SUMMER EDITION 2010                                     


With this fourth edition of the 1958 Class Newsletter, we, the Golden Burrs Events Committee for the Class of 1958, sincerely hope that you are enjoying the summer months.  We were happy to see so many of you at our Anniversary Luncheon in May and at Burrs at the Beach. 


You will find in this newsletter information about the success of the 52nd Anniversary Class Luncheon, Burrs At The Beach, future West Catholic sporting events, responses and comments from classmates regarding the spring newsletter and the luncheon, our feature section "REMEMBERING THE GOOD OLD DAYS" with a special report about our Former Parishes and the current status of Philadelphia Archdiocesan High Schools.


We encourage you to let us know just what is happening in your life.  Anyone wishing to send information for the newsletter, i.e. requesting prayers for the sick, the deceased, information regarding family, birth of grandchildren, marriages, trips, retirement, etc., may contact Rich Buzza at, Frank Adolf at, or Frank Metzler at .


The other members of The Events Committee are Jim Clark, George Light, Jim Lynch, Bill Marella, Jim Prendergast, and John Staiber.  No information will be printed in the newsletter unless we receive the information from the class member himself.   






submitted by: JOHN STAIBER




Left to right: Charlie Johnson, Bob Gormley, Vince Leonetti, Frank McDonnell, John Staiber, Sam McGhie, George Buffington, Joe Gavaghan, Vince Reynolds, Lou Penge, Brother Larry Dempsey, Frank Metzler


The WC class of 1958 “Golden Burrs” held their 52nd anniversary luncheon on May 13th 2010, exactly two years after celebrating our big 50th reunion weekend.  Fifty-four classmates and guests came together for a memorable mini-reunion luncheon which was held at the Airport Ramada Inn in Essington.  This year it was our honor to have in attendance several special guests including, Msgr. James King, who was formerly known as Brother Azarias, Mr. Tom Wallace formerly known as Brother “German” John, and, from our class of 1958, Brothers Larry Dempsey and Steve Casale.

Our own George Light, acting as Master of Ceremonies, provided the welcoming remarks and introduced our honored guests.  In addition to making announcements about upcoming school and alumni events, such as “Burrs at the Beach”, George also provided all the latest class news and took time to recognize some of the recent achievements of our classmates.  Then, Msgr. King stepped up to offer the invocation prior to our luncheon meal and he took a moment to make a special dedication for all the deceased members of the class of 1958.

As always, the highpoint of the day was the feeling of joy and warm satisfaction while meeting-up with old friends from so long ago.  And, of course, it was made extra special having two of our former teachers celebrating along with us. 

Another very special feature of our luncheon was the Class of 1958 memorabilia gallery.  Jim Clark created  several  very elaborate and attractive display posters of each parish school which included photos of each and every class member.  Jim also had a display honoring our deceased classmates, a photo record of the WC Boys school demolition and another featuring our class members at this years Saint Patrick’s day parade in Philadelphia.  Frank Metzler did the same thing with a beautiful  display board featuring our lay faculty and religious mentors and teachers.

Many thanks to all the attendees and special thanks to the class of '58 events committee.

More luncheon pictures can be viewed on the Golden Burrs Website:


submitted by:  JOHN STAIBER

Once again, our class of '58 Golden Burrs, were well represented at this years “Burrs at the Beach” all class reunion which was held on Sunday July 18th, 2010 at Westy's Irish Pub in North Wildwood.

For those who have never attended this annual event it is a real eye-opener to see and experience so many West Catholic Alums at one location. It must take a tremendous effort by the organizers to pull this off each and every year for the past 23 seasons. A tip of our collective hats to all the “Burrs at the Beach” committee members and volunteers who devote so much of their time to make all this possible.

Although this particular day was brutally hot (high 90's), our class was not deterred at all as many 58'ers and several of their wives made their way to Wildwood again in 2010.  Our spotters counted a minimum of 36 of our classmates in attendance: Frank Adolf, Dick Boyle, Joe & Gail Bradley, Gene Carroll, Frank Cubbage, Larry Doran, Rich Egan, Al Gresh, Jim Hill, Tom Hughes, Ned Jones, Bill Kealey, Bill Kohlenberg, Vince & Bitsy Leonetti, George & Barbara Light, Jim & Fran Lynch, Bob Madden, Bill Marella, Sam & Pat McGhie, Mike McGinley, Tom McClain, Jim Nelson, Jack O'Connell, Pete O'Hara, Tom Shinn, Bob Shuff, Larry Signora, Angie & Loretta Sivieri, Bob Sproul, Johnny & Jeri Staiber, Joe Storniolo, Tom Sweeney, Bob & Cathy Ward, Carl Wagner, Mike Wishing and Jack Woods.

