The Golden Burrs Events Committee members are pleased to bring you this 27th edition of the Class of 1958's Newsletter.


We wish you and yours a very





In this issue, under the "West Catholic Prep Banner" is the announcement of Brother Richard Kestler's retirement; a report about St. Joseph University's award to Brother Richard for his leadership in Catholic education; a report about the 2016 School Hall of Fame Inductees; a report from the West Catholic Prep website concerning a $5 million dollar donation to the school; and finally the calendar of events.


In the "News Features" section you will find a thank you letter from Brother Dennis Malloy for the Class of '58's donation for the care of retired Brothers; details about the Golden Burrs of 1958's annual luncheon; information about the success of two of our classmate's daughters,  and a report on announced parish mergers/partnerships in Port Richmond. 


The feature article is the history of St. James The Greater Parish.  This is the last in the series of articles about the former "feeder" parishes who sent their students to West Catholic Boys and West Catholic Girls High Schools. 


The following sources were used for this article: The 100th anniversary booklet entitled: "The Parish of St. James the Greater: Mother Parish of West Philadelphia, 1850-1950" edited by Reverend John W. Simons; "Catholicity in Philadelphia from the earliest missionaries down to the present time"(1909) by Reverend Joseph L. J. Kirlin; The 1966 West Catholic Blue and White yearbook courtesy of Rich McCann;  The 2008 publication "Our Faith-Filled Heritage - The Church of Philadelphia, Bicentennial as a Diocese 1808-2008"; and St. James - Extensive Time-Line written in November 2007- author unknown.  


The Summer 2016 issue will feature new found information about the whereabouts of artifacts removed from the  Transfiguration Of Our Lord Church.  

Sadly, we learned of the passing of Rev. James F. McGoldrick-M.B.S. Class of 1954, former WC Football Coach - Vince McAneney and our classmate William J. Gallagher.









Office of the President

January 19, 2016

Dear Alums and Friends,

It has been my pleasure to have ministered at West Catholic - now West Catholic Prep - over three assignments for a total of 16 years – first at the boys school from 1973-79, then at the merged school from 1999-2005 and again from 2012-2016. During each of these assignments I attribute much of my success to the students, their families, and my colleagues in education. Time has now caught up with me, and I will retire as the President of this very proud school, effective June 30, 2016.

I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished at this school over the past four years. Here are some items to be particularly proud of since 2012:

Of course, the challenges that face urban-Catholic schools, especially in Philadelphia, are great. But, what we are doing here is touching the hearts and minds of our young people and preparing them for life – a challenge worth taking on! My wish is that as the school enters its second century in September of 2016 that it continues to receive the loyalty and support that have been hallmarks of West Catholic since the beginning.

I will long cherish the associations I have had with each of you and the community of West and Southwest Philadelphia. May we together continue to pray for and support the school in the challenges of a second century of providing a quality Catholic education to all young people who seek an opportunity. Remember the doors on Chestnut street are forever open to you for a visit!

Go Burrs, 

Brother Richard Kestler, FSC           




During Catholic Schools Week, Brother Richard Kestler, FSC, President of West Catholic Preparatory High School, was awarded the prestigious Rabo Studiorum Award by St. Joseph's University for his exceptional leadership in collaborative efforts to transform Catholic education and ensure it for future generations, advancing human dignity, global solidarity and the development of a more just common good.

Congrats Br. Richard! 



Posted 12/14/2015 on the West Catholic Prep Website -


The following inductees entered the West Catholic Prep Hall of Fame.


These exemplary alums are distinguished in their respective categories and deserve the highest school honor of our Hall of Fame.  


The West Catholic Hall of Fame 2016 inductees:

  image005                                                     image006                                       

   Francis "Sonny" Jackson & William Shea - Class of 1955 Captains

For excellence in Loyalty
If there is an event or reunion going on in the class of 1955, chances are good that behind the scenes Frank “Sonny” Jackson and Bill Shea are hard at work. Since their classmates can remember Sonny and Bill have been calling on classmates to come out and celebrate West whether it be for a reunion, a Christmas party, a school events, etc. For years, their spotlight event has become their reunions. They run a well-attended party every five years and ask classmates to kick a few extra dollars in to give back to the school. Over time, because of the efforts led by Sonny and Bill, the class of 1955 has contributed over $500,000 back to the school!



Saundra McClain – Class of 1963 - Award Winning Actress/Producer

For excellence in Arts/Entertainment
A veteran actor and director for over 40 years, Ms. McClain has won or been nominated for numerous Ovation Awards, NAACP Theatre Awards, Clio Awards and Drama Critics Awards, NEA grants, etc. She has directed or performed at such notable theatres as New York Shakespeare Festival, Kennedy Center, A.R.T., Royal Court Theatre in London,  Second Stage, Shakespeare Theatre in D.C., Shakespeare Santa Cruz, to name a few. She has performed in many productions on and off Broadway, as well as guest starred, recurred on numerous television shows and commercials. 




Malcolm Nance – Class of 1979 - Naval Intelligence

For excellence in Military, Government Service
Malcolm Nance is an American career cryptologic senior chief petty officer, author, scholar and media commentator on international terrorism, intelligence, insurgency and torture. He is an internationally recognized expert in the history, personalities and organization of al Qaeda and its affiliates including the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant ISIL; jihadi radicalization, Islamic extremism in Middle East, Southwest Asian and African terror groups, as well as counterinsurgency and asymmetric warfare. Malcolm Nance practices in the fields of national security policy particularly in anti- and counter-terrorism intelligence, terrorist strategy and tactics, torture and counter-ideology in combating Islamic extremism.



Robert Carrigan – Class of 1984 - CEO of Dunn and Bradstreet

For excellence in Business

Mr. Carrigan, has served as President and Chief Executive Officer for Dunn and Bradstreet since October 7, 2013. Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. is an American public company headquartered in Short Hills, a community in Millburn, New Jersey, US that provides commercial data to businesses on credit history, business-to-business sales and marketing, counterparty risk exposure, supply chain management, lead scoring and social identity matching. Often referred to as D&B, the company’s database contains information on more than 235 million companies across 200 countries worldwide. Dun & Bradstreet has been listed on the Fortune 500 and was one of the first companies to be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Prior to that, Mr. Carrigan served as CEO of IDG Communications, Inc., a leading technology media, events and research company, from April 2008 until September 2013, where he led the company's media operations, including online, print and events in 90 countries. Under Mr. Carrigan's leadership, IDG transformed from a print publisher to a leading digital media company and the worldwide leader in the technology event and media space. Prior to becoming CEO of IDG, Mr. Carrigan held senior leadership roles of increasing responsibility, including President of IDG Communications US from April 2005 until March 2008 and Chief Executive Officer, President and Publisher of Computerworld from May 2003 until April 2005. Previously, Mr. Carrigan spent four years at America Online, Inc., where he was Senior Vice President in the Interactive Marketing Group from April 1999 to March 2003.



