted by you again.

    • Emily,
      I can address that for you as I am maintaining the mailing database. However, removing one entry with a first name of “Emily” from a mailing list with over 2,000 entries poses a bit of a problem. Please tell me how to proceed so I may accomodate your request.

  5. There are some upcoming “Futures in Education” Diocesan Fundraising Events to boycott in support of th SSPS’s efforts
    regarding the community’s protest of both the unjust dismissal of St. Saviour’s Elementary School Principal and their Pastor’s cronyism in hiring a replacement without conducting a full professional search, open to all qualified candidates . .

    “Futures in Education” Diocesan Fundraising Events (as noted in the Diocese’s website-educational section)

    July 23rd

    Going to Bat for Education!

    Keyspan Park

    Click Here for ticket information!

    September 18, 2009

    FriendRaiser

    Immaculate Conception Center

    September 19 and 20th, 2009

    The Great Irish Fair!

    KeySpan Park

    Click the flyer to the right for all the details!

    October 2, 2009

    Catholic School Night at CitiField

    October 28, 2009

    Annual Scholarship Dinner

    Marriot Marquis
    Honoring Theodore Edgar Cardinal McCarrick

  6. Excerpt From the Brooklyn Diocese’s Futures in Education website:

    “We must help empower all parents, regardless of their socio-economic status, to make the best decisions when it comes to the education of their children. Catholic schools serve a strong and vital option in the spectrum of educational opportunities. We need to ensure that these schools are available and affordable for our families.”
    –Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D., Bishop of Brooklyn

  7. Hope has two beautiful daughters;
    their names are
    anger and courage.
    Anger at the way things are, and
    Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.

  8. “God favors no group–only religions do that.”

  9. Mr. Flanagan is a very good principal! He has been our principal for 26 years. Father Murphy should renew Mr. Flanagan’s contract.

  10. Parental involvement is vital to our kids’ education, and I am pleased to see such caring about schooling! The common denominator in all our efforts to teach our kids is always parental care and involvement. As soon as I learned of the recent situation at St. Saviour, I knew it was important to support those involved. In that spirit, I have spoken to some members of the St. Saviour community and look forward to collaborating in the near-term at a meeting with the parents. Education is so very important, and working together to maintain a successful institution like St. Saviour is fundamental to our efforts to provide superior instruction for our children.
    – NYS Senator Eric Adams (D-20)

  11. I’m a 2003 graduate of SSES and a graduate of SSHS 07. Upon hearing the news of Mr. Flanagan’s dismissal, I was stunned. I vividly remember Mr. Flanagan as someone dedicated and passionate to St. Saviour, constantly striving to make the students’ experiences, as well as the staff’s, better. In most of the articles I’ve seen, he has been negatively described as “strict”. If by “strict” you mean determined and focused then, yes, I agree. It is sad to see him go, especially at the hands of Father Murphy, whom I always thought to be a sensible and intelligent individual. If the Diocesan’s idea of “progress” is more money going to programs/improvements that I have yet to see happen (and, I might add, have been supposedly happening since I was at SSES some six years ago) and not the students’ best interest, then how are we moving foward on a student-teacher-education level? My mother happened to come across Mr. Flanagan some months ago. He approached her, shook her hand and asked how I was doing, what college I’m attending, etc. Not only did Mr. Flanagan remember my mother, but he also remembered me, a graduate from SIX years ago. I am very proud of the education I received at both SSES and SSHS. All of those teachers are the reason I am a junior at Fordham University and the reason why I intend to go into teaching myself. If they are supporting Mr. Flanagan, I would be a fool not to lend him my support as well. I hope this situation changes, as it saddens me that this has happened at a place so close to my heart.

    • Nicole, that was so well written that it is clear to see you had a wonderful education. You are a shining example of a good Catholic school education. Mr. Flanagan can be proud to have served as principal for such a fine young woman. Thank you for your outstanding sense of loyalty, commitment to teaching others and overall fine example as a Catholic woman of the 21st Century.

