The Golden Burrs Events Committee members are pleased to bring you this 25th edition of the Class of 1958's Newsletter.


Each section will bring you information that we have gathered about West Catholic and other newsworthy events that have transpired in the past three months. 


In this issue, under the "West Catholic Prep Banner" is John Staiber's report on the All Class Reunion at Burrs at the Beach in North Wildwood; pictures he took at "George Light Day" in Sea Isle City; and Lynchie's West Catholic Prep football game scores.


In the "News Features" section you will find the histories of St. Clement, St. Raphael and St. Irenaeus Parishes.  A special thanks goes to Rich McCann '68 who provided his copy of the 75th Anniversary Parish Booklet - "Church of St. Clement's, Philadelphia: Diamond Jubilee, 1865-1940" and to Celeste Harmer who sent me pictures of St. Raphael's rectory and school. 


Other sources for this article were "Catholicity in Philadelphia from the earliest missionaries down to the present time (1909)" written by the Reverend Joseph L. J. Kirlin; The 2008 publication "Our Faith-Filled Heritage - The Church of Philadelphia, Bicentennial as a Diocese 1808-2008"; the Website of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Media; the Website of the Philadelphia Archdiocese and the following publications which are available at the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center (PAHRC) located at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary: "The Founding and History of St. Clement Parish" - May 1969 by Joseph Toto; "The St. Irenaeus Story, 1966-1976"; "A History of St. Irenaeus May 15, 1971" by Matthew J. Kornacki; and "Thirty-Seven years at St. Raphael's", author unknown. 


The Winter 2015 edition will feature The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish.


Sadly, we learned of the passing of Frank Carey and Bob GormleyTheir obituaries are available on our Website:








submitted by:  JOHN STAIBER

I've been coming to these Burrs at the Beach gatherings for at least 20 years and this 2015 crowd was a particularly lively and spirited crowd.  It also helped that the weather in Wildwood was just about perfect; sunny skies, low humidity and a pleasant sea breeze keeping us comfortable and in good spirits all day long and into the evening.  I’m told that overall attendance was about 1000.  That number is just about the same as last year.  Our class of 1958 had a good showing with 28 Golden Burrs plus 6 wives in attendance…..we managed to get photos of most of our group which are posted throughout this article.


Tom Shinn (St. Clement), John Staiber (OLV), Bob & Cathy Ward
 (St. Barney’s), Frank Adolf (Transy) & Dick Boyle (St. Clement)



Angie Sivieri (MBS) & Vince Leonetti (de Sales)



FrankMetzler (St. Carthage), Rich Buzza (MBS) & Jim Hill (de Sales)



L to R  Jim Nelson (St. Barney), Bill Corkery (St. Clement),
 Frank Adolf (Transy) & Bill Kohlenberg (St. Barney).


Jim Lynch & Bernie Lawless (Good Shepherd) Fran Lynch (PSD '61)


Larry Doran (MBS), Frank Adolf (Transy) & Joe Gavaghan (Visitation BVM)


Tom Hughes & Bob Sproul (St. Barney's)



Sam McGhie ( St. James), Angie Sivieri (MBS), Johnny Staiber (OLV),
 Rich Buzza & Jim Clark (MBS)


Jack Woods (St. Barney’s), Tom McClain (HNJ),
 Denny Brennan & Tom Hughes (St. Barney’s)




Tom Dorrian '60 & George Light (de Sales)


Bill Marella, Pete O'Hara & Larry Signora (Good Shepherd)


Full listing of class attendees:

Frank Adolf, Dick Boyle, Rich Buzza, Jim Clark, Jane '61 and Bill Corkery, Larry Doran, Joe Gavaghan, Jim Hill, Tom Hughes, Bill Kohlenberg, Bernie Lawless, Bitsy '59 and Vince Leonetti, Barbara '58 and George Light, Fran and Jim Lynch, Bill Marella, Tom McClain, Sam McGhie, Frank Metzler, Jane and Jim Nelson, Pete O'Hara, Tom Shinn, Larry Signora, Angie Sivieri, Bob Sproul, John Staiber, Cathy and Bob Ward, Jack Wood and Joe Zurad.


                             Total: 28 – ‘58ers and 6 wives.


It was great seeing so many old friends and classmates again.  Hope to see everyone again in 2016.

Just a final thought:  We are very grateful to all the “Burrs at the Beach” committee members and volunteers who make all this happen.  These folks are the best.  On behalf of  the Golden Burrs class of 1958….Thank you all.





After 39 years as a part-time "singing bartender" at the Springfield Inn in Sea Isle City, George Light has called it quits.  To thank George for his many years of service, Sunday, August 16th was designated as "George Light Day" at the Inn and George was joined by his family and friends for a special day of celebration. 




   cid:3F8784C189D64A6698C5E9309E2829D4@prenderg73a856           cid:D4258B91F2FB46EA8D9376209CA9061C@prenderg73a856


                 Johnny Staiber, George Light, Vince Leonetti                     Bitsy & Vince Leonetti with Barbara & George Light





At the September 15th meeting of the Events Committee, a motion was made, seconded and approved to donate the sum of $250.00 to West Catholic Preparatory High School on behalf of the entire Golden Burrs Class of 1958, in recognition of the great work Brother Richard and his team are doing to provide a quality education for the student body.   










submitted by:  JIM LYNCH


September 5 - West Catholic Prep 35 - Roman Catholic 16 


The Burrs opened up the 2015 season "Down the Shore" with a big win over Roman Catholic at Maxwell Field in Wildwood, NJ.



September 11 - West Catholic Prep 24 - North Penn 40


In their home opener at Widener University, the Burrs were outlasted by North Penn, a very good AAAA Division Team.


September 18 - West Catholic Prep 13 - The Haverford School 35


Attended first half, Haverford was leading 21 - 7.  Both teams had funble-itis.


