This is the 22nd edition of the Golden Burrs Quarterly Newsletter sponsored by the Events Committee Members.  All the committee members wish you and yours a very.... 


Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. 




Nativity Scene - St. Joseph Church, Jim Thorpe, PA


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

In this issue, under the "West Catholic Prep Banner" are the Calendar of Events; the 2013-2014 Annual Report;  a report on the opening of the new Drexel U. Athletics Field; "Burrs at the Beach" donation to West Prep; and Jim Lynch's reports on the West Catholic Prep Varsity Football games.


In the "News Features" you will find an announcement about the closings of two Worship Site; a report of the sale of three properties by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia; a planned donation to the Brothers' Retirement Fund; the date for the next class of 1958 luncheon; a report on the World Meeting of Families coupled with a proposed 2nd luncheon to coincide with the meeting; and the next in the series of articles about our childhood parishes, featuring The Good Shepherd Parish



Rich Buzza concludes the Winter Edition with another of his reflections entitled "Final Thought".


The Spring 2015 edition will feature Our Lady of Victory Parish.






Sports Hall of Fame Induction and Dinner -TBA 


Alumni Communion Breakfast - Sunday, April 19, 2015


Burrs at the Beach - Sunday, June 28, 2015





WEST NOTES reported  that the total amount raised in the 2013-2014 annual fund drive was $1,411,231.

The Class of 1958 placed fourth in the "Top Ten By Class".


1963 - $57,405.00


1953 - $33,700.00


1950 - $31,307.00


1958 - $24,235.00


1952 - $22,652.84


1946 - $18,870.00


1957 - $17,708.00


1955 - $15,495.00


1935 - $15,175.00


1951 - $12,083.00



Information gleaned from the Christian Brothers' Website, WESTNOTES and Drexel U. Website




Cheerleaders from West Catholic Prep fired up the assembly on Wednesday, September 24 at the dedication of the new Maguire Field. 


As reported in the 2014 Summer Newsletter, Drexel University was in the process of constructing a new Athletics Field At 43rd Street and Powelton Avenue which was made possible through a substantial donation of $1.5 million from James and Frances Maguire, through their Maguire Foundation.  


“This is a dream 24 years in the making,” said Brother Richard Kestler, FSC, president of West Catholic Prep.  “Since 1989, West Catholic Prep has been looking for a site to serve as a practice field for its teams.  Thanks to this partnership with Drexel and the Maguire Foundation, West Catholic Prep students will have a state-of-the-art facility and a site we are proud to call our home field.” 


West Prep's team and coaches, were invited to share the new field, outfitted with artificial turf, with their Drexel neighbors.  “To have such a facility right now is spectacular, okay, just absolutely spectacular".  In past years, the West football team was bussed to 48th and Woodland where a Philadelphia Recreation Center was used for practice.  This new facility is within walking distance from school.

Drexel’s director of athletics Eric Zillmer says it’s a perfect partnership.  “We have a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose synthetic turf field where West Catholic Prep can play football and practice.  And, of course, for Drexel, we have club teams, intramural teams and varsity teams as well".  


Posted 10/07/2014 10:16AM ON WEST PREP WEBSITE

At the recent Alumni Association Meeting, Burrs at the Beach Committee Co-Chairs Tom Dorrian and George Light presented Brother Richard Kestler, FSC with a $22,000 check from the event.  These funds go directly to West Catholic Prep students in the form of scholarships and financial aid.  A great day and a great turnout, for a very worthy cause!  The Burr Family came together and had a lot fun.  Outstanding job to the entire Burrs at the Beach Committee and we hope to see you on Sunday, June 28th, 2015 for the next Burrs at the Beach!


submitted by:  JIM LYNCH


September 26 - West Catholic Prep 40 - Lansdale Catholic 21

Gleaned from and WC football website


After four weeks of tough, to extremely tough competition, the Burrs were probably looking forward to the start of league play.  After all, they had won 49 straight versus league foes dating back to the middle of the ’06 season.  In the end, they were able to garner their 50th straight victory over a league opponent (36 regular season, 12 playoffs, 2 sub-regional), but it was not without a fight.  LC is mostly a young squad, but they are well coached and do a very good job of staying within themselves.  It is not to often will you see the LC staff put their kids in positions that really don’t suit their abilities.  This mindset can typically give you a chance.  So, even though the Crusaders never did lead in the game, they did enter the fourth quarter only down, 26-21.  LC scored 7 points in each quarter except the 4th where as WC put points on the board in all 4 quarters. 


West was without dynamic sr. QB Antwain McCollum, who will be sidelined for up to 6 weeks with a small crack to the fibula.  This happened at the end of the Wood game where it was thought he had just dinged his ankle.  Everyone wishes Antwain a speedy recovery. The hope is to have him back by the time the PCL playoffs begin.


October 4 - West Catholic Prep 30 - Neumann-Goretti 13

Gleaned from Ted Silary's website and


Because N-G had played impressive defense in recent wins over O'Hara and Conwell-Egan, there was hope that tonight's game would be competitive; but the Burrs stormed to TD's on their first three possessions while having to run just 14 plays and the distance on those scores totaled 137 yards.  The Burrs' next two possessions were unproductive; the first two possessions of the third quarter yielded the final scores for West.  West was 0 for 5 in trying for the conversion after each score; they are going to have to do better in that category.  By the way, in order, West's conversion failures went like this: run, pass, run, pass, run.


Holsopple, who continues to fill in for injured sr. Antwain McCollum, went 2-for-6 for 107 yards and the two aforementioned scores. West's game ball went to jr. CB Craig Jones, his best play was a teeth-rattling tackle for a 10-yard loss on a left-side screen pass.