Al Gabriele – Chairman, West Catholic Prep Board of Trustees

Awarding honorary membership for Service

Al came to West Catholic Prep through his strong relationship with School President, Brother Richard Kestler. After making the decision to lead West Catholic Prep, Gabriele was one of the first people Brother Richard asked to help fulfill his vision. Previously, the pair had worked together on a $25 million campaign at La Salle College High School, where their relationship extended beyond professional and into friendship. Through the efforts of Bro. Richard and Gabriele, a Board was formed to meet the strategic needs at West Catholic Prep.

Gabriele agreed to chair the board, which consists of eighteen members, ten of whom are West Catholic Prep alums. Gabriele says that the Board has two primary roles. First, is to help provide expertise that is valuable in assisting the administration’s success. Second, the Board monitors the strengths and weaknesses of the school to ensure that West Catholic Prep aligns with the vision set forth.

The vision of West Catholic Prep is to continue to educate students so that they have the opportunity to be successful. To date, the Board of West Catholic Prep has effectively crafted a Strategic Plan and Vision Statement that has led to financial management and enrollment success. In addition to the plans, the Board has helped to form resource enhancement partnerships with Drexel, Penn, University of the Sciences, St. Joseph University and Lankenau Hospital.



Posted on WC Prep Website - 2/24/2016 by Martha Woodall, STAFF WRITER


West Catholic Preparatory High School announced Wednesday that it has received a $5 million gift.

Leonard Mazur, a member of the West Philadelphia school's board and a 1963 alumnus of what was then West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys, donated the funds with his wife Helen to support the school's leadership and mission in the community it serves.

The gift is intended to connect with a strategic plan being developed by the board that will largely focus on the school's academics and its students, the school said in the announcement.

A native of Southwest Philadelphia, Mazur is the CEO of Citius Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company based in Maynard, Mass.

He obtained his MBA and bachelor degree from Temple University.  Mazur also chairs the board of trustees at Manor College in Jenkintown.




95th Annual Alumni Communion Breakfast - Springfield Country Club - Sunday, April 17, 2016


Burrs at the Beach - Westy's Irish Pub, Wildwood, NJ - Sunday, June 26, 2016












The West Catholic Boys Class of 1958 will celebrate the 58th Anniversary of their graduation from West Catholic at their annual luncheon on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at the Clarion Hotel (formerly the Ramada), Essington, PA.


Cost: $20.00 per person, cash bar.


The overnight room rate for out-of-town travelers remains unchanged from previous years at $89.00. 


Invitations have been sent out, please advise if you did not receive your e-mail invitation.


We encourage you to spread the word to friends of the Class of '58, all are welcome.  


Per the invitation instructions, please submit your payment no later than April 30, 2016.  Questions: Contact Frank Adolf at: or call 610-344-0716 or 610-761-4925 (cell).





Joe Gavaghan reported that a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday, February 21, 2016 concerning the amazing progress of the Mitchell School on Kingsessing Avenue in West Philadelphia, has a Class of 1958 connection.  The principal, Stephanie Andrewlevich, is the daughter of our classmate, Dick Junod, who graduated with Joe from Visitation B.V.M. School in 1954.





When Stephanie qualified for a Principal's position, she took the example and advice her father gave her years ago "to take the challenge and find the best in the city's toughest kids."  She requested to be the Principal at Mitchell School. 


Mitchell School had many difficult situations such as no computers in their classrooms, barely any budget for books, days without a nurse, a rodent problem, flooded bathrooms smelling of urine, among many other problems.  As a first year Principal, she is slowly turning the school around.  According to the maintenance man for the past 8 years, "Ms. A's wasn't playing." 


The full article may be found at



Our classmate Joe Murphy reported that his daughter, Eileen (Murphy) Vice, is the Principal at Cardinal O'Hara High School, but Joe said he still roots for West.  Both Eileen and her husband Michael graduated from O'Hara in 1989.  





Congratulations Stephanie and Eileen and best wishes to you both for continued success in the future.




gleaned from

and the

1935 Golden Jubilee Booklet of Our Lady Help of Christians


submitted by:  FRANK ADOLF





The archdiocese of Philadelphia announced on January 24, 2016 that five of the six parishes in the Pastoral Planning Area (PPA) 570 situated in Philadelphia's Port Richmond section, will reorganize in a plan that calls for merging and partnering.   


  Early History of the Five Parishes and the reasons why they were estblished.


If you ever wondered when there are five Catholic Churches within blocks of each other in Port Richmond, here are their background stories. 


In January of 1882, Nativity B.V.M. parish located at Allegheny Avenue and Belgrade Street, was founded by the Redemptorist Fathers to provide a place of worship for those of German ancestry who worked on the Reading anthracite coal piers in Port Richmond.  Not  long after the church had been dedicated, German-speaking Catholics were outnumbered by English-speaking Catholics, mostly of  Irish decent.  Archbishop Ryan assigned a German-speaking assistant, the Reverend George J. Wolf, to minister to the Germans at Nativity and redesignated the parish as an English-speaking parish with Father Francis J. Quinn as pastor.  At the same time the Redemptorist withdrew from the parish. 


This change did not satisfy the German members of the parish who desired to have all the services in German.  After much deliberations, Archbishop Ryan came to the conclusion that another parish for the German Catholics of Port Richmond should be established.


Father Wolf was given the task of establishing the new parish of Our Lady Help of Christians.  The sum of $10,000 was allotted to the infant parish for use in building a new church.  It was reported that the amount of money given to Father Wolf was estimated to be equal to the donations and contributions of the German people to the Nativity parish.  Father Wolf selected a site for the new parish on the south side of Allegheny Avenue from Gaul to Chatham Street, across the Avenue from Nativity.


In 1902, St. George parish located at 2700 block of E. Venango Street, was established to serve the Lithuanian residents of the    



In 1903, St. Adalbert parish located at Allegheny Avenue and Thompson Street, was founded to serve the Polish Catholic community of Port Richmond.        


In 1926, Mother of Divine Grace, located at E. Thompson and E. Monmouth Sts. was founded to minister to the new wave of    

Italian immigrants who settled in Port Richmond.  


Phase one of the reorganization plan will occur in June 2016 and calls for Our Lady Help of Christians, to merge into the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish.  The changing demographics has resulted in Our Lady Help of Christians no longer offering a Mass in German and the two parishes have shared a pastor for several years.  Also, in June 2016, Mother of Divine Grace parish will partner with St. George parish.


By June of 2017, Phase two will result in the new Nativity B.V.M. parish entering into a partnership with Mother of Divine Grace and St. George.  Under the partnership arrangement, each parish will remain open, but all will be served by one pastor, one staff, and one pastoral council.  The parishes will, however, maintain separate finance councils. 


St. Adalbert parish which is still supported by Polish Catholics, will remain a free-standing parish with its own pastor, staff, councils and finances.


St. Anne parish on Lehigh Avenue was not involved with PPA 570's planning and remains unaffected. 