  12. As I sit here, reading all of the above statements, I am deeply saddened by one that reads that we are, “full of ourselves,” that we are “hurting children.” That could not be farther from the truth. When I walk on the line each afternoon – rain or shine – I see the faces of parents who have worked hard to send their children to St. Saviour. I see parents who have never done anything like this before – myself included. People who have rearranged schedules to be there. People who, despite having any misgivings about making such a public statement, get in the line and walk with us. I see faith in action.
    My family has participated in this community for over 80 years. My child is third-generation St. Saviour. We have worked in the church and school in many capacities: teachers, singers, readers, volunteers, etc.
    To that end, I will not have my family called discourteous. And how dare anyone accuse me of hurting my child by teaching her that standing up for what is right is the right thing to do. May I invite those who condemn us to actually get to know us? That man who told me on Sunday that I was being disrespectful is welcome to come to the school to meet the wonderful teachers, children and Mr. Flanagan himself, before he calls me disrespectful ever again. It is extremely important to know both sides of the story before making a decision. It feels like some of the people who support Fr. Murphy have not explored our reasons for protecting the school and Mr. Flanagan. You can bet that if something happened at their jobs or schools – or anywhere, really – that they would hope and pray that someone would stand up for them.
    What we are doing is more important as each day goes by. You don’t have to agree with us. But it would be nice if you could respect our rights as parents. We have conducted ourselves with faith and dignity. Respect what would prompt a group of parents to fight this hard for the future of their children.
    We have been faced with an unethical situation and we have been demanding answers and justice. What is wrong with that?
    Mr. Flanagan is my friend. He is a dedicated, faithful individual who should be celebrated by this parish & the diocese. He deserved better, end of story.

  13. Mr. Flanagan has dedicated over 25 years to this school. He is a good principal and has done many good things for this school. I think that Father Murphy should reconsider his decision. Why does Father Murphy think that there needs to be change? What is he trying to perfect that isn’t already fine? Why interfere with something that was already fine on its own? I think that some people are frustrated because they paid part of next year’s tuition BEFORE they knew about the principal change, but most of all, none of us know what to expect for the next school year (2009-2010). I personally think it is a bad decision that should definitely be reconsidered.

  14. It is so sad that it has come down to this. I never thought that I would be a parent standing in front of my own parish and protesting. I have been in the parish all my life. I went to St. Saviour Elementary School and now my two children attend. I march daily to fight for my children’s education and I am being accused of being disgraceful and rude for fighting for what is the most important thing to me, my children’s Catholic education. I wish that the people who are siding with Father Murphy could understand that we are fighting for our children’s education and that we are not doing this to discredit Father Murphy. We are questioning his actions. I am disappointed that we are being judged so harshly in our own community. It is appropriate to disagree and debate issues. Peaceful demonstrations are a helpful tool in achieving justice. AND IT’S ALL ABOUT OUR CHILDREN.

  15. I feel that the real fight should be against Fr. Murphy’s dictator-like leadership, and should be presented as such, otherwise it appears to the general public, reporters and others like we are over reacting.

  16. Hi All,

    I went to the Saint Saviour Elemantary School graduation last night. I didn’t have a child graduating , my sons Bradley and Christian are in 5th and 2nd grade. I went for many different reasons but mostly in support of Mr.Flanagan. I’m so glad that I went, it was a beautiful ceremony.

    Mr.Flanagan displayed the same grace and dignity that he has through this entire ordeal. He never waivered in his praise and admiration for the graduates, faculty ,parents and all that make up the community of St.Saviour Elementary School. He didn’t make any specific remarks about himself but he exuded the pride he must feel at being responsible for yet another fine class of exceptional graduates.

    The graduates who spoke James Talisse ,Salutatorian and Brian Sullivan, Valedictorian both made amazing speeches.One common point was the important influence of Mr.Flanagan on their lives. They spoke of how Mr.Flanagan welcomed them to the school and how amazingly he knows the first and last name of every student. It was said that he also knew of the strengths of each student and how he helped any student with any of their weaknesses. They spoke of how the whole community of our school has nurtured the students and prepared them for their wonderful journey ahead of them.

    I sat there with maternal pride for boys and girls that aren’t my own. I sat there with pride for our school , our faculty , our parents and our principal James Flanagan . This is the community of SSES and I am proud to be part of it.

    I am sure Virginia Greaney Powers along with Judy Smith Fallon must have been proud not only to receive the Amor Salvatoris Award but to have such heartfelt praise and admiration bestowed on them by Mr.Flanagan. Congratulations to you both!

    I am inspired that my children, God willing, will have the same opportunity to perhaps have some of those awards , honors or scholarships bestowed upon them. Most of all I pray that they will have the distinct honor of being St.Saviour graduates.