Hope to see you all again in 2011.


A show of hands at the May Luncheon indicated insufficient interest among our classmates to schedule a Christmas Holiday Party this year.








Saturday, August 21

at Council Rock North (scrimmage)

Council Rock North Stadium

9:00 AM

Saturday, August 28

at George Washington (scrimmage)

Washington Stadium

10:00 AM

Saturday, September 4

at Roman Catholic

Wildwood, NJ

 12:00 PM

Friday, September 10

vs Monsignor Bonner

Widener University

7:30 PM

Friday, September 17

vs LaSalle

Widener University

7:30 PM

Saturday, September 25

at Haverford School

Haverford Stadium

1:00 PM

Friday, October 1

vs Archbishop Ryan

Widener University

7:30 PM

Saturday, October 9

at Bishop McDevitt

Cheltenham Stadium

7:00 PM

Saturday, October 16

vs Conwell-Egan Catholic

Southern Super Site

6:00 PM

Saturday, October 23

at Neumann-Goretti

Southern Super Site

6:00 PM

Friday, October 29

vs Lansdale Catholic

Widener University

7:30 PM




submitted by:  FRANK ADOLF


Fran Lawless:  Rich, I was WC class of '68.  Thanks for forwarding your newsletter from '58 to me.  You are a terrific group of guys and I hope your newsletter lasts another 50 years.  You do a fantastic service to those left who consider having gone to WC to be one of those seminal events in life right up there with getting married and having children.  I will always appreciate my minor association with one of the greatest group of guys to come from 49th & Chestnut.   Fran, Batavia, Illinois


Joe Gavaghan:  Hey Frank, Thank you & Frank Metzler for the latest Newsletter. The piece about the Baptismal Fonts from St. Clement's going to Lubbock,Texas was interesting. 


John Kraft Class of 1957:  Hello Committee Members,  What a wonderful quarterly newsletter.  Your class "58" certainly has to be congratulated for volunteering your valuable time to advise fellow classmates on interesting topics.  I especially want to thank you for including all the information concerning the artifacts, statutes etc. going from MBS to St. Bede's.  Some of you may know I was a student at MBS and graduated from West Catholic in 1957.  I am a parishioner at St. Bede's and offered my assistance to Monsignor Marine with approximately two hundred names and addresses of men and women who attended both schools.  A minor contribution I might add.  Thanks again for the publicity and I look forward to meeting you all at the June 6th Mass.  Monsignor Marine asked my wife Mary and myself to sit at a table in a tent to welcome all the MBS folks and I told him we would be honored to do so.  John "57"


Jim English:  Well I finally made it to GettysburgGot here Wednesday.  Weather is beautiful. High 70s daytime and mid 50s at night. Will be home Wednesday 4/7.  See you May 13th at the luncheon.


Joe Noel:  Many thanks, Frank.  You certainly do your part and then some.  God bless, Joe




Des Butler:  I will not be able to attend but deeply appreciate the work that you and the committee do on behalf of our class.  Thank you.

Jim McManamin:  Thank you for taking the time to write.  Very thoughtful of you.  Presently, my plate is and will be full for the foreseeable future.  So, I must take a pass on this event.  I read everything that comes from the '58 gang and I hope this continues.  Good luck on the upcoming '52 Luncheon.


Jim Quinn:  Sorry Frank, cannot make 52nd anniv. luncheon, as I will be attending my Granddaughter's wedding in Wilkes Barre.   All the best to you and my buddy Clarkie.


Ed Diamond: Can't make it Frank, thanks for all your efforts on keeping us informed.


Charlie Bonner:  Hi Frank, I'm sorry I can't make it.  Thanks for checking.  Maybe some day.  


Ken Hemphill:  Frank thanks for thinking of me.  Unfortunately, I will be away that weekend.


George Wallace:  Hello Frank, I am living in Florida now and will not be near Philadelphia on May 13th, so I will not be able to attend the luncheon.


John Salvey:  Sorry but expense of going to Phila. from Texas would be too much.  Thanks for keeping me in the loop, if sometimes I can tie it into several things I’m in....


Joe Andrews:  I did receive the invitation, but I will not be in the Philadelphia area at that time. There are lots of times I wish I was closer.


Tom Nestel:  Frank,  Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend this year. 


