I 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”