NOW LIVE: Eyewitness News

Hundreds Of Archdiocesan Students Rally To Save Catholic Schools

By Ben Simmoneau

FAIRLESS HILLS, Pa. (CBS) — As hundreds of students across the Archdiocese protested his decision to close dozens of schools, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput spent Monday morning in calm confines at a school that will not close: Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown.

The Archbishop celebrated mass there to mark the beginning of a week that promotes opportunities for serving the Church, but he also spoke with Eyewitness News about the closures. He said it was a difficult weekend everywhere across the Archdiocese.

“I got a lot of mail, most of it sad, some of it negative,” he said. “Each person sees his or her school as the most important school in the diocese.”

But the Archbishop says it will take much more than emotional letters to get him to overturn any of the recommended closings.

“If there are appeals, it has to be based on facts and not on emotion,” he said. “We just can’t continue to keep doing what we’re doing. We’re bleeding financially.”

Parents of students at Conwell-Egan High School in Bucks County hope they can get their school off the closing list by arguing logistics. Their school is the only Archdiocesan High School in Lower Bucks County.

The closest neighboring high schools are Archbishop Ryan, which is 10 miles down Interstate 95 in Northeast Philadelphia or Archbishop Wood, which is nearly 20 miles away in Warminster.

“There are literally no options for us,” said Susan Singler, whose son is a junior at Conwell-Egan. “The Archdiocese by doing this has literally choked lower Bucks County from having a Catholic education for their children.”

About a dozen parents rallied in place of their children on Monday afternoon on the front lawn at Conwell-Egan. Students had planned a rally through Facebook but were told by administrators to postpone it.

“I’ve already inquired at some of the other surrounding Archdiocesan schools: Ryan and Wood, they don’t even return phone calls,” said Singler. “I think they were ill prepared for this.”

Top Content On CBSPhilly

  • Deborah McCann

    How disturbing to see Chaput in his splendrous raiment commenting on the financial aspects of school closing decisions. Does anyone else see a problem here?

  • Rambler From Ambler

    I stand corrected on one sad fact the powers that be at the
    Archdiocese have stated on their own website that sixteen
    hundred teachers ,administrators and employees will be out
    of work.

  • Rambler from Ambler

    If the parents do not picket outside the offices of the
    Archdiocese ,the Arch-Bishop will do nothing but say arrogantly
    let us not show emotion but be logical.
    Let us not be sheep led to slaughter, by being quiet and not show
    our outrage, this surely did not happen overnight ,this is a problem
    with bad Archdiocese management over many years.
    As the sign in the photo suggests to all “We are not just numbers”
    Many homes have also lost property values as these great local
    schools close for Catholic and non Catholic kids alike.
    No where have we read how many teachers and employees are
    getting the boot.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Taz Goes Big!
Download Now!

Listen Live