Bob Shea:  Hi Frank, Sorry, but I can't make it. Thanks for thinking of me! 


Joe Speakman:  Sorry, Frank - I can't make it - will be out of town - keep me posted on things.

Vic Magistrelli:  Frank, Thank You for the update, I cannot make this one, however I'll attend in the future.  


Bill Kealey from the Island of Guam:  Hello Frank, I want to attend, but I may be delayed with this project, the Navy keeps on placing sped bumps in our path.  I will still try and make it, I'll let you know up to the 11 the hour.  Regards,  BK
Paul Peterson:
  Dear Frank, I am not yet retired!  But, this is most likely my last year teaching at Bishop Shanahan H. S.  Hopefully, I will be able to attend our luncheon next year.  One of my goals for when I retire is to reconnect with our valedictorian Ed Vallely.  


Frank Welsh:  I will be starting my 15-day vacation that day, so I will have to miss this luncheon, unfortunately.  Maybe next year.


Jack McLaughlin (Transy):  Thank you for your reminder.  It so happens that that week in May my wife and I will be taking a cruise of the Western MediterraneanMy regards to all.


Steve Beckson:  Hello Frank, Would love to make it but my wife and I will be away on a cruise at that time.


Tom Robertson:  Hi Frank.  I am sorry that I will not be able to attend the Anniversary luncheon this year.  Hope you fellows have a great time.


Don (Andy) Thompson:  Thanks for the invite Frank . . . and, at this point in history, I expect not to be able to attend the 13 May luncheon.  If I find before 30 April's deadline that I can attend, I'll let you know Frank. 


Cholly Walsh:  Dear Frank, Good to hear from you and I do appreciate all the wonderful insights and news.  Unfortunately, I will not be at the Anniversary Luncheon.   I do however, send good thoughts and lots of love.


Brien Whisman:  Thanks for the invitation, but I'll be spending some time in Denver that week watching the Phillies play the Rockies.  Keep me posted.....


A special thanks to all 68 of our classmates who took the time to let us know they received the e-mail invitation, but were unable to attend the luncheon.








submitted by:  FRANK METZLER and FRANK ADOLF


Over the last some 20 years many of our former parish churches and schools were closed, merged, or consolidated with neighboring parishes.  Many factors were taken into consideration by the parish and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to effect the changes.  Declining vocations with the Priests, Brothers, and Sisters, enrollment in the schools, parish memberships and Sunday collections all came into the decision process to restructure parishes all over the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  Even the high schools have undergone changes over the years.


The results of the restructuring are listed below:


St Agatha Parish was consolidated with St. James Parish at 38th and Chestnut Streets in 1976, and it is now called St. Agatha-St. James Parish.  In subsequent years, both schools were closed and children of the parish have the option to attend classes at either St. Francis de Sales or St. IgnatiusSt. James School now houses the Archdiocesan Offices for Catholic Cemeteries.


St. Raphael Parish, located in the Meadows at 86th and Tinicum Avenue, closed in 1989 and was incorporated into St. Clement Parish.  The church and rectory were demolished.


Our Lady of Loreto Parish, located at 62nd and Grays Avenue, closed in 2000 and incorporated into St. Barnabas Parish.  The church has been sold and is now Grace Christian Fellowship Church


St. Mary of Czestochowa Parish located at 59th and Elmwood Ave., also closed in 2000 and incorporated into St. Barnabas Parish.  St. Mary's now houses the Kern-Crest Head Start Program. 


While St. Barnabas Parish Church at 63rd and Buist Avenue is still in existence, the school has been renamed, Mary, Mother of Peace School.  The IHM Sisters still teach students from all the closed schools at this location.


St. Clement Parish, located at 71st and Woodland, closed in 2004 and was incorporated into Good Shepherd Parish.  Good Shepherd Parish at 67th and Chester Avenues was renamed Divine Mercy Parish and the students attend the Mary, Mother of Peace School.  St. Clement Church is now First Baptist of Paschall.


St. Irenaeus Parish, 2728 S. 73rd St., originally formed in 1966 from territory of both St. Clement and St. Barnabas Parishes, was suppressed in 2004 and is now a worship site for Divine Mercy Parish.  


In the 1990s Transfiguration School merged with St. Carthage School with a Principal in each school.  The lower grades (1-4) attended Transfiguration and the upper grade students (5-8) attended St. Carthage.  But, in 2000 Transfiguration Parish was closed and was incorporated into St. Carthage which was renamed St. Cyprian Parish.  Since the closing, the convent was demolished and Transfiguration School has been sold, renovated and reopened as The Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School  The church and rectory remain idle and are on the market.