In years past each parish ran its own Catholic school.  Today the only parish schools remaining are at St. George and Our Lady of Port Richmond, a regional school located at the St. Adalbert campus. 


One can only wonder if the above graphic is an indicator that Our Lady Help of Christians will disappear in 2017.  It is not clear from the announcement if OLHC will survive.  Hopefully, it will remain open as it is a beautiful church.  I have a personal bias since my Mother's paternal grandparents were founding members of the parish (their names are on one of the three bells in the church tower), my maternal grandfather was an ardent supporter of the parish and paid for and personally installed several enhancements to the church's interior, and my Father's brother, Rev. Francis P. Adolf (WC '26), once served at OLHC as assistant pastor in 1935-36.  Thanks to his one year assignment at OLHC, my "West Philly" Dad met my "Port Richmond" Mom while helping his brother run "Bingo Parties" on Friday evenings; and as they say "the rest is history".  








submitted by:  FRANK ADOLF




Not by choice, but because of the amount of research that had to be done and difficulty in obtaining information, St. James the Greater Parish is the last parish in the series of articles about the "feeder parishes" that sent their students to The West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys.  St. James is truly the "Mother Parish of West Philadelphia" having been the first parish to be established west of the Schuylkill River.  


The part of the city now known as West Philadelphia was not always the residential and educational section that it is today. 

In the early part of the 19th century, it was made up of scattered hamlets, where a number of Catholics, who at great inconvenience, had to cross the Schuylkill river to attend services at St. Patrick's Parish, in what is now the center city area of Philadelphia.  


The Bishop of the Church of Philadelphia at that time in its history was Francis P. Kendrick.  Bishop Kendrick succeeded Bishop Conwell upon his death on April 22, 1842, having been Coadjutor-Bishop with the right of succession beginning on February 25, 1830. 




Bishop Francis Patrick Kendrick (1842-1851)


Spring of 1850 - The activity in church building was finally extended to west of the Schuylkill river.  At the insistence of Bishop

Kendrick a parish dedicated to St. James the Greater was established in Hamilton Village, Blockley Township, to include all of that district, with parochial jurisdiction that would extend to the entire area west of the Schuylkill river and on into Delaware and Montgomery counties.  The original territory of St. James would eventually be served by 23 parishes. 


It is important to note that St. James did not begin as a "city" parish at the time of its founding.  Blockley Township was not within the legal boundaries of the city of Philadelphia until it was incorporated into Philadelphia proper by the 1854 Act of Consolidation




People called the Township of Blockley by the made up name "West Philadelphia".  The area was for the most part a series of farms, meadowland, and wooded tracts.  The Blockley Almshouse, later known as Philadelphia General Hospital, was located in the township. 




"The Woodlands" built in 1788 was the Manor House of William Hamilton, the founder of Hamilton Village.  Hamilton was an eccentric bachelor and distinguished patron of the arts.  


Today, his former home is situated on 54-acres and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark District in recognition of its unique history and rich resources.  The Woodland Cemetery on the property is still in use and the Mansion and its landscaped surroundings, offer programs that are an educational resource for local school children, community residents, and university students.  Also, the property is beneficial to a small, highly motivated cadre of scholars, seeking further understanding of American architectural and botanical history, urban development, and the origin and growth of West Philadelphia.  To learn more about "The Woodlands" visit


The Rev. William O'Hara, D. D. (afterwards Bishop of Scranton) then the assistant pastor at St. Patrick's, was instructed by Bishop Kenrick to purchase a property, and with the help of two prominent Catholics, Mr. William McBride and Mr. Jerome Eagle, he secured a lot 120 feet on Chestnut Street by 50 feet extending along Mary Street (now Thirty-eighth Street) to St. George (now Samson) Street. 


The Rev. Joseph V. O'Keefe, assistant pastor at St. Philip parish, was appointed pastor of the new parish, and celebrated the first Mass in the house of Mr. McBride, at 3631 Locust Street.  The house was later razed to make way for a garden for the Delta Psi Fraternity of the University of Pennsylvania.


Father O'Keefe was ordained on January 7, 1849. 


July 1850 - Father O'Keefe, accompanied by Mr. McBride, took a census of the scattered Catholics in his very large territory, and found forty adults, married and single, who pledged themselves to aid him in the erection of a church.  Work was begun at once on digging and laying of the foundation. 


August 4, 1850 - The cornerstone of the first church of St. James was blessed on this Sunday afternoon by Bishop Kenrick who also delivered the sermon.  


A few month later, Father O'Keefe was transferred to St. Patrick's parish in Pottsville, and was succeeded by the Reverend James Joseph Mullen, who was to finish construction of the church.  Sadly, Father O'Keefe was to have a short life as he died at St. Patrick's on November 12, 1860.  He was a priest for less than twelve years.


Fall, 1850 - Father Mullen plunged right into his new assignment by purchasing a house at the rear of the church from Mr. McBride for use as a pastoral residence.  He next organized a Sunday School and classes were held at the McBride house until the church was completed.


August 19, 1851, Bishop Kendrick was named Archbishop of Baltimore.


February 5, 1852 - The Reverend John Nepomucene Neumann was named Bishop of Philadelphia. 


March 28, 1852 - Father Neumann was ordained a Bishop and installed at the See of Philadelphia by Archbishop Kendrick.





Bishop John Nepomucene Neumann C.Ss.R. 1852-1860


Third Sunday in October 1852 - St. James the Greater Church was dedicated.




The First Church of St. James the Greater Parish  


July 21, 1854 - Father Mullen passed away and pastoral duties over the next several months were attended to by Rev. Michael McGrane, Rev. James Cullen and Rev. Edward Murray.


December 1854 - Reverend Richard O'Connor was named pastor of St. James. 


Father O'Connor was ordained on June 6, 1846.




Reverend Richard O'Connor

Pastor 1854 - 1861


1857-1864 - Sunday School was conducted by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.


January 5, 1860Bishop Neumann collapsed in front of a house at 1218 Vine Street, was taken inside where he soon died of a stroke.    He was forty-eight years of age.




Coadjutor-Bishop James Frederick Wood became Bishop of the Diocese upon the death of Bishop Neumann. 


Father O'Connor, active and brilliant though he was, found the conduct of his parish duties physically taxing. 


In 1861, when Father O'Connor launched numerous events to raise money for the repair and improvement of the church building, his health became progressively worse.  In the same year he arranged to have the sanctuary enlarged, the choir gallery extended, and the entire interior of the church painted, plastered, and frescoed.


His major tasks accomplished, Father obtained a  leave of absence from the Bishop, and he went abroad in an effort to recover his health.  Father O'Connor remained abroad for two years.  When he returned it was not to St. James' parish, for his long absences had resulted in his having to relinquish his pastorship and upon his return was appointed pastor of St. Charles Borromeo in Kellyville (now Drexel Hill). 


