Well, the Catholic Archdiocese of New York made it official last night — they are closing 24 Catholic schools (two of them high schools) including Blessed Sacrament School on Beach Avenue in The Bronx, not only my alma mater but also that of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
I knew it was only a matter of time. There was no way a Catholic grammar school in an economically depressed area of the city — serving a mostly Latino population — was going to come up with the more than $1 million it would have taken to keep the school open. Ironically, that very fact — that Blessed Sacrament is a very good school in a poor section of the Bronx serving an underserved population — is the very reason it should be kept open.
Justice Sotomayor is promoting her new memoir “My Beloved World” which includes the years she spent at Blessed Sacrament but now one piece of that “Beloved World” will be part of the Lost World come June.
It’s very disheartening. President Obama and countless others pontificate about education is the key to the future for children everywhere and yet there is no money to save this school and 23 others. And the inequality of the situation is mind-boggling. In Manhattan (and some parts of Brooklyn), parents pay upwards of $35,000 a year for pre-school and that number easily rises to $50,000 annually for grammar school. Blessed Sacrament charges about $4,000 a year for a fine education but it is the school closing. Incredible!
I can’t help but think about all the millions the Catholic hierarchy has paid out to pedophile priests who abused children. If only those priests had acted appropriately, these schools might still be open. I know the priests at Blessed Sacrament behaved in the most honorable way (there’s never been a hint of scandal there) and now, sadly, it is closing. Ugh!