Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wintry mix

Snow again today in the City of Brotherly Love but it makes for a nice photo of Independence Hall, the birthplace of the United States where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and signed. Should you be interested in touring Philadelphia please check out the website of Centipede Tours -- the best in the industry.

Better late than never ;-)

Photos of the " Holy War " Pep Rally held at the St. Andrew the Apostle Parish School in Drexel Hill, PA, courtesy of '81 Hawk...

Special guest star 'Pops' Martelli!

Our Lady of Victory...

One of my favorite sites to visit is the Philadelphia Church Project, which, in their own words, "charts the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Philly's Religious Architecture" -- mainly in area Catholic churches. Having lived in suburban New Jersey and suffered with what can only be called intentionally uninspiring church architecture -- it's a joy to see how we used to do things. When our immigrant ancestors sacrificed to build these beautiful neighborhood cathedrals.

I came across this picture on their blog and of course it reminded me of the mantra of every CYO team back in the day just before you broke the huddle. I know Bob Hurley's teams at St. Anthony pray for her intercession before every game, and given our record this year it might be time for St. Joe's to bring back the practice ;-)


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Walnut St. Theatre Ticket Master...

Ahmad Nivins ha sido operado

Just finished reading The Miracle of St. Anthony by Adrian Wojnarowski for the 4th time. A great book I never tire of reading about a guy who truly has a basketball vocation and has touched so many lives, and continues to save St. Anthony High School and Catholic secondary education for youths in Jersey City -- Coach Bob Hurley. From page 361;

"They (recruiters) were all chasing the rapdily developing Ahmad Nivins. Suddenly, coaches in the Big East, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC were hot on his trail, but Ahmad was nothing if not loyal, and underdog national power St. Joseph's University stayed at the top of his list. After all, Martelli had started recruiting him before anyone else. Sean had encouraged him to take the biggest offer that came his way, but Sean and Ahmad had come to St. Atnhony with different objectives. Ahmad loved the tight-knit St. Joe's campus, the genuine coach, Martelli, and the university's well-respected business school."

So sorry to hear about his injury -- a quick and full recovery to our Ahmad Nivins.

Nivins (Manresa), operado de su lesión en la rodilla izquierda, estará unos seis meses de baja

Para cubrir su ausencia el Suzuki Manresa ha fichado al veterano Larry Lewis, de 40 años

El pívot del Suzuki Manresa Ahmad Nivins ha sido operado, en la Clínica Sant Josep de Manresa, de la lesión que sufrió en la rodilla izquierda durante el partido frente al Ayuda en Acción Fuenlabrada y estará, como mínimo, seis meses de baja.

La operación de Nivins, a cargo del doctor Ramon Serra, consistió en una plastia en los ligamientos cruzados y en el ligamiento lateral interno, además de una sutura meniscal del menisco interno y externo. El pívot estadounidense permanecerá hospitalizado todavía unos días.

Ante la imposibilidad de contar con Nivins durante, al menos, los próximos seis meses, el Suzuki Manresa ha fichado al veterano ala-pívot Larry Lewis, de 40 años, 2,01 metros de altura y procedente del Unicaja de Málaga, hasta el final de temporada.


The center of Manresa Ahmad Nivins Suzuki has been operated at the Clínica Sant Josep de Manresa, the injury he suffered in his left knee during the match against Fuenlabrada Action Aid and be at least six months out.

Nivins The operation, led by Dr. Ramon Serra, was a cross-plasty in the linkage and the internal lateral linkage, and a meniscus meniscal suture internally and externally. The U.S. center will remain hospitalized for a few days.

Given the impossibility of having Nivins for at least the next six months, the Manresa Suzuki have signed veteran power forward Larry Lewis, 40, 2.01 meters high and from the Unicaja Malaga until the end season.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Prayers for Fr. Deeney

Fr. Deeney about to say Mass on his 87th birthday for 26 of his Jesuits brothers and us!

I'd ask any and all who read my blog to say a prayer for my friend Fr. John Deeney, SJ in India.

Even the most casual reader would know of the love and respect I have for this great man and his life long work (Appeal for the St. Paul Miki School in India) of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to souls in a land so far away. I am privileged to know a great many people in this world and I have never met anyone more holier, or humble, than this Jesuit (so humble in fact that he intentionally doesn't capitalize the 'sj' after his name). He has sought God in all things in his life, and as the e-mails below will indicate he may be close to his eternal reward. I can think of no one more deserving of a place at the right hand of God.

I was introduced to Fr. Deeney through my best friend and his grand nephew Johnny Gill -- and I am in debt to the Deeney/Curtis/Caramanico clan for allowing me to become part of their great family. Years ago Johnny and Fr. Deeney came to my house for dinner and not being the greatest chef I cooked hot dogs and bake beans on the hottest day of the year (Fr. liked my 'Boston' beans, which he hadn't had in 50 years). Since my house is small, and my air conditioner even smaller... I asked Father if he was comfortable. He told me he was a little cold ;-), and shared with us that it was over 100 degrees at night in India although he had a ceiling fan that kept things cool -- when they had electricity! When I'm forced to watch those ridiculous reality shows with Mrs. 44, and the actors' unfounded complaints, my mind drifts to Fr. Deeney's 100 degree room. Last year Johnny and I got a brief taste of the conditions Father has lived through for 60 years when we visited.