9/18 @ 4:30p






West Catholic






Haverford School












submitted by:  FRANK ADOLF


1864- At this period in the life of the Catholic Church in Philadelphia the Bishop was James Frederick Wood, who was previously Coadjutor Bishop (1857) with the right of succession to Bishop John Nepomucene Neumann C.Ss.R


Bishop Wood succeeded to the position upon the death of Bishop Neumann on January 5, 1860.  




The diocese (which included the entire states of Pennsylvania and Delaware in addition to western New Jersey) included 200,000 Catholics, 137 priests, 131 parishes, 17 chapels and missions, 40 parish schools with 8,710 pupils, four colleges and four academies


Among the first records of diocesan activity during the period near the end of the Civil War, was the establishment of a new parish at the south-west border of the city where it joins Delaware County.  


Late 1864 - The Rev. Andrew J. Gallagher, who was ordained at St. Patrick's Church on May 24, 1863, was appointed by the Bishop as pastor of the new parish.  


The parish boundaries consisted of mostly productive farms and unusable swamp lands.  The jurisdiction given to Father Gallagher included not only all the southern part of Philadelphia, west of the Schuylkill River, except for that area already belonging to St. James the Greater Parish founded in 1850, and part of Delaware County as far as the boundaries of Oakview, PA (Kellyville), where the parish of St. Charles Borromeo had been established in 1849.  


The parishioners in all this territory consisted of about seventeen families, numbering perhaps one-hundred and fifty souls.  The first parish church was a frame-structure erected in Delaware County, in the section now known as Darby, PA.  It was built on the "Darby Level", a little beyond Darby Creek, which is now 5th and Main Streets. 


The PARISH was named after ST. CATHERINE. 


The congregation increased so rapidly that on one Sunday morning (date unrecorded), a great crowd attended Mass in the Church on "The Level".  The weight of the congregants caused the floor to cave in, resulting in minor injuries.   




In early 1865, Mr. Clement Erwig, a devote parishioner seeing the difficulty that parishioners living in the Paschallville section of Philadelphia experienced in traveling to Darby for Mass, and noting the increasing overcrowding of the frame structure, donated a plot of ground at the south-east corner of Seventy-first Street and Woodland Avenue.  Eventually, on this site the entire parish plant would be erected.  Father Gallagher accepted the plot of ground both because of the need for more room and the fact that the majority of his parishioners lived in the Paschallville area.


May 10, 1865 - The parish name was changed to St.Clement in honor of the donor Mr. Erwig. 

This date is considered the official formation date of St. Clement Parish.


Sunday, June 25, 1865 - The cornerstone of the new church of St. Clement was blessed by Bishop Wood.  The sermon was delivered by Bishop McGill of Richmond, Virginia. 


The contract for building the Church was given to Mr. John Welsh, a member of the parish.  The stone for the building was furnished from the Mt. Moriah quarry by State Senator George Connell. 


Construction of St. Clement Church progressed very slowly, largely due to the difficulty in procuring funds due to the impoverished condition of the parishioners caused by the Civil War.  


In 1868 the Dioceses of Harrisburg, Scranton and Wilmington were established, leaving Philadelphia with 93 churches and 157 priests.


November 1868 - The church building was "under roof" when word came that Father Gallagher was transferred to Pottsville, and the Rev. Thomas O'Neill would replace him as pastor.  


Father O'Neill was ordained on January 6, 1861.




Rev. Thomas O'Neill

Second Pastor 1868 - 1894


Late November 1868 - A terrific windstorm blew the entire roof from the Church.  This incident served only to increase the zeal of the pastor and his people to complete the extra work.  Picnics, Fairs, and Bazaars, were some of the means used to raise funds to repair the damage.  

August, 15, 1869 - On this feast of the Assumption, the new church was ready for service, and was dedicated by Bishop Wood.  The Very Rev. Maurice A. Walsh, V. G, celebrated the Mass, and the Right Rev. William O'Hara, Bishop of Scranton, preached the sermon.  The clock in the tower was purchased by public donations of the citizens of Paschallville, Protestant and Catholic alike.


The man on the left is a police officer wearing the uniform and helmet of the day.  The man on the right is wearing a bowler hat.


This picture shows the Church with a wall at street level; dating it later than the previous picture. 

The original pastoral residence (rectory) was an abandoned hotel called the Summit House, on the west side of Woodland Avenue south of Seventieth Street, which was afterwards transformed by additional buildings into St. Vincent's Home and Maternity Hospital.  Father O'Neill erected the new rectory south of the church at Seventy-first and Woodland Avenue.




February 12, 1875 - The Diocese of Philadelphia was elevated to the rank of an archdiocese, and Bishop Wood become its first Metropolitan Archbishop.


November 19, 1890 - On this date, a contract for the first school was given to Mr. John Welsh, who had constructed the Church.  The cost was $12,750.00.  Later an extra floor was added to the building at a cost of $2,922.00 which was funded by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Beneficial Society and Temperance Society of St. Clement's Parish. 



Later known as Dougherty Hall


Early 1891 - the Sisters of the Holy Child, Sharon Hill, PA assumed teaching responsibility at the school. 


Information gathered for the 75th Anniversary of the Parish from older parishioners indicated that at one time the widow of the famed Civil War leader, General William Tecumseh Sherman, was a parishioner.  She lived in the Clearview Mansion.  Their son, Father Thomas Sherman, was a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit order). 


In 1891, the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus donated land belonging to their Sharon Female Academy (established in 1864) for a mission chapel of Saint Clement parish.


March 6, 1892 - Father O'Neill began construction of a small stone church in Sharon Hill, PA.  The church was affectionately known as the "dear little church"; the cornerstone was blessed by Archbishop Ryan. 