October 11 - West Catholic Prep 39 - Bishop McDevitt 6

Gleaned from Huck Palmer's report on Ted Silary's website


We had some strange, eerie, bizarre-like happenings in this one.  For starters, the underdog Lancers scored first. Sr. RB/DB Vincent DiLeo burrowed in from the five to cap a 10-play, 65-drive.  Three Burrs’ penalties, including a pair of fifteen-yarders aided the cause, however, the Lancers key play was a 20-yard pass play to a lineman.  How?  A West defender blew up a left-side wide receiver screen almost immediately, but somehow the ball deflected right to frosh OL Jayvonne Campfield, who rumbled down the sidelines for a 20-yard pick-up on a 3rd-and-16 play just like they drew it up, right?  OK, ready for a stat oddity?  McDevitt would end up running 20 first quarter plays to just one for the Burrs.  Yet, they somehow trailed, 12-6, after one quarter.  Still having trouble on the conversions after a score.  After that the Burrs wasted little time, West took their first play of this drive 55 yards on a toss to the right.  Holsopple found a wide-open jr. WR/DB Jameer Bryson for the conversion to make the score, 26-6, with 5:08 left in the third quarter.  The Burrs would cruise from here.  McDevitt with a feel-good score in sight but disaster struck on the next play: DiLeo, now playing quarterback, casually tossed a flare in Leach’s direction to the right, however a West defender stepped in front of the pass and easily picked it off and raced 89 yards for the final score of the game.  I had to double-check who it was afterwards because by this time a thick, dense fog had taken over the stadium.  Oh yeah, but speaking of strange, the Burrs finally converted a point-after kick following the score.

Jr. K/WR/DB Craig Jones did the honors, as he somehow had enough juice to get the ball through the fog.  Smile!  This was WC’s first made PAT since Game #4 in the ’12 season.


Scoring by quarter; West 12-6 in the first quarter, 0 for both in the second, 14-0 for West in the third and 13-0 in the fourth for the game final of 39-6.


October 18 - West Catholic Prep 41 - Conwell-Egan 0


Gleaned from Huck Palmer's report on Ted Silary's website


Two major miscues at the end of Conwell-Egan’s first two drives spotted the Burrs a pair of touchdowns and from here they methodically pulled away in the second half.  First, C-E’s jr. QB fumbled while being sacked with the Burrs making the recovery at the C-E 35-yard line.  West did need nine plays to cover the necessary yardage to put points on the board.  Forced to punt on their next possession C-E got off a good punt but the play was called back for holding, on the next play West was able to squash the punter and take over on the 1 yd line.  The following play West drove in for the 2nd touchdown of the 1st quarter.  This put West up 14-0, West went on to score 2 more in the 3rd quarter and 2 more in the 4th with the final of 41-0.  The Burrs had five sacks in the game.  This marked the eighth straight season the Burrs have finished the regular season unbeaten in league play.


October 24 - West Catholic Prep 18  - Archbishop Ryan 7


Gleaned from Huck Palmer's report on Ted Silary's website


Ryan star sr. RB Samir Bullock had literally run wild over opposing defenses.  He had amassed 856 yards rushing, including 674 in the last two weeks with a pair of 300+ yard outings.  So, when he carried 9 times for 43 yards, and a 2-yard score on Ryan’s first drive.  The Burrs' defense adjusted and pretty much held the talented Bullock at bay for the next three-and-a-half quarters.  Offensively, the Burrs methodically churned out 291 yards.  Jr. QB Josh Holsopple continued to fill in admirably for injured sr. Antwain McCollum, and most likely had his strongest performance of the season.  He finished 10-for-15, for 112 yards.  All three of West scores went to soph RB Calil Wortham.  West’s go-ahead drive started late in the third quarter at Ryan’s 24-yard line. 


We still cannot manage to get the PAT’s, West scored in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters ending the game 18-7.  Ryan will have week off next week before tangling with Bonner-Prendie in one AAA semifinal.  The Burrs will take on Conwell-Egan next Saturday at O’Hara.  It will be part of the PCL AA semifinals; with Lansdale/Neumann-Goretti playing in the other game.  Where did this season go?


November 1 - West Catholic Prep 54 - Conwell-Egan 0

Catholic League AA Semifinals

Gleaned from WC football website


The first quarter featured no points for either team but once the Burrs got rolling' . . . whoa!  They scored four TD's over the last 9:54 of the second quarter and three more over a four-minute span in the third.  Upon reading that West scored a touchdown on the game's final play, perhaps you'll think it happened while the Burrs were on offense and that they were trying to run up the score.  Jr. DB Justin Bryant who scooped up a fumble and scampered 16 yards into the left corner of the end zone posted the final six-pointer.  West held C-E to only 23 yards of total offense.  Go Burrs!!


November 8 - West Catholic Prep 14 - Neumann-Goretti 32

Catholic League AA Championship

Gleaned from WC football website


Everything eventually comes to an end, right?  So, how did the Saints beat West for the first time since ’03 (10 games) and win their first football title since 1954?  Simple!  Their leaders played like stars and the complimentary players all made contributions.  Was West overconfident, maybe a tad, but it wasn’t sensed on the sidelines prior to the game.  Plus, thinking something on those lines might take away from N-G’s great night.  Quite frankly, the Saints outplayed West for some large stretches and when given the chance to do something that no team has done in eight+ seasons, they stepped on the Burrs’ throats and never let go.  The Saints ran 54 plays and amassed 383 impressive yards on a Burrs’ defense that in five other league games only allowed a total of 393 yards on 204 plays.  The 32 points scored by the Saints is the most scored against West in a league game since 2002.  West’s 14-season streak of producing a 1,000-yard rusher, easily the longest amongst city teams, came to end.






Excerpt from a September 28, 2014 news release

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced the permanent closure of St. Laurentius Church as a worship site of Holy Name of Parish.  Also, St. Callistus Church, which became a worship site of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in July of 2013, has been closed permanently.  


Excerpts from a October 4, 2014 news release written by Matthew Gambino and Lou Baldwin


PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The Archdiocese of Philadelphia's finances took a major step toward good health with the announcement Oct. 2 of agreements of sale for three archdiocesan properties collectively worth an estimated $56.2 million.