At the request of the Jamshedpur Province Fr. Deeney wrote a brief autobiography as inspiration for the younger Jesuits. In it he spoke of his vocation, and how God wanted him to be a Jesuit. I asked him recently about the details of this:

About my vocation. While I was alone, quietly waiting for a trolley I suddenly had this firm conviction, almost like a message, that God wanted me to become a Jesuit. It was a very strong thing, which left no question of doubting it. After that I just knew that I was to become a Jesuit. I considered that very sacred and never spoke about it until recent years. When I was asked to write something about my vocation I wrote that with hesitation, and asked the Socius to the Provincial whether I should include that. He advised me to include it. In recent years I have come to think of it as a kind of intellectual vision (i.e. no sight nor sound). In the Spiritual Exercises #330 Ignatius writes about consolation without previous cause. This was something like that. It came to me suddenly out of the blue.

I share this with you all (and I hope that Father doesn't mind) because I feel that God still tries to speak to us everyday, in many ways... yes, even while waiting for a trolley on Girard Avenue outside St. Joseph's Prep in North Philadelphia. So many distractions these days though. We make it difficult to hear what He is telling us. I sometimes wonder why Johnny, the Klarich boys and I traversed 9,000 miles to visit him and the wonderful Jesuits in India. Miraculously we may have been quiet enough to hear His call that one particular day.

So I'd ask that you take a moment and say a prayer for this humble Jesuit and this loyal servant of Christ -- so that he doesn't suffer. He is at the finish line of his life, and I'm quite sure that God has a nice place waiting for him. I hope it is nicer than his room in Lupungutu -- although I know Father won't mind a bit.

I shared Fr. Deeney's vocation story with my Ignatian Prayer Group led weekly by Fr. James Moore, SJ. At the end of our meeting Fr. Moore gave us some advice, which I will now pass on to you:

Go find your trolley, and may it bring you consolation without previous cause.




To all of you,

Since the Provincial sent out that letter which I forwarded to the whole Province, I think it best to give you the full picture. The doctor told the Provincial that I could expect 2-3 good enough months and then probably slide into a more difficult stage. I think that you know that I am ready for whatever. God has been so good to me and He has put me into such a wonderful loving family that I have really been blessed. I know that He has a nice place ready for me when the pains of this life end. I include Tom here because he has linked in so well with my work.

Much much love to all,

John, sj


Today (24 December 2009) at noon I made a visit to Mercy hospital with Fr. Jerry Cutinha. Fr. John Deeney, who was admitted on 16 December 2009, looked far better – swelling in the legs disappeared, skin colour returning to normal, more strength in body and more smiles on the face. He greeted us with folded hands and a friendly smile. He still feels quite weak and finds it difficult to swallow solid food. He mentioned that he had half an egg for breakfast after so many days. The fluid formation in the stomach has been flushed out with a syringe. His stomach still looks full with fluid. More flushing is to be done late in the day.

Then we met Dr. Tamal Deb, the Resident Doctor who is treating Fr. John. He told us that John was suffering from two major health problems, one, with anemia with very low blood count (for which blood transfusion was done), second, a cancerous development in his gal bladder that causes the fluid accumulation in his stomach (which is being flushed out). The Doctor assured us that they are giving all care and medication to reduce pain and uneasiness in John. However, he did not rule out sudden change of situation. He told us he would keep John for a few more days and then discharge him to be taken care of at Jesuit Infirmary in XLRI.

Fr. John needs our prayerful support and round the clock assistance.

Mike T Raj, SJ

Jamshedpur Jesuit Province
Loyola Niwas,
15 Straight Mile Road,
Sakchi, Jamshedpur 831001, INDIA

Take My Son...

I wish you a Happy Christmas. Here is a story for you "Take my Son, the one who takes the son, gets everything".

Jerry Cutinha SJ


A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their works of art. When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son. About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.

He said, “Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety hen a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love or art.” The young man held out this package. “I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.” The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting.

The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. “Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift.” The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected. The man died a few months later.

There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel.. “We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?” There was silence.

Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, “We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.” But the auctioneer persisted. “Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100? $200?’ Another voice shouted angrily. “We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!” But still the auctioneer continued. “The son! The son! Who'll take the son?’ Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. “I'll give $10 for the painting.” Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. “We have $10, who will bid $20?” announced the auctioneer. “Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters.” “$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?” The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. “Going once, twice, Sold for $10.00. A man sitting on the second row shouted, “Now let's get on with the collection!”

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. “I'm sorry, the auction is over.” “What about the paintings?” “I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!” God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: “The son, the son, who'll take the son?” Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.

For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I have to keep them somewhere...

Uhhh... they're my Christmas ornaments ;-)

The queen on her throne.

She was blessed: She had faith and she had family...


I think this article may be of interest to you (and uplifting as well). It was for me.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Making Room on Campus by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Mary Dodd is alive today because her mother said “yes” when Mary entered her life. Now Mary’s mom is part of an effort to make sure that there is always room at an inn for mothers who want to say “yes” to unplanned babies, but need the support to carry through with the choice.

Lacy Dodd was a senior at the University of Notre Dame when she realized she was pregnant. Her boyfriend wanted no part of the child they had made together, but abortion was not an option as far as Lacy was concerned.

She was blessed: She had faith and she had family. Last spring, she wrote movingly about the day her daughter was born: “On All Saints Day 1999, I gave birth to baby Mary. Her name is no accident. This Mary was living inside me while I walked the campus of a university dedicated to a woman who is mother of us all, and it was Mary Our Mother who gave me courage when I was afraid of what would lie ahead. Mary teaches us always to be open to seeking the will of God in our lives, no matter what it is, and never to be afraid of God’s will. God’s will may contain suffering, but God’s will also brings peace and joy. When we place ourselves at God’s disposal, he will do great things for us.”

On that day, she says, Lacy’s father “took one look at Mary in my arms and said to me, ‘This is your gift for making the right decision.’”

