blsacrament1I was lucky enough to be quoted in a New York Times article this past week about Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor, and her years at Blessed Sacrament grade school which we both attended at the same time.

As a result of that article, I’ve heard from a ton of people from the old days — some of whom I knew and some I did not — but the biggest surprise was hearing from Father Vinny Gorman who was a great parish priest at BSS.

So here is some news about Father Gorman. For one thing he is no longer a priest, having left the priesthood around 1978. But I think I should let him tell his story in his own words so here is part of an email he asked me to share with all of you:

“I came to Blessed Sacrament in 1961 at age 26 and joined Msgr. Hart, Father Dolan and Father Toplisky—later to be joined by Father Jeffers—and served for 5 years before going to St John’s in Beacon for 2 years, Our Lady of Mercy in the Bronx for 6 years and  then as pastor of St Michael’s in Co-op City from 1974-1978.

“In 1978  I took a leave of absence from active ministry and subsequently received a dispensation from my vows. I married in 1981 . I loved and love the priesthood and am still a very committed Catholic and have the fondest memories of my first assignment and first friends as a priest. I keep in contact with many from Blessed Sacrament and we all share the same conviction: Blessed Sacrament Parish and School did more for us than we could ever hope to do for them. It was a wonderful experience.

“Father Dolan (Marty) and I were great friends (I knew him from our seminary days) and he was a truly marvelous man. Your bloggers recall his spirit, the ice skating, the beach trips, the roller skating, etc.Well, we loved the kids and wanted them to keep the faith and love each other. It happened and it also did wonders for us. Marty died bringing communion to a elderly shut-in  on June 6, 1990. We lost a good man and friend.

“Yes, there has been  a priest scandal—but think of the Father Dolans.  in the church, they are  everywhere. I know them, they’re just not as funny. I remember Sonia Sotomayor, but not very clearly. Remember, there were an average of 1200 children in the school every year, with about 200 graduating every year with another 200 entering. Father Dolan and I loved to go to the classrooms (the Sisters of Charity were marvelous) and we got to know a lot of kids and followed them through high school .We just couldn’t remember them all.

“We should all be grateful for the fine education and moral standards imparted by Blessed Sacrament School and be truly proud of Ms Sottomayor—she is one of us. We are a very, very blessed generation. I love everyone I was privileged to minister to in my relatively  short stay in Blessed Sacrament. They were my happiest and most fulfilling years in the priesthood. Also, I learned from Father  Dolan how to ice skate”


  1. Clara Diaz says:

    Paul: It was a pleasure to hear about Father Gorman. I remember him dearly as I was closer to him than Father Dolan and he too went to the Beach and ice skatng with us kids and he made me feel special. I remember he left befoe I graduated and I was simply devasted as he was there for my communion, confimaion and wouldn’t be there for my graduation. As luck would have it, I did belong to St. Michael’s Parish and remember going to St. Michaels when I moved to Coop City and saw his name listed as the Pastor. As you can imagine, I thought I would have a heart attach right in church. He remembered me clearly when I greeted him upon entering church I was touched.

    I am so happy to learn about him and I would love for you to send him a hello from Clara, the girl with the very long hair. Tell him too that he gave me a little Christman momento when I was in third grade and I still have it to this day. I treasure it and keep it very close to me as he was a very special person in my life. He made going to BSS special and I looked forward to going to school because he was there to give us kids encouragement and friendship. We felt the love he had for us and the love he had for God and the Catholic Church. I never forgot that.

    I was at the BSS reunion that we just had and Jimmy is doing a great job of keeping us all in the loop. Please tell Vincent to come to the reunion we are having on November 21st. I would love to see him. I will tell Jimmy to give you the information. I am assuming, of course, that Vincent lives in New York, I hope he does.

    Best,

    Clara Diaz

  2. Paul LaRosa says:

    i’m sure vincent will see your post….but i’ll send it to him to make sure. i’m actually not sure he lives in nyc.

  3. Clara Diaz says:

    Paul:

    Thank you for sending my post to Vincent. It would be nice to hear from him.

    Best,

    Clara

  4. Nancy Steptoe says:

    It was so great to read about Father Gorman. My family moved into the neighborhood in 1961. Father Dolan and Father Gorman were wonderful teachers and mentors. All seven of us went to BSS. Please convey our best wishes from the Conaway family.

    Nancy(Conaway)Steptoe

  5. Grace Lugo Kruskol says:

    I’m so glad to hear about Vincent Gorman. I Iknew him at Our Lady of Mercy in the ’60’s. Hard to believe, but I was one of the few Puerto Rican girls in my class at that time. My time there was difficult, but the one person I always looked forward to spending time with was Fr. Gorman. He always made me feel special, and I remember the skating trips and other outings. He seemed to know which kids needed a little extra attention, and he was generous with his love. I also remember a Midnight Mass in ’68 or ’69, when he spoke of what a great show Jesus Christ Superstar was. We all thought he was the coolest priest around! When I was preparing to be married in 1980, I tried to find out where he was so I could ask him to officiate, but I couldn’t locate him. As I have learned now, he had already left the priesthood. I would love to hear from him, and tell him how much his kindness meant to a shy, lonely girl.

  6. Paul LaRosa says:

    thanks for your note. it’s nice to hear about how many children fr. gorman and fr. dolan touched in their time at blessed sacrament. we were truly lucky to have such good priests and good men.

  7. Nancy Steptoe says:

    Paul- If you haven’t heard Vincent Gorman passed away March 28.

    Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday, 11 am, at Our Lady of Fatima Church, 5 Strathmore Road, Scarsdale, (Exit 10 West off Bronx River Pkwy.) Interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

    I’m so saddened.

  8. frank (gyro)giarro says:

    Hi
    I grew up in Blessed Sacrament parish and even though i never attended school there i was very active in the parish. I was an altar boy for 4 years and have some great memories of Fr. Gorman, Fr.
    Dolan, Fr.Jefferies and Fr. Tablisky. Vinny, remember? You had to be there, hope all is well……….frankie

  9. frank (gyro)giarro says:

    Paul
    I just read that Vinnie passed away. i am so sad

  10. Paul LaRosa says:

    yes, i’m sorry he passed on also. i always think of him as that vibrant young priest but….

  11. frank (gyro)giarro says:

    HI Paul
    Blessed sacrament church was the center of our neighborhood. I have such great memories of those wonderful days. I accidentally found your website and am so glad i did.
    I use to visit Fr. Dolan when he was at i think Santa Maria church on Zerega ave and went to his wake when he passed. I have great memories of all those priest at Blessed Sacrament. I remember the night my day passed away, June 17th 1964. I was 16 yrs old and i went to the rectory about 11:30 pm and Fr. Gorman came with me to my house and was a real comfort to myself and my family. I thought about him often over the years and after he left the priest hood went to visit him in Floral pk. with another friend Tony Fornabio. I’m so sorry i lost contact with Vinnie and Tony shortly after that visit. I will pray for him often.
    If any one from the old neighborhood happens to find this site and remember’s me, i would love to hear from them . My e-mail address if pfdriver@aol.com. Thanks Paul.

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