The property sales announced Oct. 2 include the 213-acre site of Don Guanella Village and Cardinal Krol Center in Marple Township, for $47 million; the 454 acres of the former Mary Immaculate Retreat Center, which is in the Diocese of Allentown, for $5.5 million; and a 55-acre tract of the St. John Vianney Center property in Downingtown, for $3.7 million.

Proceeds from the latest transactions along with the $53 million initial payment from long-term leasing of the 13 archdiocesan cemeteries completed last May and the sale of the archdiocesan nursing homes, projected to net $95 million after closing costs, will address three underfunded obligations of the archdiocese.

Collectively underfunded by $340 million in June 2013, those three funds plus the Lay Employees Retirement Plan include the Trust and Loan Fund, the Self-Insurance Fund and the Priests Pension Fund.

The cemeteries transaction produced $30 million for the fund, and $52.2 million from sale of the Don Guanella Village site and Mary Immaculate Center's property should satisfy the current estimated underfunded amount of $49.8 million.

Proceeds from the sale of the Downingtown property will be put toward the Priests Pension Plan, currently underfunded by an estimated $76.3 million after an allocation of $11.5 million from the cemeteries transaction.  The Self-Insurance Fund remains underfunded at $18.9 million after its allocation of $11.5 million from the cemeteries deal.

All the total underfunding of $95.2 million remaining in those funds conceivably could be covered by the sale of the six skilled nursing homes and one independent living facility of archdiocesan Catholic Health Care Services.  That deal was valued at $145 million when announced last July.

The property sales announced Oct. 2 are another step in the continuing efforts under Archbishop Charles J. Chaput to restore fiscal soundness to the archdiocese.

Early steps in 2012 included the sale of the archbishop's residence in Philadelphia to St. Joseph's University for $10 million and the priests' summer home in Ventnor, New Jersey, for $4.5 million, which provided the archdiocese with funds for immediate cash flow.

Also over the past two years, the archdiocesan staff has been reduced by 25 percent.

Through such actions, the archdiocese stemmed its operational deficit. Audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 2013 showed a reduction of the core operational deficit to $4.9 million as opposed to the core deficit of $17.9 million reported for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.

NOTE:  Gambino is director and general manager of, the news outlet of the Philadelphia Archdiocese.  Baldwin is a freelance writer in Philadelphia.






At the Golden Burrs Events Committee's September meeting, a motion was made to establish an annual Christmas donation in the amount of $250.00 to be given each year to the Christian Brothers’ Retirement Fund.  The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.  The  donation will be offered in memory of the deceased members of the West Catholic Boys' Class of 1958.  Sufficient funds are available to cover this years donation, to fund St. La Salle enrollments for the foreseeable future, and to cover other projected expenses.  Estimated future proceeds from the annual luncheons will fund future donations.




Mark your calendar for the next Class of 1958 Luncheon which will be held on Thursday, May 14, 2015.  Details to follow in the Spring of 2015 Newsletter. 








The World Meeting of Families will be held in Philadelphia from September 22nd to September 27th, 2015. 


Pope Francis announced in November that "I WILL GO TO PHILADELPHIA" and he will arrive on Friday, September 25th to attend the World Meeting of Families.

On Saturday, September 26th about 43,000 young people are expected to fill Citizens Bank Park for a youth rally and an enjoyable visit with Pope Francis. 


Later that evening, thousands of people are expected to join the Holy Father for a public Festival of Families Cultural celebration along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City.  The celebration will feature festival musical and dancing, other family entertainment, along with selected families from around the world giving witness to their family's faith.

A public Mass will be celebrated by Pope Francis on Sunday, September 27, 2015, in front of the Art Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  


A family 5K run is also planned, along with bus tours to the five national Catholic shrines in the Philadelphia region.



In conjunction with the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia during the Week of September 22nd to the 27th, 2015, the Events Committee is interested in determining who from the Class of 1958 may be planning to attend the meeting and if there is interest in having a Class of 1958 luncheon on Thursday, September 24th at the Clarion Hotel. 


The committee feels that this luncheon would provide an excellent opportunity for those "out-of-towners" who cannot make our regular annual luncheon, to renew old friendships with local classmates who may also attend this special luncheon.  Of course, wives are welcome to dine with us.  A minimum of 40 attendees are required in order to pre-reserve the Clarion hotel's banquet room.  If you plan to attend the World Meeting of Families and would also like to attend a class of 1958 luncheon, we need to know your intentions in order to arrange for this  luncheon.  Please advise Frank Adolf at: no later than March 30, 2015.   


This luncheon would be in addition to the regular annual luncheon to be held on Thursday, May 14, 2015.    





submitted by: FRANK ADOLF


In the seven years following WW I sixty-four new parishes were established in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  The needs of the faithful in the Paschalville and Kingsessing communities had been served for many years by the parishes of St. Clement (established at the end of the Civil War), and Most Blessed Sacrament (established in 1901), but the continued growth of Catholic families in this area resulted in the establishment of St. Barnabas parish in 1919.


Even this new parish was not enough to address the spiritual needs of a growing community.  Tradition has it that several people wrote to Cardinal Dougherty in regard to the difficulties they had in attending Mass.  One letter that survived describes the erection of three hundred 300 new home in the locality and the need for a church in their immediate neighborhood. 


The decision to establish another new parish was announced on June 20, 1925 in the Catholic Standard and Times as follows: 


"In West Philadelphia contiguous to Sixty-fifth and Chester Avenue, will be established the parish of the Good Shepherd.  The rector will be the Reverend Joseph A. Mahon, formerly assistant rector of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, this city." 




Rev.  Joseph A. Mahon

First Pastor 1925-1939 


Father Mahon hailed from Mahanoy Plane and was 49 years old when he was named pastor of Good Shepherd.  


The plot of ground that would become the parish property was purchased from Samuel Rader, a builder who had planned to erect a row of houses.  When he discovered that the ground was needed for the new parish, he abandoned his building plans and sold the ground to Father Mahon for one hundred and five thousand dollars.   