Needless to say, not every college student who finds herself pregnant gets that kind of support.

Last spring, moved to tell her story by the controversy involving Notre Dame’s bestowing an honorary degree on President Obama, an advocate of legal abortion (and then some), Lacy Dodd wrote of the consolation she found in her faith as a scared college student: “No amount of shame or embarrassment would ever lead me to get rid of my baby. Of all women, Our Lady could surely feel pity for an unplanned pregnancy. I recalled her surrendered love to God’s invitation to become the home of the Incarnate Word. ‘Let it be done to me according to thy word,’ she had said. In my hour of need, on my knees, I asked Mary for courage and strength. And she did not disappoint.”

And that strength guides her as a mother, an activist, and a role model. Today Lacy lives in Charlotte, N.C., and is involved with Room at the Inn, a Catholic organization there that provides support to pregnant women and young mothers. They’re currently raising money to build an inn at Belmont Abbey, a Catholic college.

The Benedictine monks there have already donated the land for the inn, believing that “we should put into action our faith commitment in the sanctity of human life,” Abbot Placid Solari explains. The plan is for a facility that will house 15 moms and their children, infants and toddlers, adjacent to campus.

“College women now account for a little more than half the abortions that occur nationwide,” Jeannie Wray, executive director of Room at the Inn, explains. “They are the most abortion-vulnerable population that we have.” And while “there are many maternity homes that focus on other populations of women,” she worries that there is a real lack of support for college women, specifically. “We receive several calls each month from college students who need help, need a place to go, who are fearful that they will have to forfeit their education if they don’t have an abortion. The need is very real and it is here now. The need is as real here in North Carolina as anywhere else in the country. Our current residential facility is full, and all our residents have had their babies and are going to continue their post–high school education.”...

To read the full article please click the title. For more click Notre Dame, My Mother First Things.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Judeo-Christian Ethics 101

The Catholic Nun and the Jewish Lawyer: Perfect Together!

Sister Mary Lydon and her biggest fan, Adam Getson, in the food pantry and clothing room that Sister runs out of a basement room at St. Cyprian Adam Getson is a Jewish guy with a Christmas dream, and I think it would be a mitzvah if this blog's readers helped make it come true.

The 31-year-old trial attorney at Wapner Neuman has recently gotten to know - and been blown away by - Sister Mary Lydon, IHM, the director of parish services at St. Cyprian Roman Catholic Church at 525 S. Cobbs Creek Parkway.

Sister Mary, who's worked at St. Cyprian's for a decade, founded a free food pantry and used-clothing room out of the church's basement. Open two days a week and manned each month by 18 volunteers, it's not just a mission of love for Sister Mary but an absolute necessity for the working poor whose paychecks cover shelter and utilies but not much else.

Through a former client of his, Adam learned about Sister Mary's mission and felt compelled to meet the pint-sized dynamo (who won't tell me her age, except to say it's "old"). He's now her biggest fan.

"She's one of those energetic selfless people who you just want to help the minute you get to know her," says Adam. "What she does is so important, and she does it with grace and love."

Feh, says Sister Mary. "I don't do anything. I'm just a conduit," she says modestly, scratching her head that a young go-getter like Adam would be impressed with the likes of her. "Good people donate to the parish, and we turn around and give it away to other good people."

Yeah, y'know, no big deal - except to the people whose lives it saves.

That's why Adam has made it his own mission to raise money to help Sister Mary's labor of love, which is not financed by St. Cyprian's general fund. He's been spreading the word about the pantry and clothing room, colleting financial donations, and plans to present her with a check when he has raised $5,000, or on Christmas Day, whichever date comes sooner.

Right now, he's at about $2,000. Even if he can't scare up another nickel, that's still a healthy donation to Sister Mary's cause, which has never received more than $500 in individual support.

But wouldn't it be great if Adam hit that $5,000, thanks to readers of this blog?

Adam has created a Facebook page to spread the word about Sister Mary, which she appreciates, but she's asked me to correct a point the page makes - that she sometimes finances her project out of her pocket.

"No. Never. I'm a nun," she chuckles. "I have no money."

Anyway, for those who can't get onot facebook, here's Adam's pitch:

"After having a wonderful Thanksgiving, I realized how much I have to be thankful for and want to give Sister Mary a donation. She has never received a donation larger then $500.00. My goal is to raise $5,000.00.

"I have never tackled a project like this in my life, but I am excited to be involved. I plan on keeping those who are interested informed via this facebook fan page.

"Sister Mary has ensured me that upon request, she will give proper documentation for those who donate and would like to receive a tax credit to use when calculating their income tax at the end of the year.

"Should you feel as compelled as myself to donate, please send a check made payable to Sister Mary and mail to my work address:

Adam S. Getson, Esquire
Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer Brecher & Miller
115 S. 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

"I plan on presenting Sister Mary with the checks received by me when I reach $5,000.00 or December 25, 2009, whichever date is sooner.

"I hope that this finds everyone well and in good health. Should you want to discuss this in greater detail, please do not hesitate to call me on my cell phone at 267.240.2171.

"Lastly, please share this fan page with anyone that may be interested."

He and Sister Mary make a funny pair, says Adam, who's so impressed by Sister's energy and selflessness, he's planning to team up with her for future projects.

"I'm a young Jewish guy and she's an older Catholic nun. Everything says we should have nothing in common. But working with her just feels like something that's meant to be."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Triple G: 6th Man's third...

Welcome to the world Grace Genevieve Gill, 7 pounds - 12 ounces. Healthy and beautiful!