    To all of you here that have a graduate ,Congratulations! To the rest of us, this is what we are standing up for, this is what we believe in and what we want for our own and for each others children.

    Thank you to all of you who tirelessly fight the good fight and stand up for all of us. Keep praying, keep believing and never give up hope. I haven’t.

    Sincerely,

    Vivian Boolbol

    • I am a proud parent of one of those graduates; each of them is very unhappy with Father Murphy’s decision. But they were, as taught by Mr. Flanagan and their teachers, respectful of Father Murphy during the ceremony.
      At their final practice on Friday morning, Mr. Flanagan reminded them that this was more than likely his final graduating class at St. Saviour’s and that he was very proud of them. Their response was a very moving standing ovation.

    • Vivian,

      Thank you for your kind words and congratulations.

      St. Saviour Elementary School has a special place in my life and I will continue to support its efforts.

      And thank you all for your support to our special school.

      Warmest regards,
      Judy Smith Fallon
      Class of 1975

  17. Dear St. Saviour’s Parents, Pastor, Children:
    I read the accounts of the happenings in your parish school from Chicago. It is indeed more than sad that the spiritual leader, Fr. Murphy and his bishop, break the fundamental law of Christiandon, viz., Love. So severely broken is the Great Commandment that it strikes an axe at the foundation of St. Saviour’s community of faith. Fr. Murphy behavior and that of the local hierarchy send some frightening red flags. I speak of the motivation behind Fr. Murphy’s need to hide from the school and to use his “power” under canon law to destroy a faith community raising and nurturing children in their Catholic traditions. I believe the Scriptures are clear on leading the “littles ones astray.”
    People of St Saviour rise up, take charge, assume your rightful leadership. YOU are the parish. Fr. Murphy needs to replaced not Mr. Flanagan. Have you all not seen and heard enough of the abuse of power by priests and bishops? Have mercy on Fr. Murphy and his hierarchy as they obviously see you as subserviant to their “power” and control. Get Fr. Murphy the help that he needs. He may quote Sacred Scripture about the Spirit, but his actions scream something else.
    St. Saviour, YOU are the church. Live it, love, nurture its little ones and answer only to your conscience.
    With prayers of support from Chicago,
    Joseph T. Ceh, D.Min.

  18. Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27
    Mr Flanagan deserves good to stay as our beloved school principal and Father Murphy you have the power to act and change this very sad decision.

  19. Father Murphy,

    Please help us to understand what this “New Vision is”? And what does this vision have to with our beloved Principal, Mr. Flanagan. I will tell you from first hand experience I am a student who came front 2 schools which were closed. The first one was St. Thomas Aquinos which honestly was awesome with a Great principal. The second school I came from was from Sacred Hearts and that school was a nightmare. We had teachers who cared but we had a principal who was never around and in order for a parent to be seen with a concern you had to wait 2 weeks for an appointment. In that school there was no communication and no love. As a matter of fact, here is an example of how bad it was –I ended up getting hurt during recess and the principal took it upon herself to decide that I wasn’t hurt and that I did not need medical attention. She did not call my parents to notify them of what had occurred (well to make a long story short) the school secretary ended up calling my mom on the sneak tip and letting her know what had happened. Well needless-to-say, I ended up in the emergency room with a concusion! And this is just 1 of many examples that went on in that school. My point is here that Mr. Flanagan knows each of us by name and if we have a medical problem, he’s aware of it. He really loves us and only wants the best for us. A year ago, we lost our 2 year old cousin to a rare form of Leukemia and to top it off my mom ended up having a stroke, everything was happening within months of each other. My sister and I were going through so much — we didn’t know in what direction we were going, we were so scared and worried about losing our mom too. As soon as Mr. Flanagan had found out what was happening to our family without hesitation he got us help. Today, we have Mr. Flanagan to thank for, helping us get through that ordeal. Father Murphy, there are so many more examples. All I can tell you is that my sister and I finally found in St. Saviour a home away from home. A home where we feel safe and secured. A home were there is love and compassion. St. Saviour is just not a school it’s our family, so please don’t take away the head of this family — we don’t want it to fall apart. Please re-consider your decision — please, please for the children of this family (St. Saviour).