April 2, 1893 - Father O'Neill purchased a church belonging to the Moravians, at 86th and Tinicum Avenue in the extreme southern part of the City, an area known as "The Meadows".  He altered it to suit Catholic worship and on  Easter Sunday of the same year it was blessed and placed under the patronage of St. Raphael

November 18, 1894 - The original "dear little church," in Sharon Hill was completed and dedicated by the Archbishop under the title of The Holy Spirit Parish.  


November 1894 - Shortly afterwards, Father O'Neill found it necessary to retire from his duties as pastor.  The parish of St. Clement was placed in the temporary charge of the Rev. Bernard A. Conway. 


In late November 1894 the Rev. Richard F. Hanagan was appointed as pastor


Father Hanagan found that much debt had been incurred by the extensive improvements over the latter years of his predecessors pastorship.  His top priority was to clear off the debt.  He staged the first of many Plays, ran a Fair that offered a gold watch as a prize and instituted other fund raising methods. 


October 14, 1896 - Father Hanagan was appointed to the position of irremovable rector of the Assumption parish, and was succeeded at St. Clement by the Rev. Francis P. Dougherty.


Father Dougherty was ordained on April 25, 1879. 



Rev. Francis P. Dougherty

Fourth Pastor 1896 - 1934


August 17, 1898 - The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary assumed responsibility for the school.  This was due to the fact that the Holy Child Sisters were not permitted to teach boys beyond the fourth grade. 


The first convent of the sisters was a newly renovated house located at 7132 Upland Street


The community consisted of Mother M. Boniface, Sisters M. Fredica, Mary Joseph, M. Felicitas and M. Purissima


September 5, 1898 - School opened with an enrollment of 260 pupils.


Father Dougherty guided St. Clement for thirty-eight years, and during that time he performed the usual routine duties of the average parish priest while taking care of the financial condition of the parish through collections, lawn fetes, social affairs, picnics, etc.  


Father Dougherty beautified the interior of the Church through donations of the Sacred Heart Statue and Altar, the Statue and Altar of the Blessed Virgin, the installation of stained glass windows executed in Munich, Germany, the installation of the marble Main Altar and marble Altar Rail with metal gates.  All these improvements were donated by numerous parishioners at no costs to the parish.


November 25, 1904 - St. Raphael Mission was established as a stand alone parish by the Archbishop.


October 1923 - Father Dougherty's celebrated the Twenty-fifth Anniversary as Rector of St. Clement.   


1926 - Due to increasing enrollment it became necessary to build a new school and convent.





June 12, 1927 - Auxiliary Bishop Crane, blessed the cornerstone of the new school.  The construction cost was $393,035.55.





Seventy-second Street and Paschall Avenue


A few years later a new school welcomed the staff and students .





April 27, 1929 - The parish celebrated Father Dougherty's Fiftieth Anniversary of his ordination to the Priesthood with an event in the Parish Auditorium. 




April 8, 1934 - Death of Father Dougherty - While preparing for the 8:00 AM Mass, Father Dougherty was discovered lying on the floor of his room by the assistant pastor, Father Healy.  It was apparent that the beloved Shepherd of St. Clement's had passed to his eternal reward.  




Father Dougherty is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, PA


June 1, 1934 - Reverend John J. Murphy, who had served as assistant pastor at St. Clement for eleven years, succeeded Father Dougherty as the fifth pastor of St. Clement.


Father Murphy was ordained on May 21, 1921.



Reverend John J. Murphy

Fifth Pastor 1934 -1939


  While he was assistant pastor. Father Murphy founded The Junior Holy Name Battalion.



July 12, 1939 - After five years of kind and good service, Father Murphy who was incapacitated by serious illness, resigned his pastorship.  


July 13, 1939 - The Reverend Garrett F. X. Murphy former assistant pastor succeeded Father John Murphy as pastor.


Father Murphy was ordained on May 26, 1917.



Reverend Garrett F. X. Murphy

Sixth Pastor 1939 -1943


Excerpt from the 75th Anniversary Book:



October 13, 1940 - The official three-day celebration of the 75th Anniversary of St., Clement's founding began with a Solemn High Mass at 11 o'clock.  Auxiliary Bishop Hugh Lamb presided. 


The officers of the Mass were former St. Clement Parish boys.  The Rev. Edward J. Kenney was the celebrant, the Rev. Henry McNulty was deacon, and the Rev. Edward Esler was sub-deacon.  The Rev. Garrett F. X. Murphy (Pastor) read the announcements.





cid:0E5F6FADA56C4F77875F5AA60C8CB767@prenderg73a856   cid:B5ECC85041854540B6D7CAEEDDFEA324@prenderg73a856   cid:E4CC0092806447C4ABD44477757304FA@prenderg73a856


Rev. John E. Dunn, Rev. Edwin A. Horn and Rev. John J. Hasson were assistant pastors at the time of the 75th Anniversary.


1940 - The parish history written for the 75th Anniversary noted that St. Clement's parish can be classified as a "Parent of Parishes". 


"Our Faith Filled Heritage" written for the Bicentennial of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and published in 2008, went one step further and named St. Clement as the "Mother Parish" of ten other parishes.  The first two mentioned above were Holy Spirit, Sharon Hill (Nov. 18, 1894, closed July 1, 2014), and St. Raphael in the "Meadows" at 86th Street and Tinicum Avenue (Nov. 27, 1904, closed in 1989).  The other parishes were: St. Philomena in Lansdowne (1898), some territory of St. Francis de Sales (1899),  Most Blessed Sacrament (1901 closed November 18, 2007), Blessed Virgin Mary Darby (April 12, 1913), St. Barnabas (August, 1919), St. Margaret in Essington (January, 1921 closed July 1,  2014), Good Shepherd (July 26, 1925, suppressed July 1, 2004 - now Divine Mercy), and St. Louis in Yeadon (October 2, 1928 closed July 1, 2013).