Barroom Brawl: Top 5 Philly Teams of the Decade

Barroom Brawl: Top 5 Philly Teams of the Decade

By Rob Kuestner
Comcast SportsNet

Once again we are counting down a decade of sports in Philadelphia. This time, we remember the best teams of the past 10 years. We’ll get our Rick Dees on and count them down from five to one (for you kids out there who don’t know Rick Dees, here’s a link).

5. 2003-04 St. Joe’s Hawks

Finished 30-2, lost in Elite 8 of NCAA Tournament

I understand Nova Nation disagrees vehemently. It argues that its team actually reached a Final Four (2008-09) and an Elite 8 (2005-06) in the decade. That’s a completely valid argument.

My response is simple: neither of these Villanova teams had a perfect regular season. Neither earned a No.1 ranking. Neither team boasted the national player of the year. Neither team was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Neither team captivated the city. St. Joe’s did all of these things.

Jameer Nelson swept all National Player of the Year awards. Phil Martelli did the same among coaches. The Hawks finished a perfect regular season with one stinker in the A-10 tournament, but still earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Hawks had the best college player in the last 10 years (Nelson). They boasted two NBA players in their backcourt (Nelson/Delonte West). They were one defensive stop away from the Final Four (ugh … John Lucas III). They were a team that rallied the city, led by the irrepressible Martelli and the unstoppable Nelson.

The only other team in the conversation is the ’05-06 Wildcats. They were very good. But I firmly believe if those teams played 10 times in a neutral site (I recommend the Palestra), the Hawks win more times than they lose.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow... but not 24 inches

Lots of snow at the PATCO station / The old Strawbridge & Clothier Store

Chestnut Street looking from 8th Street

From the Ben Franklin Bridge -- yup... the show(s) must go on at the Walnut ;-(

TDow and Snickers -- Pre-game in Hersey for state champions LaSalle College High School.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Got Iggy?

Welcome to Iggy

"To respond today to the pressing needs of our complex fragile world, many hands are surely needed. Collaboration in mission is the way we respond to this situation: it expresses our true identity as members of the Church, the complementarity of our diverse calls to holiness, our mutual responsibility for the mission of Christ, our desire to join people of good will in the service of the human family, and the coming of the Kingdom of God."
-G.C. 35, Decree VI: Collaboration at the Heart of Mission

What is "Iggy?"
“Iggy" is short for the Ignatian Social Ministry Database. It provides a comprehensive listing of Jesuit and Ignatian-inspired social ministries in the United States, including direct service ministries; university social research institutes; social outreach programs at Jesuit parishes, schools and provinces; and much more.

How will Iggy be helpful to people in Jesuit ministry?
Iggy allows those working in Jesuit ministries to quickly and easily reach out to potential collaborators within the Ignatian family by centralizing all contacts and providing background information in one location. Users can search for people working on social justice issues, search ministries by categories or search institutions geographically. It also permits the user to refine searches by multiple terms, allowing for the targeting of specific niche ministries. Additionally, Iggy provides an interactive map of the United States which displays the ministries geographically and by category. Clicking on any of the ministry icons on the map brings up details of the ministry. The map link is located in the top right corner of each page in Iggy (under the search box).

How do I navigate the site and get help if I need it?
There are three sources of assistance on Iggy. To get started using Iggy and for basic how-to questions, consult the "Quick Reference Guide;" for more detailed assistance consult the "User Manual;" and for specific questions consult the“FAQ" section (all are accessible under the map icon on each page).

Who will have access to Iggy?
Iggy is available online for a general audience. Iggy was developed using publicly available information posted on existing websites. Iggy will be maintained by the Jesuit Conference (who sponsors the database) and Jesuit Commission for Social and International Ministries.

How do I update information on myself or my ministry?
To update information on yourself or the ministry or institution you work for, email with your update. The information available in Iggy will become more comprehensive and detailed over time as more people in Jesuit ministries use it and send updates.

Many thanks to Dr. Chris Huntley of Fairfield University for developing and launching Iggy.

Fr. Currie honored

The Ignatian Solidarity Network presented Charles Currie, SJ, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, with the very first Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice award. Fr. Currie, past president of Wheeling Jesuit University and Xavier University, cofounded the ISN. The late Mr. Holstein was one of the founders of the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice.

Eugene A. Welch, SJ; Ministered in India since the 1950's

Eugene A. Welch, SJ, a Pittsburgh native and former member of the Maryland Province Jesuits, died Oct. 22. A Mass of Christian Burial was offered in Jamshedpur, India, where Fr. Welch has lived for a half century, Oct. 23. He was 81, and a Jesuit for 62 years.

Fr. Welch was a novice at St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pa., when he heard that the Father General was asking for volunteers to go to foreign missions. “I think all of the novices volunteered,” he recalled in an interview conducted during a recent visit to Baltimore. “You don’t know what things will be like when you get there,” he said.

He arrived for his first assignment in India in 1951—and except for three years in the 1960s—he ministered there his whole life. Fr. Welch went first as a student to learn Hindi and study philosophy at DeNobilii College in Poona. His studies continued at various colleges in India, including a course in Agronomy at Bishop’s House, Allahabad. He was ordained to the priesthood in Jamshedpur March 24, 1960. He returned to the Maryland Province in 1962 to serve as assistant director of the Jesuit Seminary Guild, a position he held for two years. He remained in Baltimore for one more year to serve as minister for Loyola Blakefield High School. “I was very anxious to go back,” he recalled of the time. And so he did in 1965. He went to St. Xavier High School in Chaibasa where he served as a counselor, treasurer, and teacher of religion, English and agriculture. In 1972, he went to serve as parochial vicar in a Catholic church in Chakradharpur, and ministered there for five years. He serves as a teacher and treasurer at DeNobili School in Dhanbad from 1977 to 1986 before moving to Jamshedpur where he served as a treasurer from 1986 to 1999 at Loyola School. In 1999, he moved to his final assignment at Xavier Labor Relations Institute in Jamshedpur, where he was house treasurer and guestmaster.