1862 - The Reverend Michael Fox Martin, who had been Chaplain of the 69th Pennsylvania Volunteers, was appointed pastor of St. James. 

Father Martin was ordained on August 9, 1846.




  Reverend Michael F. Martin

Pastor 1862 - 1874




Satterlee Hospital, fabricated on a sixteen acre plot bounded by present day Baltimore Avenue and Pine Street, Forty-third and Forty-sixth Streets, served as the Union Army's largest hospital during the Civil War.  The hospital could not have functioned efficiently without the hard work and dedication of the Sisters of the Daughters of Charity.  From 1862 until the hospital closed in 1865, more than 100 Daughters of Charity provided spiritual and medical needs at the 3,000 bed facility to more than 60,000 wounded and dying soldiers.   Today, the area where the hospital once stood is a small portion of Clark Park.



Sisters of the Daughters of Charity at Satterlee Hospital


1864 - Father Martin directed all his efforts to the establishment of a parish elementary school.  He purchased the Eagle property next to the rectory on 38th Street.


1865 - Father Martin began construction of the present rectory on Chestnut Street.


  Demolition of the former rectory (McBride House) and the Eagle house were completed. 


1867 - The Society of the Holy Child of Jesus Sisters (SHCJ) acquired property at 39th and Chestnut Sts. and established St. Leonard's Academy.


In 1868 the Dioceses of HarrisburgScranton and Wilmington were established from territory of the Philadelphia Diocese, leaving Philadelphia with 93 churches and 157 priests.


1868 - Construction of St. James school began with Mr. Edwin Durang as the architect. 


January 1870 - The school was opened at 38th and Sansom Streets, and this three story "red brick schoolhouse", would serve the parish for the next 58 years.  The Sisters of the Holy Child were invited to teach the girls and the boys were taught by lay teachers with Miss M. Hennessey as the Principal.  At the time, the Holy Child order prohibited the nuns from teaching boys beyond the fourth grade, thus the reason for lay teachers.  The Sisters resided at St. Leonard's Academy, so the parish never had to build a convent.  There were nearly six hundred students enrolled in the school. 


1870 - The present rectory was completed.




St. James Rectory on left - Church center - School behind the Church on right


In the same year, the pastor and his assistants took on the duties of visiting Kirkbride Insane Asylum

between 48th & 49th Streets at Market Street, Philadelphia, PA,

across Market Street from West Catholic Boys.





Kirkbride Insane Asylum


November 21, 1874 - The Catholic Standard announced the transfer of Father Martin to the pastorship of St. Mary's, and the Reverend Francis P. O'Neill, who had been assistant at the Cathedral, was named pastor. 


Father O'Neill was ordained on January 28, 1866.




Reverend Francis P. O'Neill

Pastor 1874 - 1882


When Father O'Neill became pastor West Philadelphia was much more populous, and there were now three new parishes where there had only been one.  Our Mother of Sorrows was established in 1852; St. Agatha and St. Clement, were both established in 1865


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


1875 - The Philadelphia Advertiser had this to say about West Philadelphia:  "This portion of the city is new, and is growing rapidly.  Fortunately, Chestnut Street and its neighbors to the south have been almost monopolized by the suburban residences of wealthy citizens, who have adorned their homes with spacious grounds, with trees and flowers, and have planted shade-trees along the streets; so that this neighborhood is now, and must ever remain, a lovely blending of all that is most beautiful in city and country."  Many of Philadelphia's wealthiest and best known citizens bought large plots of ground on which they erected palatial homes, until Hamilton Village in the area of 38th and 39th Streets at Chestnut and Walnut, became an aristocratic section of the town.




The parish numbered some fairly well-to-do parishioners among it ranks, but the major portion of the congregation consisted of hardworking men and women of modest means.  At the east end of the parish large numbers of row houses - moderately priced, but spacious and comfortable - were being constructed. 


Father O'Neill's brother, the Reverend Joseph H. O'Neill, was an assistant at St. James for thirteen years and for four of those years he assisted his brother.  I mention this because in 1890 Father Joseph O'Neill was appointed to be the founding pastor of St. Francis de Sales, and it is reported that he named the new parish in honor of his brother.  The reason will be evident later in this report.


One of the early accomplishments of Father Francis O'Neill was the liquidation of the remaining parish debt of $40,000.  At the same time he realized that a more spacious church was needed.  At a meeting in the school building the parishioners pledged to supported the funding of a new church with pledges ranging from twenty-five cents to five hundred dollars.  A total subscription of more than ten thousand dollars was realized.


July 1881 - The old church was torn down.  Mass was said in the school chapel while the new church was being erected.


October 16, 1881The cornerstone was blessed by Bishop Shanahan the first Bishop of Harrisburg, who also preached the sermon.  Six thousand people attended the ceremony, while Archbishop Wood who was too ill to officiate, watched the ceremonies from a window of the rectory. 




(Note: Bishop Jeremiah Shanahan is not the namesake for the High School in Chester County, rather the school was named after his brother, Bishop John W. Shanahan, who was the first superintendent of Schools in Philadelphia and the third Bishop of Harrisburg.)


Numerous events were held to help defray the expenses of construction.  Musicals, plays, strawberry festivals, and fairs were the order of the day.


August 1882 - Father Francis O'Neill died suddenly of a heart attack.  The news of his passing was a great shock to the parishioners and to his brother Father Joseph O'Neill.  The sudden death is said to be the reason Father Joseph O'Neill chose St. Francis De Sales as the patron of the new parish that he was to establish in 1890. 


Archbishop Wood ordered that the funeral be held at the Cathedral because the new church was in the early stages of construction and the school hall was too inadequate to handle the expected crowd. 




Due to the Archbishop's poor state of health, Bishop O'Hara of Scranton officiated at the funeral Mass, and Father O'Neill was interred in the crypt beneath the high altar of the Cathedral. 


1882 - The Reverend Dr. Patrick J. Garvey, D. D., former pastor of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and pastor of St. Peter's Church, Reading, PA., was appointed as pastor and took up the work of completing the church construction. 


 Father Garvey was ordained in Rome on June 6, 1868.



Pastor 1882 - 1898


June 20, 1883 - Archbishop Wood passed away.




June 8, 1884 - Patrick John Ryan was named Archbishop of Philadelphia.


July 27, 1884 - The basement of the new Church was ready for occupancy and was dedicated on the Feast of St. James.


The work at this point had costs $105,000 and it would take $75,000 more to finish construction.


October 19, 1887 - St. James the Greater Church, regarded as one of the handsomest in the city, was finally completed.

The church was dedicated by Archbishop Ryan. 


An excerpt from a release to the Newspapers by the Architect, Edwin F. Durang, at the Time of Dedication: "The building is in a pure Gothic style throughout, with rich ornamentation and foliage in the more modern conventional type now so popular in Europe".






Exterior and interior of the new Church of St. James 1887.




Following the custom of the time, tickets of admission were sold for the dedication.  Hundreds of applications had to be returned.