Summer 1943 - Father Garrett F. X. Murphy who previously served as a Navy Chaplain in WW I, re-enlisted and attended chaplain classes from August 2, to Sept. 26, 1943. 


August 1943 - Father Murphy was replaced as pastor by the Reverend John J. O'Shea.


Father O'Shea was ordained on June 8, 1919.



 Reverend John J. O'Shea

Seventh Pastor 1943 -1956


1950's to early 1960's - Residential development took off after WW II transforming the neighborhoods of Eastwick and the Meadows.  Literally, thousands of new residents arrived over the period of ten to fifteen years, straining the resources of the existing Catholic parishes. 




1954 - St. Clement Students


June 1956 - Father O'Shea passed away.


September 1956 - Former assistant pastor,  Reverend John E. Dunn was named the eighth pastor of St. Clement. 


Father Dunn was ordained on May 30, 1931.



Reverend John E. Dunn (later Msgr.)

Eighth Pastor 1956-1977


1959 - Father Dunn directed the effort to build a new church and rectory for St. Clement Parish which included the stained glass windows and many other artifacts from the original church. 


1965 - St. Clement celebrated its 100th Anniversary.


 Father Dunn was raised to the rank of Monsignor.  The date is unknown but he is pictured in the 1966 West Catholic Blue and White Yearbook as Monsignor Dunn. 


1977 - The Reverend Charles A. Monaghan was appointed the ninth pastor.


Father Monaghan was ordained on June 7, 1941. 



Reverend Charles A. Monaghan

Ninth Pastor 1977 - 1984


  1984 - Father Monaghan was named chaplain of St. Mary's Manor.


1984 - The Reverend John J. Cox was named the tenth pastor of St. Clement.


Father Cox was ordained in May of 1953 as a Norbertine Father.  He came to St. Clement after serving as a teacher, vice principal and principal of St. John Neumann High School.


1991 - Father Monaghan retired from active ministry.


February 19, 1992 - Father Monaghan died in Tarpon Springs, Florida.  He is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, PA.


July 25, 2002 - Father Cox died on  of heart failure at 74 years of age at St. Martha Manor in Downingtown, PA.  He is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, PA.


July, 2002 - The Rev. Robert T. Feeney was named as the eleventh, and as it turned out, the last pastor of St. Clement.


Father Feeney is now pastor of Our Lady of Peace, Milmont Park, PA.


Information about the 2004 closing of St. Clement Parish will follow after the remembrances of St. Raphael and St. Irenaeus Parishes.





submitted by:  FRANK ADOLF


November 25, 1904 - As the number of Catholics increased in the "Meadows", the Archbishop designated St. Raphael at 86th and Tinicum Avenue as a separate parish.  You will recall from the history of St. Clement parish, that St. Raphael's was a former Moravian Church purchased in 1893 by Father O'Neill, the pastor of the parish, to serve as a Mission of St. Clement. 


 "The Meadows" is defined in the Philadelphia Neighborhood's link as:  " The Vicinity south of 84th Street, east of Darby Creek, north of the Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, west of SEPTA's railroad tracks.


The Rev. Joseph A. Osborn was appointed as the founding pastor. 


Father Osborn was ordained on May 23, 1891. 


January 1906 - Father Osborn passed away.


January 26, 1906 - The Rev. Edward J. Tucker was appointed as the second pastor of St. Raphael. 


Father Tucker was ordained on May 19, 1894.


November 6, 1907 - Unfortunately, Father Tucker's pastorate was also of very short duration, as passed away on this date after a short illness.


 November 1907 - St. Raphael's third pastor was the Rev. James J. Kane. 


Father Kane was ordained on June 12, 1897.


Father Kane was destined to guide the faithful of this parish for the next twenty-six years.


Father Kane made extensive repairs to St. Raphael's Church, organized parish societies, and secured a building adjacent to the church, to be used as a meeting place and amusement rooms. 


Four months after Father Kane became pastor, ground was broken for a new rectory which was completed in October of 1908.



St. Raphael Rectory


Summer of 1914 - Father Kane purchased the home of James Farrell, situated diagonally opposite the church, and remodeled it to suit the purposes of a convent, in anticipation of the erection of a parish school.  Ground was broken for a parochial school at the northwest corner of Eighty-sixth Street and Tinicum Avenue.


June 6, 1915The cornerstone of St. Raphael school was laid and blessed by Auxiliary Bishop McCort


November 28, 1915 - St. Raphael's School opened under the direction of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, under the care of Mother M. Bernardine, and the following Sisters: M. Aegidius, M. Lucilia, M. Francilla, M. Annunciata, 

M. Johanna, Mary Ruth, M. Catherine Joseph, and M. Athanasia.



Artist rendition




St. Raphael School - two stories rather than three as depicted in the artist rendition.


1920 - The Catholic Directory list the student enrollment at 220 Boys and 197 Girls.


June 18, 1922 - Father Kane celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his ordination. 


June 1932 - St. Raphael's celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of Father Kane's pastorship.


April 5, 1933 - Father Kane died at St. Agnes Hospital.


In his twenty-six years as pastor, the zealous labors of Father Kane left an indelible impression of edification on those who have felt the benefits of his untiring efforts. 


Assistants at St. Raphael's during Father Kane's pastorship were the Reverends Edmond Franklin, Cornelius V. O'Brien, Wm. J. McGarity, John J. Duggan, Joseph R. O'Brien, Peter A. Stewart, John F. McElvenny, Edward A. Devine, Rev. Charles A. O'Brien, Clair A. Hammill, Edward S. Kane, Edward V. Galen.


1933 - The Rev. Francis P. McDonald was named as the fourth pastor of St. Raphael. 


Father McDonald was ordained on May 17, 1913.


Father McDonald carried on the work of Father Kane and was capably assisted by Fathers Galen and Houghey


September 12, 1934 - Father McDonald was succeed as pastor by the Rev. James L. Gildea.