Serving in India for so long, Fr. Welch said he enjoyed the opportunity to get to know so many of the Indian people. “You get close to people you are working for,” he said. “I have known them a long time.”

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let's go Hurricanes and Explorers!

Congratulations and good luck to Manatee High School and La Salle College High School as they both play, respectively, for the Florida and Pennsylvania state football championships this weekend.

First off good luck to my cousin Joey Roche, longtime teacher at THE Manatee High school, self proclaimed Provost of Saint Joseph's University-South, and a generous supporter of St. Joseph's Preparatory School and my old basketball team. Manatee knocked off perennial national powerhouse St. Augustine last weekend and will play Plant tonight for all the marbles. Working the end zone again?

Secondly good luck as well to my buddy Kevin Dougherty, the patron saint of North Philly, the Dean of Discipline at the Young Scholars Charter School, and the defensive backs coach of LaSalle. They will take on State College High School in Hershey tomorrow night.

Drive safely couz...

Wake-Up Call: Plant-Manatee matchup not surprising

The Wake-Up Call greets you each weekday with news, views and a few Tampa Bay area sports offerings to anticipate for the day and night. We encourage suggestions and contributions.

Good morning!

After last week's seismic shift in prep football, the Plant Panthers (12-1) and Manatee Hurricanes (13-1) emerged to earn spots in Friday night's Class 5A football state-championship game in Orlando.

Now that the stunning news has settled, should we really be that surprised?

The Panthers went into Lakeland's Bryant Stadium, a place where opponents rarely win, and throttled the Dreadnaughts 20-0.

The Hurricanes were just as thorough, defeating two-time defending state champion Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, the nation's No. 1-ranked team by USA Today, 28-20 in the other 5A state semifinal.

Nearly everyone was expecting Lakeland vs. St. Thomas Aquinas. Well, why not? In four of the past five seasons, that was the 5A final.

Now it's Plant vs. Manatee, the unexpected matchup.

But make no mistake.

Both teams deserve to be here.

Last week's results were not a fluke.

"With all due respect to St. Thomas Aquinas – they've been a great team for a number of years and they still are a great team – they got knocked off by a better team in Manatee,'' Plant coach Robert Weiner said. "I knew how good Manatee was (it defeated Plant 49-33 in a preseason exhibition game on Aug. 28), but everyone was talking about St. Thomas Aquinas in mythic proportions, like they would just roll to the state finals.

"We've got it on film now and it's not one of those things where you say Aquinas would've won the game nine out of 10 times and this is just that one time when Manatee won. No, Manatee outplayed them. They were the better team on that night. All teams at this level of the playoffs have heart and great character, but Manatee is so fast and physical and flies around the football. This was a well-deserved victory by Manatee.''

Now the Hurricanes might be facing an interesting psychological hurdle...

La Salle defensive stars eager to make memories in state final Philadelphia Daily News

NOW IN their fourth year at La Salle High, Ryan Saraceni and Vinny Migliarese boast a treasure trove of football memories.

Not all involve playing.

La Salle 35, Ridley 7 Lancaster Catholic 23, W. Catholic 21 LaSalle Wins State Quarterfinals
We take you back to Nov. 24, 2006. The night after Thanksgiving. Before a monstrous crowd, the Explorers were playing St. Joseph's Prep, at Northeast's Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium, for the Catholic Red championship.

Ryan and Vinny were in the stands. Their brothers, Rob and Joe, respectively, were on the field, playing key roles in what became a 14-7 upset win for their school.

If you were there, you could have easily picked out the younger brothers.

"It was a pretty cold night," Ryan remembered. "But all I had on was shorts and a T-shirt. And by the time we all ran on the field to celebrate...well, I was down to my britches."

As for Vinny. Down at field level, as the students yelled and screamed and congratulated every player in sight, he wasn't to Ryan's right. Wasn't to his left, either. In fact, he was exactly where he'd been all evening.

"When everyone ran down, I was the only kid left in the student section," he said. "Literally, the only one. I was on crutches. I remember thinking right then, 'This has to happen again, so I can enjoy it.'"

It did, and then some.

La Salle last year captured the CL AAAA championship. This season has again yielded that prize, along with the City Title and a deep run in the state playoffs.

How deep? Tomorrow night at 7 o'clock at Hersheypark Stadium, the Explorers will meet State College to determine Pennsylvania's very best large-enrollment squad.

The 5-10, 205-pound Saraceni will start at inside linebacker. The 5-11, 165-pound Migliarese will line up at cornerback. Together they've made a series of big plays throughout the postseason.

Among their current goals: to achieve lifetime family bragging rights.

"I've already been giving my brother a hard time, because he didn't win a City Title," Migliarese said, smiling. "If I'm able to have a state title over him, too, that would be awesome."

Said Saraceni: "There's always friendly competition between brothers. The longer this has gone on, more of that has melted away. He's so excited about this. Wants it for me so much."

So, Older Bro is talking about it?

"Talking about it? Probably more than I am," Saraceni cracked. "He photocopies the game plan each week, because he wants to know everything that's going on."

In that 2006 memory-maker, Rob Saraceni, now playing lacrosse at St. Joseph's University, served the Explorers at cornerback. Not only did he recover a fumble, he forced another within inches of the goal line, and Greg Frantz returned it 96 yards for a touchdown...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

At The Palestra, Time Stands Still

Basketball Times Online: At The Palestra, Time Stands Still

Many aspects on the college game are beyond tainted, luckily, there's a time capsule in Philadelphia that can bring fans back to simpler times. In Philly, an old-fashioned Big 5 game at the Palestra is all you need.

Basketball Times

Once it was over on Wednesday night, a collective exhale extinguished the passion. It was a long, deep breath into the steamy air of an 83-year-old cathedral.

On the Villanova side, a nightlong crusade from a plucky underdog left the Wildcats battered, but not beaten.

On the Saint Joseph’s side, an emotion-charged effort saw the Hawks play over their head against a team they had no right doing so against.

Throughout the old gym, a sold-out crowd of 8,722 diehards exhausted itself for well over two hours. These fans – Saint Joseph’s and Villanova fans – come to this annual game choked with animosity. As they cheer, it’s not sweat that drips from their brow – it’s venom. Hatred is a strong word, but this comes close. Red-faced and charged with fervor, they watched as the Hawks, a book of matches, nearly took down the Wildcats, a flamethrower.


After third-ranked ’Nova completed its catch-your-breath 97-89 victory over St. Joe’s in the Holy War, there was nothing left to be said.

It was the Big 5.

It was the Palestra.

College basketball’s time warp.

“Man, those ghosts just refused to go away tonight,” said Jack Scheuer before the postgame news conference. A revered writer from the Associated Press, Scheuer has covered basketball in Philadelphia since 1958, three years after the inception of the Big 5. He has seen La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova trade haymakers since the Eisenhower Administration.

Back when Scheuer first covered the Big 5, it’s unlikely that blaming “The Ghosts of the Palestra” was a plausible explanation for what happened on Wednesday. The building was only 30 years old in ’58. The ghosts were just being born.

In the glory days of the 1960s, all of Philly’s City Series games were played at the Palestra. Those who attended those wars seem to drift off when retelling the stories. Sold-out crowds were split down the middle – half screaming for one team, the other half screaming for the other. Streamers filled the air after each team’s opening basket. “Rollouts,” banners unfurled by the students, could stir as much controversy as a bad call by an official. When any Big 5 outlier had the misfortune of playing a city team at the Palestra, well, they had little chance.

To read the entire article by Hawk alumnus Brendan Quinn please click on the title. Photo Credits: University of Pennsylvania Athletics and Greg Carroccio of Sideline Photos, LLC.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vote for the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur

Well, your votes counted and the Academy of Notre Dame Women’s Chorale won the semifinals. They are asking for help one more time.

The Academy of Notre Dame : Women's Chorale is grateful to the Prep community for its support as they won their semifinal competition with Council Rock with 65% of the vote. Your votes helped them to move on to the finals and today the girls hope that you will place another vote for them in this final round that decides the winner of the competition! The voting is underway now and open until midnight. Academy of Notre Dame is competing against the Cherokee High School Girls Choir for the chance to win a new piano for the school.

To place your vote, go to and click on the banner for “Christmas Idol. The poll will be in the upper right hand of the page that opens. Just click on the circle next to Academy of Notre Dame Woman's Chorale and then click on the "place vote" button. You can place your vote up till midnight tonight.

The girls of the Academy of Notre Dame thank you for your support.

View more news videos at:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekend hoops...

I was spared from watching my St. Joseph's University Hawks lose again this weekend, this time to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, but the rest of my teams won. A weekend of good basketball...

On Saturday I was able to watch my former team, the Young Scholars Charter School Hawks, win an exciting overtime game against People for People Charter School.

Then on Sunday to watch my buddy Kevin and his squad from St. Rose of Lima clinch the championship against Christ the King.

And finally today watching Speedy Morris' Hawks from St. Joseph's Prep defeat PET in an exciting game as Joe Nardi turned it on in the end.

Merry Christmas from St. Ignatius at the Prep ;-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

HOLY WAR (yes I'm calling it that) Recap

This game is being played at the more "neutral" Palestra rather than the Hagen Arena. Villanova, which sank 16 threes against Maryland on Sunday, has already handled two other members of the Big Five - Drexel and LaSalle - rather easily, and we can see them running St. Joseph's off the court if Martelli doesn't slow this thing down successfully. Let's lay the points with Villanova.


#3 Villanova (-13.5) over St. Joes: Villanova should cruise past St. Joes in this lopsided Big 5 matchup. Phil Martelli's bunch has lost four straight and their isn't much light at the end of the tunnel. Watch for Villanova's backcourt, mainly Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher, to dominate from beyond the arc.


"I look and I probe and I try to pull a thread," Martelli said. "I'm just not certain other than to be brutally honest with my players and say, 'None of you would get in the game for Villanova.' Yet, all of their guys would get in the game and get a lot of minutes for me. There is a big gap here."

The truth is the truth. And that is the truth.

Phil Martelli

The hair on the back of my head still stands up when I walk into the Palestra, see the sea of crimson in the student section, and start to hear "Gimme an H". An almost weepy moment for this usually stoic Irish-Pole. Kind of cool that after all these years I still get that feeling.

When we made our run in the closing moments of the second half the crowd, the entire crowd, starting chanting "Let's go St. Joe's" in unison, and it the was the loudest I've heard the place since the Holy war two years ago when Calathes and Nivins beat them by 20, or maybe in the early 90's when Mark Bass hit a three to tie up UMASS at the start of the second half in an Atlantic 10 tournament game. IT WAS LOUD, and my voice is hoarse today.

Sad to see award winning Daily News columnist Dick Jerardi writing features about Villanova. Has he been seduced by the dark side of the force? (just kidding Dick) Worse though is our own coach who is a bit too effusive in his praise of our cross town rival. Be friends with Jay, raise lots of money to defeat cancer, but don't give any potential recruit reason to possible choose them over us. If it did come down to our two schools all the Cats would have to do is show him one of your press clippings. You can respect their program without over-doing it. Unless Jerardi is slipping you sodium-penathol during these interviews please save that stuff for the confessional. You draw a salary to make St.Joe's look good, not the other guys. As former coach John Griffin once said "maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses." This would be the second year in a row that you've done this... and I don't know why. It serves no purpose.

Chelsea & Shannon texting scores to friends at a time out.

I always enjoy hearing from the experts, especially when they say we're going to get crushed. Of course if they read Phil's quotes in the paper who could blame them. But we know better. Those of us who have bled crimson and gray for a long time know that anything goes in a Big 5 matchup, and that increases exponentially when played at the Palestra. The most defiant cheer in all of basketball is "THE HAWK WILL NEVER DIE", and the boys lived up to that last night. Some might say they were overmatched but they did not give up. In one sequence there were bodies all over the floor -- and Hawks, traditionally, for 100 years, have always hustled more than the other team. There is not much you can do about the other team's free throw percentage but you can work on switching men on a screen... which proved to be our demise. Game balls to Idris, Tay, GW, Gov, and Justin. If they play with that level of intensity here on out we have a shot at dancing. I only see us getting better and Baptiste hasn't played yet. (ahh.. the trip back from Rider erased from your memory banks 44?)

Unfortunately I can't share any of those great pics I used to as my alma mater will no longer allow me to post any pictures from my buddy Greg Carroccio at Sideline Photos. I suppose they feel that they already have too much publicity? But that doesn't mean you can't check out his site for hundreds of pictures from the Holy War, and every St. Joe's game. Greg will enlarge them to any size and they make great Christmas gifts for the Hawks in your life. Go get 'em ;-)

I made it to the New Deck and Slainte (30th and Market) last night, and got to see many great Hawks. One in particular I keep bumping into is former Hawk great Pat McFarland, now back home from Cleveland. Older Hawks would know that the former team captain scored more than 1,500 points in his career (remember -- only three years back then). In his senior year, 1972-73, he along with Mike Bantom lead the Hawks to a 22-6 record and both averaged 20.3 ppg! What Pat doesn't know is that he made me cry one night -- when his Hawk team lost in double OT to Nova 72-79. I had made a $1 bet with a Nova friend of my father's. When we lost, the tears came out as Dad instructed me to go get my piggy bank. (cut me a break I was only 8 years old;-) I've hated them ever since.

Pat is in the South Jersey High School Basketball Hall of Fame, the St. Joseph's University Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame... and now is a shooting instructor! When you have time check out his website PURE SHOOTING. He is helping, through clinics and one on one, many kids in the Delaware Valley become better shooters, and with his impressive resume and his pleasant demeanor I couldn't think of a guy better suited to do this, although it might be too late for 44 ;-0

44 with Pat, Tommy O'Rourke, Mike Matthews, Danny Caramanico
and John Gill pre-game.

A few other observations:

* Heard a rumor that some foolish Nova fans attempted to dine at the New Deck last night and were welcomed with the entire place singing the St. Joe's fight song, and quickly left. Silly boys... this is our bar in West Philly... please find your own, preferably out on the Main Line. Safer for you, safer for your BMW.

* I was able to meet some Hawks and have some refreshments at the New Deck Tavern and Sláinte, which underscored the need for an on campus watering hole. The vacant to be Irish pub across from the Hagan is needed as there is no pre-game meeting spot on Hawk Hill. We need to get this done.

* I was thinking of the popular ‘Theology On Tap’ as I met old friends and made new ones prior to the Holy War game on Wednesday. Even though everyone knows that is where Hawks meet prior to tipoff... there are no representatives from our alumni department. One might call that department on Hawk Hill in disarray as we lost our popular alumni director Frank DeVecchis last month, will lose our most recent head of development next month, and are oddly enough left with a non-alumnus as head of alumni -- an opportunity to press the flesh is being wasted. I figure if the USCCB is OK with the idea surely the Jesuits would be.

* Big 5 and Atlantic 10 rival LaSalle easily beat Rider, who easily beat us, but easily got beat by Nova, who we could have beat last night (44's got some beats there). So where do we stand this year?

* The name of our home court used to be called Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, and is now called Hagan Arena. Someone should let the announcers know. We also paid about 90 million for the Episcopal School -- so please call it by our new name -- the Maguire Campus. And for the record it is, officially, SAINT Joseph's University, but when abbreviating it's St. Joe's, not SAINT Joe's -- which was on the scoreboard.

* Please no more profanity in the student chants. There is no reason for it and that is not who we are. I don't care how many beverages you had pre-game -- since someone is paying all those thousands of dollars per course for you -- dare to be clever. You have it in you. Please don't become the least common denominator. Otherwise kudos to the students as they rocked the Cathedral on Wednesday.

Finally I received the following message on Facebook:


I graduated in 08 @SJU and left the country. (I was an international student). I was browsing the web looking stuff of SJU, how the university is doing and all. I had no idea that Hagan Arena was finished and got to see the pictures! (ran across your blog). I miss the place a lot, thank you!


I hope my new friend Andras was able to catch the game on ESPN2 as well. I was proud of my Hawks last night. Please take this effort on the road and beat Minnesota. You now know what you can do.




PS -- the best St. Joe's rollout of the night:


in reference to Nova graduate, former NBA ref and felon Tim Donaghy.

Villanova outlasts Saint Joseph's in Big 5 rivalry
SOMETIMES, you simply have to respect the rivalry, which in this case happens to be the fiercest the City Series has to offer.

So why should the 67th edition have been much different?

Just because unbeaten Villanova came in as the country's No. 3 team, having just taken out Maryland in the nation's capital? Or that the Wildcats (9-0) had won 20 of their previous 21 Big 5 games, a dominance that only the Penn program of the early 1970s could claim?

The 'Cats, after all, had already beaten Penn by 38 and La Salle by 18, both at home, which had some pondering if they could perhaps do better than the combined 83 points they had beaten the other four teams by in 2005-06 en route to the Final Eight.

Saint Joseph's, which had lost four straight after opening with three victories, was picked to finish closer to the bottom of the Atlantic 10 than the top. But a year ago, they went to the Pavilion and came within a missed front end of a 1-and-1 in the closing moments of pulling off the upset. Over a 'Nova team that would make it to the last weekend.

And who could forget what went down 2 years ago at the Palestra, when a 'Nova team that would make a late run to the Sweet 16 got smoked by 22.

They met up again in West Philadelphia last night. Two schools that don't really like to break bread together. This season, 'Nova has way better weapons. And many more of them.

The final was 97-89. But it was a five-point game with just under 3 minutes remaining, not too long after 'Nova had led by a dozen. St. Joe's Darrin Govens then missed a three from straightaway. Corey Fisher made two foul shots at the other end. But with 2 minutes showing, the Hawks' Carl Jones got fouled outside the arc by Scottie Reynolds and went to the line. He converted all three tries, and the ancient building was going only slightly bonkers, as it had every right to.

On the ensuing possession, Villanova's Taylor King nailed one from deep on the left wing to beat the shot clock. Just as he had done a minute earlier (and two other times in the second half). They would be two of only three baskets 'Nova got in the closing 7 minutes. But the 'Cats would make their last 29 freebies in a row after missing their second one of the second half.

The Hawk did indeed perish. It obviously didn't go quietly.

We should have figured what was coming when no team scored more than once in a row through the first 6 minutes. It was, as they say, good hoops. Villanova would go up nine, but St. Joe took a one-point lead before the 'Cats scored the final four points of the half to make it 41-38.

There was a bunch more to come. Long live the border skirmish.

Reynolds Unwrapped

Villanova's three wins since coming home from Puerto Rico were by 18, 19 and nine points over La Salle, Drexel and Maryland, respectively. The Maryland game was not that close.The Wildcats and the Hawks gave the packed house what it wanted, a night to remember.Villanova and Saint Joseph's put on a show. The teams traded the lead five times before the adrenaline finally wore off. Villanova hit six of its first nine shots from the field and Saint Joseph's was 5-for-8 before the first television timeout.

Villanova Fends Off Feisty St. Joe's
When St. Joe’s went down by as many as nine in the first half, it was looking like it could be another easy win for Villanova, the team that (until Wednesday night) had won in double-digits in all but three games in that 21-game span.

But the resilient Hawks went on a 15-5 run to take a 38-37 lead late in the first half. Their quick guards were getting into the lane with ease, and though Villanova big men like Antonio Pena and Maurice Sutton made the lane a tough place to finish in, senior guard Darrin Govens was already in double-figures when Villanova went into the half up by three.

“[The Palestra] is the best basketball building in America because the visiting team, quote-on-quote, has fans,” Martelli said. “Those other places that they want to talk about, because it’s one-sided, all the fans are for one team. But here there’s noise on every play, pro and con.”
Still, there were many more people cheering for the Hawks than the Wildcats.

“It’s kind of like a high school, little gym where everybody’s on top of you, but there’s, what 9,000 people against you. And that’s what we love as competitors,” said Villanova senior guard Scottie Reynolds.

King has played at Cameron Indoor at Duke, but he’s never seen something like the Cathedral of Basketball. “That was the first time I’ve been in a gym like that when all the fans were against us,” King said. “It was kind of crazy, but it was just another game.”

King delivers victory in Holy War for Villanova
Just like in any good rivalry, you can throw out the records and the rankings when Villanova and St. Joe’s square off against each other. Tonight’s version of the “Holy War” at the famed Palestra was no exception as the third-ranked Wildcats of Villanova were given a formidable challenge by the archrival Hawks of St. Joseph’s. Villanova emerged victorious in this high-scoring contest, 97-89.

St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli received inspired play from his upperclassmen. Junior forward Idris Hilliard led the Hawks in scoring with 22 points while also grabbing seven rebounds. Senior guards Darrin Govens and Garrett Williamson, who are no strangers to the intensity of this Big 5 rivalry, provided leadership and toughness for the Bala Ballers (And, yes, I did just make up that nickname for the Hawks of St. Joseph’s University on the fly). Govens chipped in 19 points and hit three timely 3-pointers to keep his Hawks perpetually within striking distance of the Wildcats. Williamson contributed by penetrating Nova’s trapping zone defense and scoring 13 points from the field and dishing out 7 assists. Freshman guard Carl Jones, a Northern Ohio native, provided Martelli some spark off the bench, using his speed and quickness to penetrate the Wildcats defense at various, odd angles. He finished with 16 points and three 3-point field goals made.

Dear Hawks,

Just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to bid on seven
(7) great items at the SJU Hawks On-Line Auction!

Items include an autographed framed photo of Jameer Nelson
/Delonte West, three (3) game-worn #34 Ahmad Nivins jerseys,
and a "throwback" SJU basketball shooting shirt.

Make the holidays extra special for someone on your list!

Click here to see all the items:


St. Joseph's Hawks The Hawk 2010 Tee