October 17, 1887 - The Philadelphia Press gave this description of Church:  "The building is faced with Cockney white marble.  There is an Eastern and Western tower on the Chestnut Street front, with an imposing gable between the towers facing the nave.  The deeply recessed doorway is one of the most striking features of the structure.  Inside the most truly grand and effective point is claimed to be the intersection of the nave and transept by the four bold arches.  The high altar is of white marble and is twenty seven feet high.  On the side altars there are two painting representing St. Joseph's flight into Egypt, and the Annunciation.  The confessional and pews are in oak, antique, with hard oiled finish.  The seven stained glass windows are among the finest specimens in the city." 


Following the dedication, Archbishop Ryan offered a Solemn High Mass which was attended by seventy priests, representing various dioceses in the United States and Canada.


Dr. Garvey while pastor of St. James, held high diocesan offices, and his administration placed St. James in the foremost rank of the city parishes. 


1890 to 1900 - West Philadelphia had continued it slow western growth, and four new parishes were established - St. Francis de Sales (1890); Our Lady of Lourdes (1894); St. Gregory (1895); and Our Lady of Victory (1899).  It is said that the founding pastor of St. Francis de Sales, Reverend Joseph H. O'Neill named the parish after his departed brother, Father Francis P. O'Neill.  St. James Parish boundaries, which originally had jurisdiction over all Catholics in West Philadelphia, retreated to the limits of the original Hamilton Village.  


Early 1895 - Dr. Garvey purchased property at the south-east corner of Thirty-eighth and Market Streets, and on it erected a magnificent parish hall, to be named St. James Hall, for theatrical productions, sports events and society meeting rooms. 


December 1896 - St. James Hall was ready for use, it is an imposing four story building of Pompeian brick, terra cotta, and Indiana limestone.  


February 13, 1898 - Dr. Garvey was appointed by the Archbishop to the rectorship of the Seminary, wherein he was formally installed on February 15, 1898.


The Reverend James C. Monahan D.D. was appointed pastor of St. James. 


Father Monahan was ordained on March 2, 1883.



Pastor 1898 - 1927


Dr. Monahan came to the parish after all the construction had been completed by the previous three pastors.  The new Church has costs approximately $200,000 and St. James Hall about $75,000.  Dr. Garvey had paid off $150,000, leaving Father Monahan with unpaid debt of $125,000.  Within ten years Father Monahan had eliminated the debt. 





Before West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys was built with its residence for the Christian Brothers', the community lived in a house on Samson Street between 37th and 38th Street.  The boys of St. James were taught by the Brothers from 1896 to 1901.


1901 - The Sisters of the Holy Child were placed in charge of the school teaching both boys and girls.


August 1902 - The church exterior received a thorough renovation.  The crosses were regilted and the masonry repointed.


1905 - Two new altars were erected, one dedicated of St. Anthony the other to the Sacred Heart.


March 2, 1907 - Dr. Monahan celebrated the silver jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood.


October 1908 - The granite exterior of the church was renovated.


July 1, 1909 - The Knight of Columbus purchased St. James Hall. 


September 1912 - Interior improvements to the church and rectory were completed.  Electric lighting was installed in the church and the interior was refrescoed.  Portraits of the four great doctors of the church, and of Moses and David were added to the sanctuary as well as symbols of the Apostles over the side arches.


May 1914 - A new heating system was installed in the Church.


The priests from St. James parish from the beginning have been counselors to the Catholic students of the University of Pennsylvania.  In the era of Dr. Garvey an informal gathering of students met at the home of Dr. Bryan.  In 1893, a Newman Club was established.  Priests from St. James at one time or another were the spiritual directors of the Newman Club while still carrying out their duties as assistants in the parish. 

October 1913 - Archbishop Prendergast appointed Father John W. Keogh as the first Chaplain to the students of the University of Pennsylvania. 

1918 - Archbishop Dougherty assigned the property at Thirty-eighth and Spruce Streets for use of the chaplain, and the "Newman Hall, a School of Religion, was established at the University of Pennsylvania".   The student chapel was named in honor of St. Bede.  Father Keogh remained at Newman Hall for twenty-five years, and he is regarded as the pioneer of Newman work in the United States. 

1918 - Religious sisters and priests from the community volunteered to fight the Influenza Epidemic.

 March 12, 1923Dr. Monahan celebrated the completion of forty years in the priesthood and his twenty-five years as pastor of St. James, nine years longer than his predecessor Dr. Garvey. 


1924 - The Drexel Newman Club was established on campus.


Holy Saturday 1927 - Dr. Monahan failed to appear for the "Office of the Easter Vigil".  He had died from a heart attack during the night.




Wednesday of Easter Week 1927 - "At 10:00 AM the solemn Mass "Coram Episcopo" was celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Crane.  The Church was filled to its capacity, with special assigned pews for members of religious orders of women and the Christian Brothers".


April 30, 1927 - Reverend Francis J. Ross, D.D. was named as irremovable pastor of St. James. 


Dr. Ross was ordained in Rome on November 1, 1911.


Before returning to the United States from Rome, Father Ross received his Doctorate in Theology. 


In August 1912, he was assigned as assistant pastor at St. Gregory Church.  In May 1917, he was named rector of the Immaculate Conception in Birdsboro, PA.  In March 1918, he was assigned temporarily to the Epiphany of Our Lord Parish in Philadelphia until he became a chaplain in the U.S. Army in July of 1918.  In December 1918, he was named assistant pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary.  While assistant at Our Lady of the Rosary, from 1920 to 1923 he taught Latin at West Catholic Boys' High School.  In June 1923, he became the founding pastor of the new church of  St. Francis of Assisi in Norristown where he served until he was named irremovable pastor of St. James.



Pastor 1927 - 1955


1927 - As one of his first acts as pastor, Dr. Ross made a survey of the needs of the parish and drew up a plan of reconstruction.  Although the parish buildings were complete they were very old.  The rectory had been built nearly sixty-five years before; the school, about sixty years; and the "new" church, forty.  The school was hopelessly outmoded.  Dr. Ross was determined that the school children should have the finest environment for study and recreation. 


Architectural plans for a new school were drawn up and approved by the Cardinal.


February 22, 1928 - Washington's Birthday - demolition of the "old red schoolhouse" was begun.    


While the new school was under construction the parish students attended  the newly constructed West Catholic Girls' High School, where eight classrooms were set aside for use by the parish.


September 30, 1928 - Cardinal Dougherty blessed the school cornerstone.


November 1928 - The new school was officially opened and it was then considered one of the finest buildings in the city having been constructed of Mt. Airy granite with limestone trimming.  Its gothic design brought it into conformity with the architecture of the church.  


Besides the eight classrooms, four on each floor, a feature of the building was a 400 seat assembly hall.



St. James New School - 1928


1929-1930 -The pastor next turned his attention to the rectory.  Only six feet separated the rectory from the church, so that its western side was in perpetually shadow.  New windows were cut out, and a portion of sunlight was allowed into the interior.  The interior was renovated and newly appointed and a porch was added to the building.  A grilled fence at the front of the rectory and school yard added to the general appearance of the parish buildings. 


Having completed the renovations to the rectory, Dr. Ross next undertook the renovation of the church.  The conical tower on the eastern end of the church was in a dangerous state of disrepair.  Dr. Ross had it removed and two new matching towers were constructed and a 1600 pound bell was installed in the belfry.




1930 - St. James with matching towers


The church had no baptistry, so the eastern sacristy was converted to a baptistry and a new marble baptismal font with a bronze lid was purchased and installed in the apse.


The interior walls were marbleized, terrazzo floors installed, wrought-iron electric fixtures were hung, and a new sanctuary lamp installed.  A great 183 pipe Kilgren Organ costing $25,000 replaced the original.




Sunday, December 27, 1930 - The ceremonies of re-opening the church took place with Cardinal Dougherty in attendance.


When Dr. Ross began the reconstruction he was able to drawn on the appreciable treasury that his predecessor, Father Monahan, had left.  By the time he had renovated the rectory, razed the school, paved the playground, and erected the new school, this surplus had been exhausted, and there was a debt on the parish of $65,000. 


November 1, 1936 - Dr. Ross celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. with a solemn Mass on All Saints Day.  Cardinal Dougherty was present and offered public congratulations to the jubilarian.  The parishioners presented a purse of $2,500 to the pastor.


World War II - During the war years the U. S. Armory at 33rd Street and Lancaster Avenue was a recruiting station.  The First City Troop was billeted for several months at 34th and Spruce Streets, and Dr. Ross volunteered as a civilian chaplain to the troop.  The priests of the parish were enlisted as air raid wardens during drills. 


First-aid classes were held in the school, the school hall was used as a distribution point for ration cards, and the school basement was designated as an air raid shelter.  After the war the parish returned to normal life.


September 1945 - 344 members of the parish served in WWII; 15 died in combat.




April 23, 1947Dr. Ross was raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor.  On the same day Father McGettigan pastor of Transfiguration, and Father Daly pastor of Most Blessed Sacrament, were raised to the rank of Monsignor, along with ten other priests of the archdiocese.


Msgr. Ross had a long list of distinctions throughout the years.  Earlier Cardinal Dougherty had appointed him as a Diocesan Consultor, a Synodal Examiner, Deputy for the Seminary, a member of the Consilium a Vigilantia, and a member of the Board of the Catholic Standard and Times. 



1947 - St. James - First Communicants with Msgr. Ross (find a classmate opportunity)


1949 - By this time the entire debt from 1930 of $65,000 had been liquidated without pressing the congregation for money.  Msgr. Ross did not want to incur new debt to prepare for the Centennial Celebration which would take place in 1950.  Therefore a second temporary collection, known as the Renovation Fund, was instituted and these funds were used exclusively for renovations to the church.  The firm of Adolph Frei & Sons  was awarded a contract for refrescoing the church.


The upper church was redecorated and the lower church was totally renovated with new pews, windows, altars, floors and sacristy.


In 1950 there were 390 pupils enrolled in St. James School. 




The Nine Holy Child Nuns who staffed the school in 1950 are pictured above -  Left to right:  Sister M. Edwina; Mother Mary Justin; Sister M. Agatha; Sister M. Donald; Mother M. Sophia, principal; Sister Maria Immaculata; Mother M. Mercedes; and Sister Catherine Laboure.


Assistant Pastors and Residents in 1950


   image047            image048            image049    

                               Rev. Edward J. O'Loughlin                 Rev. James J. O'Rourke                       Rev. John B. Fee



                                                     image050                              image051

                                                        Rev. Henry E. Dougherty                                       Rev. John W. Simons

                                                                                        In-Residence - Prof. St. Thomas More


Sunday, October 29, 1950 at Eleven O'clock - On the occasion of the Centenary of the founding of St. James the Greater Parish, a Solemn Pontifical Mass was offered by the Most Reverend Hugh L. Lamb, D.D., V.G., Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia.  





August 6, 1955 - Msgr. Francis J. Ross D.D. passed away at age 70 after a long illness


image053     image054      


Msgr. Ross had been a priest for almost 44 years and pastor of St. James for 28 years. He was buried on the front lawn of the rectory at 3728 Chestnut Street.


The Reverend Vincent C. Moran was named pastor of St. James. 


Father Moran was ordained on June 23, 1918.





Rev. Vincent C. Moran (1966)

Pastor 1955 - 1968

  November 29, 1964 - For the first time the congregation responded in English at Mass.

June 14, 1967 - St. James School was closed having only a projected enrollment of 55 students.  St. Francis de Sales became the grade school for the parish.  The school building was rented by the Philadelphia School Board as an auxiliary to Sayre Jr. High until June of 1977.

1968 - Father Moran was named Pastor Emeritus and was succeeded by the Reverend John J. Lynch. 


Father Lynch was ordained on May 18, 1940.




Rev. John J. Lynch (1943)

Pastor 1968 - 1976


1968 - The first Holy Child Shrine was installed in the back of the Church. 


1970 - The cornerstone was laid for the Penn Newman Center at 3720 Chestnut Street. 


1971 - The cornerstone was laid for the Drexel Newman Center at 33rd and Chestnut Street.


1971 - A new Holy Child statue was donated to the parish by the Sisters of the Holy Child of Jesus to replace the original which was broken.  A new sound system was added and green carpet covered the terrazzo floors, while the exterior was repointed.  The lower church was dismantled and replaced by a new parish hall; rest rooms were installed for the first time in the church.


June 1972 - The Church roof was re-slated.  Father Lynch announced that the church would be locked at all times except for Mass and Confessions.


1973 - The interior of the church was painted.


February 9, 1973 - Auxiliary Bishop John J. Graham celebrated the 125th anniversary of the parish; a reception was held at Pagano's Restaurant.


1976 - Father Lynch was named Chaplain of the Newman Center at Philadelphia Community. 


The Reverend Joseph G. Sikora was named pastor of St. James.


Father Sikora was ordained on May 26, 1949.




Rev. Joseph G. Sikora (1953)

Pastor 1976 - 1983


August 12, 1976 - St. Agatha Parish founded in 1865, was suppressed and merger with St. James under the name St. Agatha-St. James.  St. Agatha Church has been reborn into an apartment complex called the Cloisters.  It is a unique and creative way to reuse an old church structure. 


September 25, 1976 - Father Sikora welcomes the parishioners from St. Agatha; the altar from St. Agatha's lower church eventually becomes the main altar in the present church.  Also, the baptismal font from St. Agatha's was later installed in front of the St. Anthony Shrine.


November 1, 1977 - Due to a boiler fire at the St. Agatha-St. James School at 3815 Spring Garden St. the school was relocated to the former St. James School building.  Sadly the fire took the life of George Cole, the resident janitor.


September 1978 - The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart left their convent at 3837 Spring Garden St. for convenience and safety reasons and moved to St. Francis de Sales convent.


1979 - St. Agatha-St. James was one of only a handful of churches in existence at that time that had three hospitals (Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital and Penn Presbyterian) and three colleges (University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the University of the Sciences) within its boundaries.


1980-1981 - The Sisters of the Holy Child of Jesus returned to teach CCD for 2 years.


June 1983 - Father Sikora was named pastor of St. Dominic Parish.


The Reverend Daniel P. Devine replaced Father Sikora as pastor. 


Father Devine was ordained in 1965.




Rev. Daniel P. Devine

Pastor - 1983 - 1993


June 1987 - Father Devine, finalized the closing of the parish school due to financial considerations.  Enrollment was down to 166 students.  Father Devine announced that children from the parish would attend school at either St. Francis de Sales or St. Ignatius.  The building was rented to the University of Pennsylvania for postal needs.  Later, it was renovated for the use of two Archdiocesan Offices.


July 1993 - Father Devine was named pastor of Assumption B.V.M. Parish, Feasterville, PA.


The Reverend Karl A. Zeuner replaced Father Devine as pastor. 


 Father Zeuner was ordained in 1971.


February 6, 2000 - Cardinal Bevilacqua celebrated the 150th anniversary of the parish.


May 30, 2001 - Father Zeuner was named pastor of Notre Dame De Lourdes, Swarthmore, PA.


The Reverend Steven J. Marinucci replaced Father Zeuner as pastor. 


Father Marinucci was ordained in 1974.




Rev. Steven J. Marinucci

Pastor - 2001 - 2010


2001 - A new slate roof, new lower roofs, new upper roof drainage system and masonry pointing of the upper walls was completed.


Spring 2003 - Interior restoration of the church included plastering, painting and renovation of sacred art and worship space, and a new sounds system were completed.  Services were held at the Penn Newman Center during the renovations.


Fall 2003 - The gothic towers were cleaned and repainted.


October 19, 2003 - Auxiliary Bishop Robert Maginnis celebrated the reopening of the Church.


2004-2006 - The church stained glass windows were restored.


April 14, 2007 - The new Shrine of the Holy Child was blessed by Cardinal Rigali. 


September 2007 - The confessional on the rectory side of the Church was converted into the Parish Heritage Room.


2010 - The Reverend James T. McGuinn replaced Father Marinucci as pastor. 


Father McGuinn was ordained in 1988.




Rev. James T. McGuinn

Pastor 2010 - 2014


2010 - St. Agatha-St. James parish assumed responsibility for the Newman Center's at Penn, Drexel and the University of the Sciences.  Also, priests from the parish ministered to the sick at three hospitals:  Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Presbyterian Hospital.


November 14, 2013 - The Christian Life Movement (CLM) an order of the Catholic Church assumed leadership for the Penn Newman Center.  As reported in the Daily Pennsylvanian: "For the first time in its history, the ministry of the Newman Center will be under the direction of a group separate from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  According to Associate Director of the Newman Center Jeff Klein, the Newman Center has been under the direction of a priest for over 100 years". 

July 1, 2014 - Father McGuinn was transferred to the pastorship of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, West Chester. 


The Christian Life Movement under the direction of  one priest and four consecrated laymen from the order were put in charge of the parish and the Newman ministry.   CLM places a great emphasis on college students which is part of the reason they were chosen to head St. Agatha-St. James Parish, of which the Newman Center is a ministry.  They are also devoted to promoting the family and defense of life."


  The Reverend Carlos F. Keen was named Pastor of St. Agatha-St. James. 


Father Keen was ordained in 2005.



Reverend Carlos F. Keen 

Pastor 2014 - present


Weekend Masses in the Church


Sunday Masses - 9:30 AM, 5:30 PM, and 9:00 PM

There is no Vigil Mass on Saturday



Regular Weekday Mass Schedule in St. Bede Chapel


Monday to Friday at 7:30 AM and 12:05 PM


Saturday Mass: 8:30 AM


Masses on Holy Days


7:30 AM and 12:05 PM in St. Bede Chapel

No Vigil Mass on the day preceding a Holy Day.


Civic Holidays and Selected Days


Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Friday after Thanksgiving


8:30 AM St. Bede Chapel


St. Bede Chapel, Newman Center

3720 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia PA



As noted at the beginning of this report, St. James the Greater was the first parish to be established in West Philadelphia and, therefore the Mother Parish of future parishes in West and Southwest Philadelphia.  The below map shows all Philadelphia parishes, including national parishes, that were in existence in 1949.  Many of those parishes have been combined with other parishes and in some cases closed over the past 67 years.  Not shown on the map is St. Irenaeus parish which was founded in 1966 and closed in 2004.  The church is now a worship site for Divine Mercy Parish (formerly Good Shepherd).







Joe Gavaghan - Hey Frank, Now you & the rest of your hardworking staff can retire as you cannot do any better than you did with the story on Viso.  I will happily send those I know who are Visitation grads but not in our class this informative piece. Thank you again for this "gem".  Cheers, Joe


Jim Prendergast:  Frank & Frank:  Congratulations on the Winter Newsletter.  They keep getting better.  Very nice Tribute to Jim English.  Prendy


Ed Kerr '60:   RICH, Excellent work and very enjoyable.  Best regards and Merry Christmas.


Bob Giampietro '68:  Thank you very much, Rich.  I appreciate you thinking of me.  Merry Christmas to you and your family.


Daniel Remy:  Great Newsletter Frank.  As a proud member of the Class of 1958, I would like our 60th Reunion (GOD be willing) to be truly SPECIAL as our 50th was done.  I am still loyal and grateful to WC which molded us into Christian educated gentlemen.   Sincerely, Daniel Remy, Your Proud Classmate 


Bill Marella:  Great job on the winter newsletter.


Joe Semeister:  Frank, Another GREAT ISSUE by you and the Golden Burrs Newsletter staff.


Brother Kevin Stanton:  Frank, Thanks for another very informative newsletter.  Best wishes to all for a blessed Christmas.  Br. Kevin  


Joseph Murphy:  Frank:  As usual, another great Newsletter.  Hope you have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.  Joe


Bob Dowd:  Frank:  Another informative News-letter for the WC class of 1958.  There was a photo of our senior prom and a picture of me coming off of the escalator with many of our classmates and their dates.  I had never seen that photo before and after 57 years it came as a surprise..........If there is a way to send a copy of that picture to my email, I would appreciate it.  Thanks,  Bob Dowd '58


Gene Ott '59:  Joe (Gavaghan) Thank you so much for sending this history of Visitation.  The committee did a great job and I am going to forward it to as many of my friends and relatives that would be happy to see it.  Thanks again for thinking of me for the publication and give Frank all the praise that he deserves.  You certainly have my encouragement to send my compliments to Frank and his fellow researchers.  It was terrific.  Gene


Andy JaskolkaOnce again that time of year has arrived to recognize it's high time I contacted you and wished you and yours the very best at Christmas and during the New Year!  You deserve a better greeting than this, but I ask your indulgence as I try to reach all those I want to at time this aging Geezer wants to and should.  Fondly,  Andy


Frank Cubbage:  Another great Newsletter with great pictures, especially the Pope.  I enjoy reading about the parishes and their history.  Thanks.  Also, my seven year old grandson is about to receive the sacrament of Penance/Confession at Saint Joseph's in Downingtown.  They are given many rules to be followed but the most interesting is:  When the priest raises his hand over your head with a blessing, DO NOT GIVE HIM A HIGH-FIVE.  True story, so this must have happened in the past.