Father Gildea was ordained on May 27, 1916.



Reverend James L. Gildea

Fifth Pastor 1934 - 1951


During his tenure as pastor, Father Gildea paid special attention to the St. Raphael Catholic Club.  Father Gildea was convinced that a pure, healthy and sportsman-like environment produces solid manly character.  His almost nightly presence at the Club did much to provide an atmosphere which went far toward proving the truth of his conviction.


Father Gildea conducted frequent missions and spiritual exercises for the parish faithful.  Social activities such as card parties, the graduates' breakfast, and the annual Mothers' Night Celebration are affairs which Father Gildea originated.


May 1941 - Father Gildea celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his ordination.


October 17, 1951 - Father Gildea passed away.


During his pastorship Father Gildea was assisted by the Reverends James J. Hughey, James T. Cassidy, Edward A. Connelly, Clarence a. Batutis, and Joseph A. Neverauskas.


The Rev. John B. Fitzpatrick was named as the sixth pastor of St. Raphael Parish.   


Father Fitzpatrick was ordained on May 22, 1937.



Reverend John B. Fitzpatrick

Sixth Pastor 1951 - 1983


Redevelopment in the 1960's devastated the Meadows.  To make way for highway and airport improvements, residents were bought out of their houses which were eventually demolished.  The downside was that the area sat idle for about a decade as development ground to a halt. 




Father Fitzpatrick died in 1983 and is buried in his family plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.


  1986 - Rev. A. James Chapman, Pastor of St. Irenaeus was also administrator of St. Raphael.


February 27, 1986 - A planned consolidation of St. Irenaeus-St. Raphael School, at 85th and Tinicum Avenue, with St. Clement School at 72nd Street and Paschall Avenue, drew opposition from parents of students of St. Irenaeus-St. Raphael.  Parents from

the Southwest Philadelphia school picketed the offices of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in an effort to keep their school open. 


September 1986 - Father Chapman confirmed that St. Irenaeus-St. Raphael School would close and that its 280 students would be transferred to St. Clement.  The combined school would be known as St. Clement-St. Irenaeus School.


1989 - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia officially suppressed St. Raphael Parish and merged it with St. Irenaeus Parish.





submitted by:  FRANK ADOLF


1966 - The boundaries of St. Clement and St. Raphael were adjusted to allow for the establishment of St. Irenaeus Parish on South  73rd Street. 


May 21, 1966 - The Rev. A. James Chapman was named as the founding pastor of St. Irenaeus Parish. 


Father Chapman was ordained on June 3, 1939.  


In the early to mid-1950's, Father Chapman served as assistant pastor at Visitation B.V.M. and Good Shepherd parishes.



Reverend A. James Chapman

Founding Pastor 1966 - 1987


June 16, 1966 - Father Chapman arrived to take-up his new duties.

The parishioners of St. Irenaeus worshipped in the auditorium of St. Clement School until a church could be built.


April 16, 1967 - Msgr. John Dunn pastor of St. Clement parish officiated at the blessing and ground breaking for the new church of St. Irenaeus.  Msgr. Dunn donated $25,000 toward construction of the church.


Fall of 1967 - The first rectory was purchased at 2932 S. 72nd Street.




December 25, 1967 - St. Irenaeus Parish Auditorium-Chapel was completed and Mass was celebrated.




St. Irenaeus interior with folding chairs


Early on school classes for grades 3 to 8 were held at St. Raphael School and Grades 1 and 2 were taught n the basement of St. Irenaeus Church.




November 1968 - A new house at 2728 S. 73rd Street was bought to serve as the parish rectory.


May 7, 1969 - Cardinal Krol dedicated the Church and blessed the cornerstone.


1976 - St. Irenaeus Parish celebrated the 10th anniversary of its founding.


February, 1986 - St. Irenaeus-St. Raphael School was closed and merged with St. Clement School.


June, 1987 Father Chapman retired.


June, 1987 - Rev. Joseph A. Vadino was named the second pastor of St. Irenaeus.


Father Vadino was ordained in 1963.




Reverend Joseph A. Vadino

Second Pastor 1987 - 1995


August 1987 - shortly after Father Vadino was appointed pastor of St. Irenaeus, the church was set afire by an arsonist. 


Father Vadino oversaw a 15-month renovation. 

June 1995 - The Reverend Gavin W. Muir was named the third pastor of St. Irenaeus.

Father Muir was ordained in 1965.


Reverend Gavin W. Muir

 Third Pastor 1995 - 2002  

February 23, 2000 - Father Chapman died of a heart attack at the age of 87 at St. Francis Country House in Darby, PA.  He spent nearly 50-year of active ministry as a parish priest in Philadelphia.  He is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, PA.

June 17, 2002 -  Father Muir was named pastor of St. Lawrence Parish, Riegelsville, PA, where he continues to serve. 

2002 - The Reverend Thomas A. Nasta was named the fourth pastor of St. Irenaeus.

Father Nasta was ordained in 1982.


Reverend Thomas A. Nasta

 Fourth Pastor 2002 - 2004  

 Father Nasta was pastor of St. Irenaeus at the time of its consolidation in 2004.  He is now pastor of Our Lady of Ransom Parish in Philadelphia.

June 12, 2005 - Father Vadino was pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Strafford when he died of a heart attack at the age of 68.



April 19, 2004 - Archbishop Rigali accepted the cluster advisory council's recommendation to consolidate the parishes of St. Clement, St. Irenaeus and Good Shepherd into a single parish.  The new parish was named Divine Mercy and was established at the former Good Shepherd parish site.  

All the St. Clement buildings were closed and offered for sale.  The portion of St. Clement's parish that was in Darby and Colwyn became part of Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Darby.


At the same time, Cardinal Rigali also approved the advisory council's recommendation to close Sts. Clement-Irenaeus School (resulting from a previous merger) and Good Shepherd School and to designate Saint Barnabas Parish School as an Area Catholic school with a new name, Mary, Mother of Peace Area Catholic School.


