Sunday, May 11, 2008

A stalwart member of Gesu Parish and Saint Malachy Parish died on April 26, 2008, Aleda Harmon at age 103.
She always did whatever she could to encourage the many pastors that served the parishes during the time of her membership. In my case when I was pastor in 1990, I asked parishioners to accompany me on a walking pilgrimage to a distant church in North Philadelphia, 4 or 5 miles away. And Mrs Harmon, to my surprise, at age 86 walked the entire distance with us and kept up the pace.
In the year 2000 we at Gesu School (the parish closed in 1993) also made a pilgrimage to a certain other church. This time, the distance being great, we went by bus and Mrs. Harmon came with us. I celebrated Mass there at the church and welcomed her especially, explaining how she had "walked with us through North Philadelphia ten years ago when she was young." She corrected me from the pew: "I'm still young!" she said.
The many tributes at her funeral Mass underlined her statement. She was and is forever young.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Seventh Sunday of Easter May 4, 2008

To celebrate fifteen years as an independent Catholic School, Gesu highlighted at least fifteen stars at a Gala event on May 1 at the Philadelphia Art Museum. Four hundred people attended.

Among the stars was Jamar Stokes, Gesu '96, who spoke about his success working with Deloitte and his two years with a traveling basketball group like the Harlem Globetrotters.

In the picture at the top are Ralph and Bette Saul with Bob McAlain. Ralph received the Gesu Spirit Medal and I was honored to introduce him:

With great joy Gesu School recognizes one of its most outstanding stars, Ralph Saul. Ralph and Bette Saul became friends of the children of Gesu School on a lovely June night in 1992 at a sponsorship benefit dinner. This event took place while the school was still a parish school, a year before the parish closed. In my mind’s eye still are Pat Cooney and her late husband, Gordon, introducing the Sauls to Sister Ellen Convey, then and now the principal and me, then the pastor of the parish. Pat knew then that Ralph would be a star. Never had he not been one. I see that event now as a watershed moment for our children. Ralph and Bette extended and still to this day extend personal generosity and kindness to all in the Gesu community. And Ralph also uses his considerable influence built on years of leadership in the financial and insurance community to draw others to our mission. Among his earliest finds for the children, for example, were John and Rosalee DiIulio. And I could list a dozen others. For the mission with the children of Gesu Ralph is a star with the warmth and luminosity of the sun.