During the five weeks from the announcement of the new parish Father Mahon chose the name of the parish, established the boundaries (see below), purchased the site at 67th and Chester Avenue and establish a house of worship.  





The new parish of The Good Shepherd began with the movement to the parish grounds of the small frame structure that previously served as a chapel for St. Thomas Aquinas and The Most Blessed Sacrament Parishes.  The chapel was in disrepair and required significant upgrades before it could be put to use.  The total costs to dismantle, move, reconstruct and repair the chapel was $30,000.  It would serve Good Shepherd parish until March of 1951.




The Chapel after final restoration circa 1925


On Saturday, July 25, 1925 Father Mahon blessed the Chapel privately.   


On Sunday, July 26, 1925, the first Mass at Good Shepherd parish was celebrated at 6:00 AM on the feast of

St. Anne.  This date is considered the official founding date of Good Shepherd Parish. 


A few weeks after the dedication of the Chapel, permanent pews were installed at a cost of $2,600.




The Good Shepherd Statue was donated by the late Msgr. Wastl, pastor of St. John the Evangelist.


Father Mahon next looked to find a suitable dwelling for use as a rectory.  No homes in the immediate area of the chapel were available, so Father had to purchase a house some distance from the parish property at 6410 Cobbs Creek Parkway for $16,500.




July, 1925


In total the parish debt amounted to approximately one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, not including the expenditures to furnish the chapel and rectory.  Two collections were taken at all Masses, one was called the "Foundation Collection" the other the "Plate Collection".  After initial success the Sunday collections dropped down as enthusiasm subsided.  As a matter of survival Father Mahon had to arrange other ways of getting money.  Street carnivals, house parties, family drawings, dances, card parties, and cake sales were all used to raise funds.  The first Block Collection amounted to $2,127.


Father Mahon's long range plan was to establish a parish school.  From 1925 to 1930 over 500 children of the parish attended school at neighboring parishes.  Many children were enrolled in public schools because of the distance in getting to the nearest parochial school.  Sunday School was offered in the chapel by two nuns from MBS to educate the children in the fundamentals of their faith. 


By early 1929 the funded debt had been almost wiped out, hence Father Mahon was given permission by Cardinal Dougherty to build a parochial school. 


May 19, 1929 ground was broken for the parish school.  The construction contract was awarded to McCloskey and Co., whose bid of $190,000 was the lowest submitted.  Unfortunately, the 1929 Stock Market Crash put a halt to construction as the builder demanded money to meet his payroll and other expenses.  Father Mahon and his assistant Father John Hughes, using a taxi for transportation, went searching for a banking institution to finance the construction.  After being refused a loan at six banks, the last on the list was Beneficial Savings Fund Society.  The President of the bank agreed to furnish a two hundred thousand dollar mortgage to Good Shepherd. 


Once the problem of financing was solved construction moved quickly.  The building was, and is, a truly magnificent edifice in the Gothic scholastic architecture, and is constructed of Foxcroft stone with an attractive relief of limestone trim. 




February 1930 - The Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary accepted an invitation to staff the school.


Two properties at 1744 and 1746 South Sixty-fifth Street were acquired for use as a convent.  The two houses were converted into one, and Mother M. Bertha Tobin and eight sisters moved into their convent.   





February 23, 1930 - The first registration of pupils took place with four hundred and fifty children.  


May 11, 1930, the new school was formally blessed and dedicated by Auxiliary Bishop Gerald P. O'Hara.  




First May Procession

Sara Sherwin - First May Queen




The first graduation exercises were held in June 1930. 


Within three years, the school enrollment was doubled, requiring an increase in the faculty to sixteen nuns.


From 1930 until 1939 not much happened in terms of material progress.  Parochial development came to a dead stop after the opening of the school.  The depression arrived in earnest, and no longer was it a question of making progress, but a problem of merely surviving.  Plans for converting the top floor of the school into a convent were abandoned. 


Father Mahon was pressed to meet the interest changes on the parish debt while paying the ongoing expenses of the parish. 


The school auditorium was used to raise funds by offering dances every Thursday evening and two organizations were formed to encourage participation by the youth of the parish.  


LEFT SIDE  cid:BB288EBA391145D0A84F77BB74F7185D@jimprend

RIGHT SIDE  cid:2B944538A531454BB48B8DEEA9D7359E@jimprend

Good Shepherd - Boys' Brigade (pictured in two sections)


The Boys' Brigade was formed with 185 members which lead to the organization of a Bugle and Drum Corps and a Signal Corps.  The Brigade's activities were demonstrated in the Auditorium and included drilling, boxing, games, signaling, first aid, calisthenics, music and drama.  


West Catholic Class of 1943


A Dramatic Club was formed which organized stage productions during the 1930's.  


As Mass attendance increased, the limits of the small Chapel were stressed, so the auditorium was placed in service for Masses in order to relieve the overcrowding in the Chapel on Sundays.


1938 - Father John O'Neill, the newly assigned curate, founded the "Vice-President's Club" for the purpose of defraying part of the tuition expenses for the approximately three hundred boys and girls attending Catholic High Schools.


November 3, 1939 - After fourteen years of struggling to finish the task entrusted to him by the Archbishop, Father Mahon weakened by a serious operation on his throat from which he never fully recovered, turned over responsibility for the parish into the capable hands of the Reverend Clair A. Hammill who was appointed administrator by Cardinal Dougherty.   




Rev. Clair A. Hammill,  Administrator 1939 - 1945

Second Pastor  1945 - 1966


Father Hammill was a native son of Philadelphia.  He attended St. Anne's School, Roman Catholic High School and St. Joseph's Prep.  He was ordained on June 11, 1927.


November 11, 1939 - Father Hammill began his task of actively administering the parish.  A study of the collection lists for the preceding decade made clear why the buildings were in a run-down condition.  Also, the funded debt was $242,925.00, which

necessitated the expenditure of many thousands of dollars in interest charges that the parish could ill afford. 


One week after his arrival, Father Hammill planned the organization of a Church Debt Society that later evolved into the Church Building Fund Society.  Men of the parish visited homes in the parish once a week to collect a quarter from each family.  It certainly played a major role in helping Good Shepherd Parish reach the goals set by Father Hammill


Father Hammill went about making his long range plan for the physical development of the parish, and he never deviated from it.  He eliminated all such subterfuges such as interest collections, fuel collections, school collections, and all other special collections, and, in their stead, laid down the rule that every wage earner was expected to give one dollar each Sunday.  He believed that multiplication of activities does not necessarily mean multiplication of revenue.  Weekly card parties were eliminated and in its place, four affairs a year were sponsored.  Father guaranteed that there would be no special appeals or campaigns for funds.   This approach was widely accepted by the parishioners, showing their approval by consistent cooperation.


December 1939 - Father Hammill addressed the need to rehabilitate the parish buildings beginning with the Auditorium.  It received the first coat of paint since it was opened in 1930.  Then a new school room was built on the second floor for the first grade children who previously had a temporary class-room in the auditorium.


The chapel floor collapsed when large crowds were in attendance, requiring strengthening of the underpinnings and installation of a new floor.  The interior appearance was improved by installing celotes on the walls, scrapping the old confessionals, and replacing the old altar.  In April of 1940 air conditioning was installed in the chapel.  


November 1940 - Good Shepherd parish had the opportunity to acquire much needed ecclesiastical furniture from a suppressed city parish.  The drawback was that the work had to be done in 24 hours.  Using several rented trucks and an army of volunteers, Father Hammill completed the work in record time.  At three o'clock in the morning a magnificent set of pews were being set up in the auditorium.  


At long last the parish had a Baptismal Font where the sacrament could be administered in a proper manner.    




Baptismal Font acquired in 1940


June 1941 - With the assignment of a third curate, Father Hammill rented the property at 6412 Cobbs Creek Parkway which adjoined the temporary rectory.  The two houses were converted into one by simply putting three doorways in the party wall.  (On July 5, 1946, the property was purchased.) 


Summer of 1941 - While the Sisters were on retreat, the two houses that served as the convent were totally updated with new roofs, new floors, and modern conveniences. 


November 5, 1941 - The property located at 1742 South Sixty-fifth Street was purchased and years later on June 18, 1948 the house next door at 1740 was acquired as the fourth house, thus completing the acquisitions of private dwellings that served the sisters until finances allowed for construction of a proper convent. 


November 30, 1941 - A fire broke out in the school attic.  So much damage was done that classes had to be suspended indefinitely.  During this difficult time, Mr. Robert J. Kelly, the Principal of John W. Catherine Public School, offered the facilities of his school to the Parish.   From the beginning of December 1941 until March 20, 1942, the Sisters conducted classes for their nine hundred pupils in the rooms provided for them in the pubic school building. 


The fire was a setback, but Father Hammill never deviated from his long range plan, refusing to establish a special fund raising campaign to defray the expenses of reconstruction.  For three months, painters, plasterers, and roofers swarmed the building

doing a complete job of renovation. 


October 1944 - In less than five years the entire funded debt of the parish was paid off, and this included the expenses for the many physical improvements to the parish properties.  Father Hammill resolved that never again would the parish be burdened with debt.  Father marked his time until sufficient funds were amassed to make possible a building project to construct three buildings, a church, a convent, and a rectory.


1945 - Two classrooms were added to the school, making it possible for the parish to keep its boys and girls in the building for their high school freshman year.  This saved the parents transportation cost and made it more convenient for the pupils. 


September 24, 1945 - Father Mahon the founder of Good Shepherd Parish passed on to his eternal reward.  The funeral was held on the 27th of September with the Right Reverend Monsignor J. Carroll McCormick presiding.  The celebrant was the Reverend Robert F. Mahon, nephew of the deceased. 


September 1945 - Father Hammill was named Pastor of Good Shepherd Parish.


March 1, 1948 - Father Hammill was notified by the archdiocese that permission had been granted to construct a Church.


March 1949 - After a year of study and contemplation by Father Hammill, the architect, Peter F. Getz was retained to design the Church. 


October 15, 1949 - The general contract for construction of the new Church was awarded to the firm of John McShain, Inc. 


Ground Breaking October 1949



March 1950 - All the foundation work was completed, concrete flooring laid, and masonry work finished as far as possible. 


August 1950 - Due to a rainy spring it took until August before the roof could be completed. 


October 1950 - Masonry work was completed.


December 1950 - Terrazzo floors were finished, many of the stained glass windows installed, and painters were working to finish the interior.  Carpenters were installing confessionals and wainscoting, while electricians and acoustic experts were making final adjustments. 


February 1951 - the pews were assembled by master carpenters.




Good Shepherd Church 


The New Church of the Good Shepherd features a Gothic design of architecture, with a cruciform floor plan.  All exterior walls are faced with Foxcroft variegated color stone, hand hammered facing, and Mt. Airy granite tooled ashlar from pavement to beveled water table.  Indiana bluff limestone is used in and about the triple main entrance archways, at all windows, coping and buttress trim.  The Church has a seating capacity of 1.050.



The Congregation at the first Mass

March 14, 1951 - 6:30 AM Mass.


The altars are made of Bottocino marble of buff-cream color relieved by colored insets in natural colored marble, and along with the communion railing, statues and bracketes, pulpit, and stations of the cross, were designed, sculptured and created by the Guiseppe Tommasi Studios of New York, Chicago, and Petra Santa Carrara, Italy.  The crucifix is made of petrified wood, quarried in Tunisia, and marbleized in Italy.  The figure of Christ is carved from flesh colored marble with natural veining.


Saturday, May 5, 1951  - Bishop Lamb laid the cornerstone and solemnly consecrated the Church.  It was a matter of pride and a tribute to the generosity of the people of Good Shepherd Parish, since a church cannot be consecrated as long as there is one penny of debt owed.  The new church including furnishings cost $450,000 and no new debt was incurred.  




Saturday, May 5, 1951 - Laying of Cornerstone at Good Shepherd Church 







Sunday, May 6, 1951 - Bishop Lamb offering a Solemn Pontifical Mass





The Good Shepherd tending his flock


The old chapel building was donated by Father Hammill to a new parish in the Somerton section of Philadelphia.   


1953 - Father Hammill completed his plans to construct a Rectory and a Convent.  





1960 - Due to increased student enrollment, a School Annex was constructed only to be torn down before the turn of the century as enrollment dropped off.


In 1964 Father Hammill was informed by his physician that his lungs were in very bad shape.  He had contracted emphysema.  In late 1965 it became apparent that death was only a matter of time.



January 27, 1966 - Father Hammill passed away at the age of sixty-six.




Father Hammill's Grave - "PRIESTS' CIRCLE", Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, PA.




Msgr. Joseph A. O'Connell 

Third Pastor 1966-1967


March 25,  1966 - Msgr. Joseph A. O'Connell was appointed as the third pastor.  He graduated from Our Lady of Victory School and West Catholic High School.  He was ordained on June 3, 1939. 


He was a capable administrator as well as a holy priest and was responsible for erecting a gymnasium by lowering the school auditorium floor, a step that endeared him to many parishioners.  His happy days as pastor were short-lived as a malignant tumor took his life a short 18 months after his appointment as pastor.




Rev. Henry McCarty (later Msgr.) 

Fourth Pastor 1967-1671


1967 - Reverend Henry McCarty Ph.D., was named the fourth pastor of Good Shepherd.  He attended St. James School and West Catholic High School.  He was ordained on May 26, 1934.  Father served as a parish curate, a seminary dean and professor, and as a member of the Archdiocesan Building Commission.




During Father McCarty's pastorship the altar was made free standing, as priests throughout the world began to face their congregations and offer the sacrifice of the Mass in the vernacular.  


1969 - Father McCarty was recognized for his outstanding work as a parish priest, teacher, administrator and pastor, by being raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor.


1970 - Again, as in the case of the two previous pastors, the hard work that Msgr. McCarty had subjugated himself to over the years began to take its toll. 


June 1971 - Msgr. McCarty accepted a transfer to St. Anthony of Padua in Ambler, a smaller parish with a less demanding work load.  





Msgr. J. Clement Bennington

Fifth Pastor 1971-1980


1971 - Msgr. J. Clement Bennington, who served as a resident at Good Shepherd from June 1955 to September 1966, was named as the fifth pastor.  The transition was relatively smooth as he was already well acquainted with the people of Good Shepherd and their generous spirit.  Previously, Msgr. was a high school teacher, an administrator in the marriage tribunal, Assistant Director of Catholic Charities and Vicar General for Religious.


February 1972 - Msgr. McCarty died of an apparent heart attack. 


1975 - The Golden Jubilee of the founding of Good Shepherd Parish was celebrated.






Letters of Congratulations



The School Faculty in 1975




Rev. Joseph Gausch

Sixth Pastor  1980-1992


1980 - The Reverend Joseph Gausch became the sixth pastor in the middle of a time of major societal changes in the City of Philadelphia.  Asian immigration after the Vietnam War, and a population shift during the 60's and 70's to the suburbs by people who had lived in the city all their lives, created a challenging atmosphere for the Catholic Church in Philadelphia .  The parish of Good Shepherd was a microcosm of what was happening in many other city parishes that were established in the early part of the twentieth century. 


Bringing people together through the establishment of community oriented events marked the administration of Father Gausch

Coffees after Mass on Sunday, provided a venue for the exchange of ideas and a forum for understanding another person's point of view.  Dances for the sixth to eighth graders were another form of socialization.  The athletic field hosted inter-parochial city competition.  Bingo was reinstated for its potential to build community.




Rev. Robert Vogan

Seventh Pastor 1992 - 1996


1992 - The Reverend Robert Vogan became the seventh pastor of Good Shepherd.   During his pastorate, Father Vogan attended to the temporal and spiritual needs of the parishioners.  He made repairs to the rectory, church, and school, replaced windows, repainted many of the buildings and refurbished areas that were showing the advance of years.  He removed the altar rail and lowered the main altar several steps.  Relocated the pulpit, baptismal font, and tabernacle to more liturgically acceptable places in the church.


He practiced a special ministry to the Vietnamese people who moved into the parish in large numbers in the late 1980's and early 1990's.   


During his tenure he experienced the rapidly changing needs of the parishioners and inherited the problems of increased crime rampant in American culture and the economic struggle of the new people who occupied vacated homes in the neighborhood.




 Rev. Thomas Smith

Eighth Pastor 1996 - 1998


June 1996 - Reverend Thomas Smith was named as the eighth pastor.  Father Smith reinstated the practice of erecting a Repository for the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday and conducted Forty hours Devotions during three days beginning on Good Shepherd Sunday. 


In July 1997, three priests, two seminarians and several lay people knocked on the doors of every home in the vicinity of Good Shepherd to inform them of the presence of the parish and to invite them to participate in the spiritual and social activities offered by the parish. 




Rev. J. Thomas Heron

Ninth Pastor - 1998 - 2004


June 1998 - Reverend J. Thomas Heron was assigned as the ninth pastor of Good Shepherd.  At that time it was arguably the worst assignment in the Archdiocese.  


In 1999, Father Heron implored the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, to do him--as well as the poor parishioners he served--a favor, he invoked the jubilee tradition as outlined in scripture.

"The tradition," Reverend Heron wrote, "was designed to restore justice to the social order, to right the inevitable imbalances that result from human interaction in the ordinary course of exchange ... In this spirit of justice, unity and reconciliation, I am begging you to forgive the debt of $233,363.06".

His Eminence, in his written response, produced a few well-turned phrases himself, none of which seemed too concerned with the jubilee tradition.  Or, for that matter, with Jesus' advice to the rich.  Father Heron's request was declined.




Good Shepherd Rectory


The Rectory of Good Shepherd once was a residence for six priests.  Father Heron and one other priest resided there during his pastorship.


In June 1999, after seventy years of service to the people, the last five Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, left Good Shepherd Parish.  


In September 1999, Sister Stella Mary O'Brien R.S.M. became principal of Good Shepherd School.






Good Shepherd Convent - once housed 27 sisters.


The convent sat unoccupied, but then Father Heron allowed John and Donna Kurtz and their 15 adopted children to call it home.  The Kurtzes, who are Catholic, have become known for their goodwill and for adopting troubled children.  Father Heron offered the Kurtzes use of the convent indefinitely.


The Good Shepherd School, once served three classes in each grade, with 45 students per class.  In the year 2000 there were just 243 students.

At its peak, the Good Shepherd Parish served as many as 15,000 Catholics, nearly all Irish and Italian families, making it one of the largest parishes in the city.  There were five Masses on Sunday.  At the time of the anniversary there were fewer than 200 families, and Good Shepherd was numbered as one of the smallest of the 115 Catholic parishes in the city.  In the past there would be as many as seventy marriages there each year.  In 1999, there were 30 funerals at the church and only three marriages.

Father Heron preferred to interpret these events as challenges of transition rather than omens of defeat.  Father reminded his people almost daily that no one knows what the future holds, but all know who holds the future.


During Mass one Sunday, Father took notice that people of different ethnic backgrounds were not mixing, but sitting with people of their own race and culture in there own comfort zone.  To foster unity, Father rearranged the communion stations in the church, by moving the outer stations to the center.  This small change resulted in the people of different cultures and races to come together for reception of the Eucharist.


The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of Good Shepherd Parish was celebrated in the year 2000. 



75th Anniversary Mass, July 26, 2000

The Most Reverend Joseph Potocnak - Celebrant and Homilists,

Reverend John T. Conway - Regional Vicar Philadelphia South,

Concelebrants: Reverend Monsignor John J. Caulfield, Reverend Matthew W. Guckin,

Reverend John D. Hand, Reverend J. Thomas Heron, Reverend James C. Otto,

Reverend Joseph J. Quindlen, Reverend Robert C. Vogan

Not Pictured: Reverend James McGinnis. Reverend William J. Chiriaco.






Dec. 16, 2001 - The Baptist Church in the neighborhood was heavily damaged in an electrical fire.  Father Heron invited the Rev. Napoleon L. Divine, pastor of Christ International Baptist Church, to share Good Shepherd's facilities while his church was being rebuilt. 

April 19, 2004 - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced the establishment of a new parish in Southwest Philadelphia to be named Divine Mercy

The parish was formed from the merger of Saint Clement Parish, Good Shepherd Parish and Saint Irenaeus Parish (founded in 1966).  Cardinal Justin Rigali appointed the Reverend Michael J. Davis as the new pastor of Divine Mercy Parish.  The site of the new parish would be the former Good Shepherd Parish.  Saint Irenaeus became a worship site of Divine Mercy.  

At the same time, a new school, to be called Mary, Mother of Peace Area Catholic School, was established at the location of St. Barnabas school to serve the children of St. Barnabas, and the newly established Divine Mercy parish-school, the closed Sts. Clement-Irenaeus and Most Blessed Sacrament schools. 

July 1, 2004 - The official founding date of Divine Mercy Parish.  Good Shepherd Parish ceased to exist as a parish on this date.   



2014 - Main Altar




2014 - Blessed Mother's Altar and Divine Mercy Shrine


Father Peter N. Quinn is the current Pastor of Divine Mercy Parish. 




Weekend Masses 
Parish Church
Saturday: 4:00 PM  
Sunday: 11:00 AM 
Sunday: 12:30 PM 


Worship Site of Saint Irenaeus
Sunday: 9:00 AM 


Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament:
Parish Church
Every Friday: 
8:30 AM to 7:00 PM
Every Sunday: 
2:30 PM to 9:00 PM


Worship Site of Saint Irenaeus  
Every Sunday: 
10 AM to 11 AM

Weekday Masses 
Parish Church
Monday, Wednesday 
through Saturday 8:00 AM

Tuesday Evening: 6:00 PM


Saturday: 3:00 - 3:30 PM


Chaplet of Divine Mercy 
3 PM Sunday

Novena to Our Lady
After 8 AM Mass: 
Monday & Saturday



Tom Wallace aka "German John":  Frank, Thanks for the Newsletter--still the best.  Thanks for the request of prayers for me and Kevin Strong.  We can use them.

Just heard from my little sister that she has had cancer return to her--lymphoma throughout her organs.  A tough road to walk.  She never married and lives alone in Delaware.  Looks like I have another job to do while I'm recuperating.  Prayers for her, too.    Thanks,  Tom


Joe Murphy:  Great job Frank, as usual.  


Frank Metzler:  Thank you all Team Members for your contributions over the past five years to our class newsletter.  We have managed to reach, not only our classmates, but many West Catholic graduates. Thanks a million for supporting our efforts to keep our class well informed and up to date with information about West Catholic, our parishes, and Philadelphia.  I'm sure our classmates appreciate all our efforts.                                                   

Gerry Vernot:  Frank, Thanks for sending the Fall 2014 Edition of the Golden Burrs Newsletter.  Congratulations on the fifth anniversary of the newsletter.  May the next five years be even better for the newsletter.

Joe Gavaghan:  Hey Frank, Thank you & the other staffers for another newsletter telling what's happening with WC & our classmates.  All is well in Bensalem. I just started my 12th year as a lunch monitor at St. Charles and still am enjoying the "tough duty" with 7th & 8th graders who mostly are taller than me, both boys & girls.  My best to all.


Dennis O'Leary:  Hello Frank, Just wanted to say thanks for putting together a great history of my old parish, Holy Name of Jesus.  It brought back some old memories.  As always you do an outstanding job with the newsletter in general.  We should all be grateful.  Best Regards.


Jack Neuschel:  Frank, Always enjoy the newsletter.  You did a great article on Holy Name of Jesus parish.  Brought  back many fond memories of living there.  Had the funeral liturgy for my brother at the parish in February, 1913.  Sorry to hear about John's death.  Had he been ill for some time?  Keep up the good work on the newsletter.  Jack


Rich Loftus:  Frank,  My wife and I were in Philly for her conference last week.  Fortuitously, on our second evening we were able to attend a WCHS "donor" dinner at Springfield C.C.

Had lots of fun talking with a few '58 grads (Cahill, Light, Leonetti,..), Bob Devine, Bro. Kevin (Marty) Stanton, Bro. Richard, Sister Mary, et al.  The State Senator of West's District showed up with VERY positive comments; and the President's and Principal's "state of the school" summaries were awe inspiring.

I visited the school the next day, touring the new Tech Labs and Music Programs facilities.  It made me proud to be part of the West Catholic past and present.

Also spent Sunday afternoon and evening with Angelo and Loretta Sivieri in Cape May. Great time!


BTW, received many positive comments about your efforts to make Class of '58 a leader in alumni support of the New Prep.


Please say "hey" to Rich Buzza, my coal mate from NE PA.


Fran Lawless, West Catholic 1968, LTC US Army, retired:  Rich, I've just now looked at your latest West Catholic newsletter, the Fall of 2014.  You and your staff and class of 1958 are a chorus in the true classic sense of Greek theater.  You stand on the sidelines and sing the praises not of just a single class nor even of just a single school.  Your observations transcend into parishes and to the very people that are their makeup. 


Though you're too young to have been of the Greatest Generation, your parents were those people.  And the values, camaraderie and visions of those before you are indeed within you.


There is no other class that I know that is the class act that you are, you of 1958.    


Bobby Doc:  Very eventful but successful portage from Tennessee to California....2400 mi in 3 days, boat parked and at home by 9:30pm Sat night.  Light casualties for us, lost a boat cover, battery cover and 2 trailer fenders.....can't speak to the casualties behind us!  Hit a huge bump just before Needles, bent the coupler plate up 90*, was able to repair with tools and parts on board, lost bout an hour.  Safe home and thankful.  God taking care of Irish and drunks.  Moved into new place on 11/29.  Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.

Our new contact info is as follows:




949-388-2987   cell remains same 423-488-2103


"If you're out this way please call, come and visit....maybe even fish".


submitted by: FRANK ADOLF




Winter of 1957 - Remember the Tunnels?




 Fruit flavored wax coke bottles 




Transistor Radio





Remember the Tinsel?  Merry Christmas!!






WE REMEMBER and ask for your prayers for those who are ill, especially Dave Crines who is recovering from a stroke, and Brother Kevin Strong, Tom Wallace aka "German John" and Tom's sister Mary Irene Wallace, who are all dealing with significant health issues. 



submitted of: FRANK METZLER


As another year comes to an end, please continue to remember in your prayers our deceased classmates, along with our families, our friends, and our deceased Christian Brothers and Lay Teachers.  May they all enjoy their eternal rest in heaven, seeing God face to face.

Pictured below is the Christian Brothers' Cemetery in Ammendale, MD.








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




submitted by: RICH BUZZA


     It is a cold day and I am sitting in a nice comfortable chair with a cozy fire and I begin to remember my happy days as a youth and my involvement with the Boy Scouts.  Now, don't get me wrong, I was not the greatest scout, in fact I never got above a Second Class rank, but I did learn quite a bit from my scouting experiences.  I was a member of troop 296 out of the Sherwood Presbyterian Church ( the nuns at MBS would have had a heart attack if they had known) at 56th and Willows Ave., in s.w. Philly.  Here I am a Catholic kid in a Protestant sponsored scout troop, I did not know what to expect.  I met a minister and a very nice group of devoted scout leaders and members of that church.  Once on a weekend camping trip we found ourselves out in the woods on a Sunday morning, myself and a few more Catholic scouting buddies figured that we would skip going to Mass, after all who is going to know...wrong, the Scoutmaster got us all together and said "I know that you boys must attend Mass on Sundays, so get into your uniforms and I will drive you into town for the 9am Mass."  This made such an impression on me, that a Protestant man was going out of his way to get us to Mass, but as I later learned this is what scouting is all about.


     In the Spring of 1973 our own Jim English got involved in the Boy Scouts.  He fell for that old lie that "it's only 2 hours a week" and joined the Troop Committee and a few months later he was Scoutmaster, a position that he  held for 25 years.  To quote Jim, "Since 1998, I've been on the Troop Committee as Advancement Chairman.  (A great job because I get to work with all the kids on their advancement and in particular with the Eagle Scout Candidates.)  On the District level I am the Unit Commissioner for Troop 76, as well as Cub Scout Pack 76."


     Troop 76 is the oldest continuously active Scouting Unit in Cape May County and is the oldest continuously active Youth Organization in Sea Isle City.  Since 1943, Troop 76 has produced 61 Eagle Scouts.  In 2014, so far they have had one Eagle Scout and have no less than five boys working their Eagle Scout Projects.  They expect two more Eagle Scouts in 2014 and three in 2015.  Another one of our own, Tom Henry '58, was on Troop 76 Committee for several years and all three of his sons, Tom. Jimmy and Mike all became Eagle Scouts in Troop 76. and speaking of scouting families our own Tom Wallace aka Brother German John  along with his two older brothers attained the Eagle Scout rank and also the Order of the Arrow award out of the Allegheny Council Pittsburgh Troop 109 circa '42 to '47.  Tom says "I look on it as having another facet of a rounded skills education".


     At this time in our lives I find it reassuring to remember the good people who had a positive influence on our youth and who helped in making us the men and women that we are today.  Well, that's it for this newsletter, all of our Golden Burrs wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and let's hear from some of you old scouts out there and we will give you a shout out.


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








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