St. Irenaeus Church now serves as a worship site of Divine Mercy for Masses, weddings and funerals. 




The former St. Clement Church is now the First Baptist Church of Paschall.


June 2014Holy Spirit Parish in Sharon Hill, dedicated in 1894, and once known as "the dear little church" was merged with Saint George in Glenolden.  Holy Spirit church is now a worship site of St. George parish.


July 1, 2014 - Mary, Mother of Peace School joined the Independence Mission Schools network and the name of the Area Catholic School was changed back to its original name of St. Barnabas School.



Artifacts from St. Clement at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Media, PA and Holy Spirit Church in Lubbock, TX


Excerpts from St. Mary Magdalen Parish Website cid:3955CCE9B4E74D00A0E7DB46F6136F73@prenderg73a856






The outdoor Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima from  St. Clement Parish, have been installed at Holy Spirit Church, Lubbock, Texas, where our classmate, Monsignor Eugene J. Driscoll is Pastor Emeritus and Vicar General of the Diocese of Lubbock. TX.



Denny Brennan:  Frank, Great job!!!!  Very well done, thank you for all of your work.  I believe we all really appreciate this and everything that you do.  Hope to see you at the Wildwoods!  Denny


Ted Trafka:  Hi Frank, Just an especially great Newsletter this month.  Thanks to all the hard working people who helped put this out and research the data.  Sorry to miss the luncheon.  We proposed but God disposed.  Ted


Tom Wallace aka "German John" - Frank, Once again the best class Newsletter proved interesting and informative.  Sorry I missed the May luncheon but I'm looking forward to the next one.  Thanks for your prayers and remembrances--they worked and I am going into a complete recovery mode--just blood tests and PET scans to observe the area.  Thanks be to God.  Tom


Don (Andy) Thompson:  Frank, Thanks for your editing of the 1958 Newsletter.  Great job by you and your committee, as always.  Your portrait of St. Barnabas and its "Meadows" brought back memories of that area's gypsy camp and its woven basket makers, not to mention the "cross-cultural experiences" of a few of us Good Shepherd kids dating Catholic girls who lived near the airport.  And in that same article to learn that the Benn Theatre served as the first site for St. Barnabas's Masses was really interesting.  As a kid, not knowing that parish history, those theatres were sacred to a lot of us for a totally different reason.  For a dime, the Benn and practically next door Benson Theatre, regularly provided us with a long Saturday afternoon of 5+ cartoons and a double feature of films. 


On a different note, John Staiber's review of the 57th anniversary luncheon's attendees and pics was also interesting.  Of the 45 attending, a large percentage came from the two parishes, MBS and Good Shepherd, nine from each. 


The story of the three graduated star athletes, Strong, Maples and Hollomon was also interesting.  Very well done guys and many thanks.  Don (Andy) Thompson 


Frank Miller:  Nice job on the St. Barnabas Pictures.  I have a list of Father LaRue's sayings.  Sincerely: Frank 


John Kraft '57:  Hello Frank, I certainly enjoyed the Summer Edition of the Golden Burrs Newsletter.  My friend since I was a student at MBS and he at St. Barnabas is Tom Brannan.  Of course I sent him a copy of the Newsletter and he wrote back to me a reply regarding a story about another class of 57 graduate.  His name is John Marruzzi.  When St. Barnabas Church was under construction John was on the roof and had his right hand ring finger taken off in a bad fall.  The Pastor was kind enough to place the remains of the finger under the Altar and the Ring in the cornerstone of the new church.  Just a bit of trivia that we thought you may be interested in.  Regards, John 


Art Boyle '57:  Frank, As usual, the newsletter was my favorite read of the month.  For a kid from MBS it was educational to learn more about the three parishes below Woodland Ave.  We never got down that way except for the football games at 58th and Elmwood.  Again, thanks to all you '58 guys for your dedication and hard work.


Bob Dougherty:  NICE JOB GUYS, Once again it's a pleasure to thank you and the team for putting together a great bulletin.

Jim Clark:  OUR PORTION OF THE WEST CATHOLIC ALUMNI GET TOGETHER AT THE " BURRS AT THE BEACH " -     " Making your way in the world today / takes everything you've got", -  "Taking a break from all your worries / sure would help a lot", -  " Wouldn't you like to get away "  - "Sometimes you want to go / where everybody knows your name" /- and their always glad you came" - "you want to be where you can see / troubles are all the same" / "you want to go where people know / people are all the same" / "you want to go where everybody knows your name".  ( CHEERS )   





Joe GavaghanHey Frank, Thank you for this piece.  I remember Brother Lewis, he taught Chemistry.  The reason I remember him is because he gave me a shot in the upper arm for talking in line with pain lasted a couple of days.  As for Professor Propheta, he was always bragging about Marple Newtown, at least that's how I remember it.  When I was at La Salle, 3 of my 4  W.C. English teachers were there.  Mr. Fulforth, Mr. Keenan and of course the "legendary Renaissance Man" Brother Patrick. Also "Sky" King was in a class with me as was Jack Caputo and I think someone else who was also becoming a Christian Brother.  Later in the mid 1970's, I worked with John King, through his Advertising Agency, when he was head of the Evening School and I was doing School & College Advertising for the Daily News.  Again, thank you & my best to all the Adolfs.  Last Sunday, I joined the Diamond Club -75.


Jim Trainor:  Frank, many thanks this brought back many happy memories.  Not only for myself, but reminders of some who taught our Dad.  I remember having three in particular who attended a dual graduation party for myself and my older brother from Villanova.  Thanks again.  