    God Bless you,

    Brittany 7A

  20. I am deeply saddened and shocked that Father Murphy, Pastor of Saint Saviour, Spiritual Leader to us all in Park Slope has chosen to use idle gossip and hearsay to address the community of Saint Saviour Elementary School’s questions.

    Father Murphy and Bishop DiMarzio, please meet with parents and show the community and members of Saint Saviour you care about Saint Saviour Elementary School, your fateful and loyal parishioners, and especially the young and impressionable children of Saint Saviour.

  21. Today’s picket started out sad and small. It was rainy and we were all depressed about the letter that we got yesterday from Father Murphy. But then the sun came out, more folks came – and two charming Community Affairs Officers gave me a light grilling. One sargeant actually said that he was considering transfering his son to St. Saviour’s from P.S.154. I said, “Oh you should, we have a really great principal.” We all laughed.

  22. I am saddened that Fr. Murphy has chosen to address idle gossip as the core of his first letter to the parents. His letter did not provide any assurance regarding the future of our children. We still have concerns. We are still waiting for answers.

  23. I’m sitting here three thousand miles away, but my heart and prayers are with you all. I scratch my head and ask “Father Murphy why now”. Why would you not let a loyal, dedicated, and deeply religious man, who is doing the work of the Lord in educating our children in the Catholic faith, retire on his own terms. It is obvious to me that there is much more that is not being said about the reason for the dismissal. But with that said Father, why not take the high road as the Lord displayed through out his own life and give Mr. Flanagan another year to go out with the dignity and respect that any cherished long time employee has earned and deserves. I see a win win for you Father Murphy because you will have that institutional knowledge around for another year which can be used to mentor and guide the person that you have selected as a replacement. But equally important it shows that you are willing to hear the voices of your sheep and their lambs, who are really the ones that this is all about!

  24. As if the Tablet knew what was going on with the parents v. Fr. Murphy, please read this Tablet editorial – it’s right on point:

    http://www.thetablet.org/05162009/editorials.html

    Highlights:

    “Our own diocesan leadership has taken bold steps toward developing effective lay leadership in recent years, notably through the parish pastoral council initiative and, most promisingly, new school governance models articulated in Preserving the Vision. Not only has our diocesan bishop clearly emblazoned his stamp on the preservation of Catholic schools; he has summoned our laity to come to their rescue, laying out a strategy to ensure it.

    Have too many Church managers been arrogating – or made to retain – responsibilities better entrusted to our laity? It’s high time to loosen the grip.”

  25. If Father Murphy wants to experiment, maybe he should ask to be sent to one of the failing schools to see how well his NEW VISION will work. Mr. Flanagan’s vision has been tested and proven to be SUCCESSFUL throughout his tenure – 26 years of SUCCESS
    THIS IS A TESTIMONY OF A GOOD LEADER

  26. Mr.Flanagan should stay!He is the best principal I ever had.Change is not good when it is not for the best.Father Murphy is wrong to do what he is doing!Mr. Flanagan should stay.

  27. Mr. Flanagan is a very good principal. Fr. Murphy should change his mind so that we can be a happy school family again!

  28. Mr. Flanagan is a nice principal. I hope Fr. Murphy rethinks his decision. Mr. Flanagan has been in the school for a lot of years and he has been a very great principal. Please help him stay!

  29. We have had three children attend St. Saviours. Through experience we know Mr. Flanagan is a hard working principal who is dedicated to his students, faculty and the parish. He has successfully kept the school thriving. We are disheartened that after 17 years of knowing Mr. Flanagan, he may be forced to leave the school in such a sad way. Our hope is that Mr. Flanagan will be granted an extension of his contract. We applaud the St. Saviour school community for coming together during such a stressful time.

  30. Regarding Father Murphy’s Statements to the Brooklyn Eagle:

    Why is Father Murphy willing to talk to the press but not the parents?
    We are supposed to be content with his decisions without explanation yet he has barely set foot in the school. Fr. Murphy says the future of Catholic education is going to change and James Flanagan’s leadership will be lacking in this new capacity. What kind of leadership has Father Murphy shown? What kind is he showing us now? And will we EVER be told what this “change” for Catholic education is since we have already paid for it? Notice this news of James Flanagan’s termination was not made public until AFTER our children were registered for next year with our “non refundable” dollars. Do the Bishop and Fr. Murphy realize that this is breach of contract at the very least when we paid for another year under the impression that Mr. Flanagan would be our principal?? Do the other parents even realize that?

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