Tom Wallace aka "German John" - Frank, Thank God and a wonderful wife the doctors and tests show that the cancer has gone from my throat.  Still have some effects from nine chemotherapies; but we can live, literally, with that!  Thanks for your prayers and concern.  Tom


Rev. Carlos A. Benitez:  Good afternoon Frank Adolf, I hope you are well.  I wanted to thank you for the great work you did in keeping the Spirit of St. Barnabas Church alive in the hearts of so many people who have lived in South West Philly and have benefited from St. Barnabas Priests, and religious and fellow Christian Brothers and Sisters. 
I was reading your presentation of the History of St. Barnabas on your website: 'golden burrs-1958' and I was wondering if you would be able to provide a hard copy of your outline.  I've tried printing but it doesn't print well due to the 'links' you have associated with the page.
I would be very happy to meet you one day or you can let me know what would be the appropriate way to get a copy.
It would be great if you could see what renovations we did at the Rectory to incorporate a Missionary Seminary for Philadelphia.  You'll be amazed I think.
God bless you!


Fr. Carlos A. Benitez
St. Barnabas Church





submitted by:  FRANK ADOLF 





Senior Prom - May 2, 1958



1956 Chevrolet Advertisement





July, 2003 - 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI







WE REMEMBER and ask for your prayers for those who are ill, especially Dave Crines who is recovering from a stroke and Tom Wallace (German John) who is recovering from throat cancer.   


Please pray for all of our classmates who have gone to their eternal reward especially for Father Jim McGoldrick, SM.,  

originally from M.B.S. parish, who passed away on December 20, 2015, Coach Vince McAneney who passed away on January 20, 2016 and our classmate Bill Gallagher who passed away on January 24, 2016.  


Father McGoldrick would have been a member of the Class of 1958, but he joined the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) after graduating M.B.S. grade school and was ordained on February 18, 1967.  Father served in many different locations in the country including Marietta and Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; Bedford, Ohio; Wheeling, West Virginia; 

Brooklyn, New York; and most recent at St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish in Hamilton, New Jersey.  His brother, Brother John McGoldrick FSC (WC '66), is currently Assistant Provost at La Salle University. 




Rev. James F. McGoldrick, SM - December 20, 2015


Pennsylvania and South Jersey lost a legend on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 with the passing of former West Catholic, Pennsauken and Cherry Hill West coach Vince McAneney.  Vince was 86 years old and died from complications from recently-diagnosed cancer and other health issues. 


Vince was a 1947 graduate of La Salle High School, a 1953 graduate of West Chester University, a teacher for 42 years and a head football coach for 36 years.  His teams at West Catholic (1957-64), Cherry Hill West (1967-69) and Pennsauken (1970-94) won a total of 244 games.  





1957 West Catholic Varsity Football Team


Greatest coaching memories:  Leading West Catholic to the 1962 Philadelphia Catholic League title and winning the championship in front of 40,000 at Franklin Field; winning South Jersey sectional championships in 1967, 1980, 1984, and 1986; in 1984 the unbeaten team was named "Team of the Century" by the Courier-Post..


Coach McAneney is survived by his wife Holly, four sons and 14 grandchildren.




Coach Vince McAneney - January 20, 2016

On the table next to Vince is his West Catholic Alumni Association Award (blue plaque).


Charlie (Chuck) Johnson:  Frank, Just a FYI.  I attended Coach McAneney's funeral today, Larry Signora was in attendance as well, always good to see Larry.  Larry was Vince's first QB at the HS level.  Also, at the funeral Mass today was Tommy DeFelice, a great player and good guy as well, he was one of the Pall Bearers for Vince.  Not sure if some of our team  or the class of '58 may have been at the viewing last evening?  Spoke with Vince's brother, John, talked about he and his brother coaching at West in their earlier years, had a lot of nice things to say about our injury ridden team of the 1957 Season.  Also, bumped into Pat Touey, he looked good, has a little leg issue, but was genuinely glad to see us, and I was delighted to see him after these many years.  We spoke of the party he had after the Bartram game, one we won that year, at his house on Springfield Ave.  Told him I was on crutches in his basement, thought the flooring on the first floor was going to fall thru to the basement, too many folks enjoying a much deserved WIN!  Hope you are well,  Charlie (Chuck) Johnson   PS Best to James C and Georgie L as well on a copy to this note. 


I received an email from our classmate and my football teammate as well, Vince Leonetti.  He and his wife, Bitsy, were at Coach McAneney's viewing the night before his Mass. 


Vince McAneney's wife, Holly, was very pleased to see them and the other West Catholic folks who visited with her.  


Please mention how much I/we all appreciate you and your group for an outstanding job you guys do on behalf of us!  





William J. Gallagher - January 24, 2016


Bill's obituary can be found on the 1958 Golden Burrs website:   


May Father McGoldrick, Vince McAneney and Bill Gallagher rest in peace.



The high school graduation pictures of our honored deceased, and in many cases their obituaries, can be found on the Golden Burrs Website.




submitted by: RICH BUZZA


In proof reading this edition of the newsletter I realized that this is the last in the series of articles recognizing and reliving the history of the feeder parishes of old West Catholic High School for Boys, and guys, you have to admit that this was indeed one heck of a journey into all of our pasts.  After the individual articles of each parish appeared in the newsletter, a surge of complementary emails would be received, and may I add, the sincerity of each of the writers was evident and at times truly emotional. 


The concept of writing the history of each parish was undertaken by our own Frank Adolf,  with the first article appearing in the Fall of 2013 featuring Transfiguration parish.  Now this was no small task to research and write the history of each parish and have it ready for print for each quarterly newsletter, but as we all know Frank, he does not do anything in a small way.  Frank would tell me of the many hours that he would spend "in the bowls of St. Charles Borromeo library" (his words not mine) obtaining detailed research from the archives in order to makes his articles not only entertaining but historically accurate.  This is the dedication that Frank put into each and every one of these parish histories.  St. James the Greater is the last chapter in our history of our parishes and I want to recognize Frank Adolf, Frank Metzler and the many contributors for their dedication and tireless efforts in putting this project together.


A personal note to Frank Adolf, a big thank you for all that you do for the Class of 58...."Francis, (his mother and I are the only ones allowed to call him "Francis") you are indeed, among the best of the Class of 1958".





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