Gerry Vernot:  Frank, You and Frank Adolf did a great job putting together all this information about the Brothers and teachers we had at West, and some of us in the Juniorate and Novitiate.  Anyway, thanks for all you and Frank Adolf  did to put this historical information together.  Best wishes, Gerry


Jack Caputo:  Brother Declan Paul moderated the West Catholic News when I was the Editor and of all the Brothers at West he had the most influence on me.  I remember reading that after he left the Brothers, he moved to New York City--he loved Broadway shows--and I believe that is where he died.  I can't put my hands on what I read, but I think it was written by one of his close friends while he was in the Brothers.  Anybody know anything about that?


Editor's Response:  Jack, Many thanks for your comments.  We did hear from someone that Bro. Paul died in NY.  We will follow up and see what we can find.  Frank Adolf and I really enjoyed putting the two reports together.  Frank Metzler

Tom Henry:  Frank, What a great job. Thank you.  This brings back many memories.  I'll remember all of them, who had such an impact on our lives, each morning at Mass.


John Kraft '57:  Hello Guy's, I thought you may be interested in the attached report researched by the editors of Golden Burrs Newsletter.  What a tremendous effort put forth by them.  Regards, John


Al Kern:  Hi Frank, Wow!!!  What a fantastic research and presentation you have all done.  I've often wondered what happened to several of the Brothers I knew way back then.  Can't thank you enough for all your hard work and dedication.  Please, Frank, extend my thanks and congratulations to everyone who was responsible for this work, and God bless you all.


 Don ( Andy) Thompson:  Frank, What a fantastic piece of work you and your crew of researchers/editors have given us.  Special thanks to Joseph Grabenstein, Tom Wallace, Brother Steven Casale and John Staiber.  Together you answered the persistent question:  What ever happened to . . . ?   And, thanks for pointing us in the direction of how we can find more information on our W.C. mentors.  There's one fact that underscores and documents just how extraordinary our faculty was during the 1954-58 years, namely that the mission and charisma demonstrated by the faculty of Brothers resulted in about half of the entire novitiate class came from West, i.e. those who went to the Ammendale novitiate and signed up to become LaSallian Christian Brothers immediately when we graduated in June of 1958.  That novitiate class was the largest in the history of the then Baltimore province, namely 49 young men (including an ex-marine), and I recall about half were from West Catholic, who either entered on graduating or while still in high school.  If my memory is faulty on any of the above, I encourage classmates such as Brother Steve Casale to make needed corrections.  That was a record number for the Province not only in its size but in having so many come from West Catholic, only one of the many Brothers' high schools.  Those high numbers were not the result of heavy recruitment by the Brothers.  They were simply a spectacular faculty. Perhaps other classmates can add their own criteria pointing to the extraordinary quality of the faculty we were fortunate to have.


George Powers:  Frank, A SINCERE THANK YOU to you and the other guys who worked on this.


Mike Mullen '59:  Frank, Great job.  Thanks so much.  Wonderful memories.  Must have been a tough job gathering this info.


John Staiber:  Congratulations on a fantastic newsletter.  Just an incredible and thoughtful piece.  Proud to be a Golden Burr.  Thank you.


Art Boyle '57:  OK Frank, admit it.  You are working harder on Golden Burrs than you ever did as a banker.


Jim Maynes:  Gentlemen your special edition brings back good memories of the fine men who shaped our lives.


Jim Prendergast:  What a great Newsletter. Congrats to both of you.




Jim Clark:  Thank you Frank, You did a fabulous Job, in putting the Special Edition together. 


Charles Porrini '49:  Frank, Thanks for the Special Edition.  I'm going to print it out and check my yearbook to see if I had any of these Brothers. 


Andy Jaskolka:  Frank, Your and (Frank Adolf's) responsive and thorough pursuit of the information on so many historic events, places, and people making up the experiences of the class of '58 is awesome and deserving of commendation by those fortunate to receive them.  "Thank you" seems so inadequate a gesture of my gratitude for all you both have contributed to those records.. May you both receive a greater and lasting reward of our appreciation in this life an forever...Andy  


Frank O'Keefe:  Frank, another great article. West Catholic should give you and your staff the GOLDEN BURR AWARD. The amount of hard work that goes behind each article is unbelievable.  Your ideas are great and should be rewarded.  I appreciate that I can call you and your staff friends and fellow graduates.  Thanks again for all the hard work. 

Frank O'Keefe, Jr. Alias The FOKer---Class of 58.---------- WEST IS BEST -- as many a I H M SISTER HAS SAID TO ME MANY OF A TIME.


Brother Steven Casale:  Hello Frank, Thanks for the Newsletter with all the teachers, FSC and others, from our days at 49th St.

There is listed a Brother Dominic Martin Simpson as being a teacher in our Junior year and now deceased.    However, although he is deceased and I attended his funeral here at the University, I have no memory of his being at West Catholic in our day.   

I asked Brother Edward Charles Gresh, who was there in our day, about this and he said that Br. Simpson was never at West.  From memory I cannot recall who would have taught those subjects or to whom you are referring.  So, for what it is worth.  

Regards, Steve Casale


    Editor's Response:  Thanks Steve for responding.  With the information you sent I continued to research and found Brother Dagobert Martin (Albert Francis Schmidt) taught us in Junior year - born 1/12/21, received habit 1938, died 6/6/2009 in Lincroft, NJ.  He is buried in the Brother's Cemetery, Ammendale, under the name Brother Albert Schmidt.  Frank Adolf will post your comments and the corrected information in the September Edition of our newsletter.  Frank will send Jim Prendergast the corrected version of the special newsletter for posting on the Website.  Thanks for the update.  Frank Metzler




Bro. Dagobert Martin (Albert Francis) Schmidt - Science E - Religion III; Algebra II; Trigonometry and Solid Geometry - Chair of the Mathematics Dept. - B: 1/12/21 - Habit: 1938 - Died at age 88 in Lincroft, NJ - Buried at the Christian Brothers Cemetery, Ammendale, MD.  