The former St. Carthage Convent has been converted to a day care facility, especially for after school programs.


In 2005, Our Lady of Victory Parish at 54th and Vine Streets closed and merged with Our Lady of the Rosary Parish at the 63rd and Callowhill Sts. site to form Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish.  The buildings at Our Lady of Victory are still standing, but are idle. 


An all class reunion of former students of Our Lady of Victory Parish will be held on November 28, 2010 at the grand ballroom of the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel at 17th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia.  For more information visit  (Source: Catholic Standard and Times, May 20, 2010, Page 19).


St. Francis de Sales Parish at 47th and Springfield Avenue is still in existence serving a diverse community with one Vietnamese Mass on Sunday.


In 2008 Most Blessed Sacrament Parish was closed and incorporated with St. Francis de Sales and the official title of the parish is now known as St. Francis de Sales of the Most Blessed Sacrament. 


On Friday, May 14, 2010, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that "Since 2003 The Hardy Williams Academy Charter School had rented buildings at the former Most Blessed Sacrament Parish from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The charter, which has been paying nearly $500,000 in annual rent, has made some upgrades but is talking to the archdiocese about buying and renovating the entire complex with two schools, an annex, convent, rectory, and church.  The board had not decided how it would finance the project, which could cost as much as $10 million."


Visitation BVM Parish at B and Lehigh is still in existence.  To accommodate the changing demographics of the parish, Masses are offered in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.


Holy Name Parish in the Fishtown section of Philly is alive and well.  The Dominican Fathers have been replaced with Diocesan priests. The school is closed.


Many of our classmates moved from their original parish and were living in other parishes upon graduation.  All these parishes are open and doing well: St. Alice and St Laurence in Upper Darby, St. Gabriel in Norwood, St. Pius X in Broomall, St. Anastasia in Newtown Square, Annunciation and St. Denis in Havertown, St. Matthias in Bala Cynwyd, St Cyril in East Lansdowne, St. Philomena in Lansdowne, St. Kevin in Springfield, and Our Lady of Fatima in Secane.


Individual classmates came from other parishes in the city and they, too, are doing well: St. Rose of Lima, St. Timothy, Holy Innocents, St. Madeline, St. Hugh, and St. Cecilia in Fox Chase.


If you have any parish stories that you would like to share with us, please fell feel to e-mail them to our staff.


The above information about the parishes was found in the Catholic Directory of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, on-line research and a tour of Southwest Philly by Jim Lynch.



St. Thomas More High School at 47th St. and Wyalusing Avenue closed in 1975.


As you all know, West Catholic Boys and West Catholic Girls merged in 1989 to form West Philadelphia Catholic High School at the 45th and Chestnut Streets Campus. 


St. James High School in Chester closed in 1993 and subsequently reopened as St. James Retirement and Rehabilitation Center.  The center was closed in 2006.


Bishop Conwell in Levittown and Bishop Egan in Fairless Hills merged in 1993 to form Conwell-Egan Catholic High School at the Fairless Hills site.


St. John Neumann and St. Maria Goretti High Schools in South Philadelphia were consolidated in the 2004-2005 school year at the Maria Goretti campus and is now called SS. John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School.


Monsignor Bonner Boys and Archbishop Prendergast Girls High Schools in Drexel Hill were restructured in 2006 under one administration and are now called Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High School with a Bonner Division and a Prendergast Division.


Northeast Catholic High School for Boy which opened in 1926 and Cardinal Dougherty High School which opened in 1956 were closed in June, 2010 due to low enrollment.  Both schools at different times over their distinguished histories, would boast they were "the largest Catholic high school in the world"; Northeast @ 4,410 students in 1952-53 and Dougherty @ 5,944 in 1965-66.


 Kennedy-Kenrick High School in Norristown (two separate schools that merged in 1993) and St. Pius X

founded in 1955 in Pottstown, will merge in September, 2010 and relocate to the newly constructed Pope John Paul II High School in Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County.


The above information was found in the Catholic Directory of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, The Catholic Standard and Times and on-line research.


The above information was found in the Catholic Directory of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, The Catholic Standard and Times and on-line research.




WE REMEMBER and ask for your prayers for those in our lives who are ill, and for all those who have gone to their eternal reward, especially Brother John Owens (aka Brother Galdrick John) principal of West Catholic from 1954 to 1963, who passed away on July 15, 2010 at the age of 92. 


St. John Baptist De LaSalle, pray for us! 

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever!