Coat of Arms
Popalis Family History
Friday, April 4, 1997
Pottsville Republican/Evening Herald
Cardinal's high honor is recalled
School pays tribute to Francis Brennan
By Kathryn Campomizzi
Ben Morrison/Staff Photo
The Most Rev. Thomas J. Welsh, bishop of the Diocese of Allentown, recounts the good works of Francis Cardinal Brennan during a Mass at Cardinal Brennan High School Thursday.
FOUNTAIN SPRINGS -- When the 1996-97 school year began, the Rev. Frans J. Berkhout, principal of Cardinal Brennan Junior-Senior High School, told the student body about "a boy named Frank."
Frank came from Shenandoah, entered the priesthood and eventually became the first American to receive an appointment to the Roman Curia, or church court, the highest honor in the Roman Catholic Church.
"Frank" is Francis Cardinal Brennan, for whom the school has been named since 1968.
"Some of the kids come here, and they don't know who Cardinal Brennan is," Father Berkhout said.
On Thursday, faculty, students and alumni gathered at the Cardinal Brennan field house for a special Mass to observe the 30th anniversary of the cardinal's high honor, with the Most Rev. Thomas J. Welsh, bishop of the Diocese of Allentown, as the main celebrant.
Concelebrants included Berkhout; the Rev. William T. Campion, pastor of St. Canicus and St. Fidelis parishes in Mahanoy City and dean of the Northern Schuylkill County Deanery; the Rev. Lawrence Bukaty, music teacher; the Rev. Anthony P. Mongiello, pastor of St. Joseph's, Girardville, and the school's spiritual director; the Rev. William Glosser, former teacher and now director of youth activities at St. Francis Center, Orwigsburg; and Deacon John Murphy, director of public information for the Allentown diocese.
Adam C. Sedar, a 1989 graduate, and John Walsh, a 1996 graduate, also concelebrated. Both men are seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary near Philadelphia.
Sedar will be ordained next year and Walsh is in his first year of study.
Thursday marked the 77th anniversary of Cardinal Brennan's ordination to the priesthood.
The 30th anniversary day falls on June 26, when another Mass will be held with Brennan family members and friends present at Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Philadelphia, where Cardinal Brennan is entombed in the church's crypt. He died July 2, 1968.
During the Mass, Bishop Welsh blessed several items donated to the school in remembrance of Cardinal Brennan, some of which were donated by his family.
Among the items were framed newspaper clippings telling of his ordination as a cardinal and of his death and several of the hats he wore as a cardinal, including three miters, a small red hat called a biretta and a black, Roman walking hat.
Bishop Welsh placed the walking hat on his head to show how it looks, then joked, "If you see Father Berkhout wearing them, let me know."
The priest smiled to audience chuckles, then snapped his fingers as if to say "shucks."
Father Berkhout said the items will be displayed in a cabinet in the school lobby.
"These are wonderful mementos for our school," Father Bukaty said after the Mass as students gathered with him for a closer look.
As he delivered the homily, Bishop Welsh told the student body that they had much to be proud of living in Schuylkill County: two men born here became cardinals, Dennis Cardinal Dougherty being the other one; and another is now a candidate for sainthood, Father Walter J. Ciszek.
"From the seniors to junior high, think of the example of (the) men who had the privilege of growing up in Schuylkill County," Bishop Welsh said. "When they were young, they answered the call to the priesthood.
"We hope each one of you will grow up to be an adult Catholic," he said. "God has a plan for you, and He needs your cooperation."
As rector of St. Charles Seminary, Bishop Welsh said he had the privilege of knowing Cardinal Brennan.
"Cardinal Brennan would come to the United States from Rome and stay there, so I got to know and visit him," he said.
Bishop Welsh noted another person who had contact with Cardinal Brennan: his niece, Mary Kay Breen, who attended the Mass.
A Shenandoah native and Shenandoah Catholic High School graduate now living in Media, Breen appeared pleased with the Mass and presentation.
"I thought is was beautiful," she said at the reception following the Mass. "It was really an honor to be here."
Before Mass concluded, Vice Principal Daniel Demsczko presented the senior high Student of the Month award for March to senior Nicole Walsh, John's sister
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