Bob Dowd:  I enjoyed the Edition of What Happened to our teachers!  It was well done and please thank the people who did the research.  Some of the things that caught my eye:


    Brother Patrick--He became President of La Salle and Catholic University....(Harry Ellis)


    Mr. Edward Murawski--spent 40 years at WC--teaching Spanish and started a reading program.  That was a most           

    touching story. 


    My three homeroom teachers----Bro. Damian Luke--(Robert Sweeney)-biology


                                                         Bro. Azarias--(James King)-spanish


                                                         Bro. Guy Phillip--(Paul Murphy)     


    Bill 'Moon' Mullen gym teacher spent more time at St. Joe's Prep-26 years--then WC 19 years----


    Bro. Nicholas---Left the Brothers and had six kids (5 girls)---- 


Anyway--Thanks for a good read----Now I know where everyone went.  I was taught by mostly "Irish Guys"-----



Mike Bresnahan:  Thanks Frank,  Reviewing the list brought back many happy memories. 


Brother Eric Martin was my home room teacher in my first year at West, and I remember him as being a very good math teacher and being a really nice guy.  If I am correct, he went to Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School which is only a few blocks from the university of Pittsburgh where I went to grad school.  I walked by the school twice a day for three years.  In addition to Brother, another alum of that school is Dan Marino.


Azzy was my junior year home room teacher.  Actually, his family lived only a block and a half from my family in West Philly, and I was friends with his sister Sally.  Azzy was a one of a kind.  He was very kind and an inspiring teacher.


Brother Gerald Joseph was my senior home room teacher.  When I tore up my knee against Father Judge and was in the hospital for 10 or 11 days and then missed some additional school time, Brother offered to tutor me after school.  We did that for a few weeks, and I am still grateful.  Mike 




submitted by:  FRANK ADOLF 










Shine anyone??

Southwestern Florida Museum, Fort Myers, FL.





sent by Bob Dougherty


Excerpt from OUR LADY OF FATIMA, San Clemente, Ca.  church bulletin:


Thursday Night Confessions at 7pm:  July 2 & July 9 at the beach picnic tables at the end of large parking lot near the pier.


Remember North Wildwood where the priest would hear "mandatory" confessions on the lifeguard stands on the beach?  If you were a guard you didn't have a choice:  confession or he wouldn't leave.


Sorry we missed B@B we'll try for next year.  Coming back for a wedding 8/7-8/17.  Thanks,  Sláinte Bob Doc








WE REMEMBER and ask for your prayers for those who are ill, especially Dave Crines who is recovering from a stroke.  


Also, Vince Leonetti sent the following request for prayers for "Coach Vince McAneney":  Frank if you would let our guys know that Coach has had a little set back......although he is doing we all know how he taught us!!!!!!!  Never give up ...... Run hard ....and that's exactly what he is doing.  Ask the guys to remember him in their prayers and drop him a note I'm sure he and his wife Holly would appreciate the notes.  Thanks ........Vince


Vince McAneney   

7 Oregon Ave.
Cherry Hill NJ 08002


Please pray for all of our classmates who have gone to their eternal reward, especially Frank Carey  who passed away on September 4, 2015, and Bob Gormley who passed away on September 19,2015




Francis X. Carey - September 4, 2015




Robert E. Gormley - September 19, 2015


May Frank and Bob Rest in Peace.


The complete listing of our honored deceased and their high school graduation pictures can be found on the Golden Burrs Website at:   Thanks to John Staiber, many of the pictures are accompanied by complete obituaries.




submitted by: RICH BUZZA


I want to tell you a story about my friend Bill.  My wife and I have known Bill and his wife Peggy for many years, anyway about four weeks ago we got a call from Peggy that Bill was in the hospital in Philadelphia, this was in itself unusual in that they live in south Jersey, so I suspected that something that was not good was happening.   It happened that Bill had a bad coughing spell and started to cough up blood and the local hospital could not stop the bleeding.  Bill was airlifted to Cooper hospital in Camden NJ where he spent a week in intensive care, it seems that there was a tumor on his lung and they were unable to obtain a biopsy as any disturbance would start the bleeding over again.  After a week at Cooper Bill was discharged to a Hospice in south Jersey, naturally upon hearing this,one suspects the worst, now I have to tell you that Bill has had a few major illnesses, heart surgery, kidney surgery, throat surgery, so he is no stranger to facing the inevitable as he has done this many times in the past.  Now Bill had a classmate who became a surgeon and had operated on him in the past, when Bill's surgeon friend heard that he was in a hospice he came to see him and in reviewing his records said "We are getting you out of here!" and tried to make arrangements for a hospital transport to take him to a hospital in Philadelphia, but there was none to be had, so the Doctor puts Bill in his own car and drives from south Jersey to Philadelphia.  On the way, as Bill tells it, the doctor tells Bill not to get any blood on his new leather seat covers, Bills says "Not to worry, but my catheter has come out, only kidding doc!" Bill has now completed 10 days of radiation and is now back at his home in south Jersey which brings us to the present.   


Sheila and I went down on a Thursday to see him as he had just came home on the previous Tuesday as you can imagine we were quite apprehensive as not knowing what to expect.  Bill was sitting in his chair, quite weak and tired but still full of spirit, since it was dinner time, I suggested that we could order something in, but Bill would not hear of it, "I have been sitting here all day and I want to go out to dinner" so out we went.  We had a nice dinner at Jersey Girl in Wildwood.  


It is said that we learn something everyday, whether we realize it or not, but that day I learned of what a real man is made of, he does not complain in pain, he knows what is in himself and is content with whatever God has planned for him, he maintains a sense of humor through it all, and a faith in his God.  I was truly humbled to have spent that evening with Peg and Bill.  Amen. 



God Bless WEST CATHOLIC!   Live Jesus in our Hearts.  Forever.








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