St. Brendan School closing was a sad day in many ways
On Friday, St. Brendan School in Youngstown closed its doors. This was a sad day for all of us in this area. St. Brendan church and school was a branch of the parish of St. Columba in Youngstown and my parents, along with other dedicated people, met to establish this new parish. They met in an old Protestant church on Mahoning Avenue and at their own expense made their plans. The bishop purchased property at 2800 Oakwood Ave. It was understood in the beginning, that there would not only be the Catholic church but also a Catholic school to educate the children.
Many of the pioneers were immigrants and dedicated themselves, not only to the church, but to family living. They made sacrifice after sacrifice in order to do this, let me say, without much help from others, including the government. The school was staffed by the sisters of the Holy Humility of Mary, also known as the Blue Nuns, located in Villa Marie, Pa. The nuns lived in a small house on Mahoning Avenue. They were not allowed a car or even provided transportation.
My mother and father, along with other dedicated parishioners would bring the nuns to St. Elizabeth Hospital once a week where they sewed strips of material together to make blankets for the poor patients in the winter time. When they needed a ride to Villa Marie, my parents were also available to help them. My mother would say their pay was that the nuns would be praying for us.
A mission club called the "Navigators" was very interested in spreading the faith. Arrangements were made to have masses said at the Father Kane Camp in Lake Milton and later, Father Prokop established a mission in North Jackson. The Lake Milton mission developed into St. Catherine's in North Jackson. St. Christine's was formed with the help of St. Patrick's as well as St. Brendan's. Later Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Joseph's in Austintown were formed.
I don't think there is a parish that has come close to the work done by the people of St. Brendan's. I wonder if any of the satellites that have been established have given this a thought, or if there was even a telephone call made to ask if they could be of some assistance.
Please look ahead children, because what goes around comes around.
TOM GILMARTIN Sr.
Graduate of St. Brendan School
Don't turn to crime
As I write this, I'm getting ready to be sentenced for a crime that I committed. If this letter makes it to the newspaper, I would like to publicly apologize to my family, my friends and the members of the community. I used to justify what I did by saying, "It's only marijuana." But in actuality, all I had become was a drug dealer. I know I have broken the law and deserve punishment.
Thirty years ago, I was happily married. My former wife and I were active in our church and its Sunday school program. We were blessed with two healthy sons. If anyone would have told me that I would turn my back on my God and family and turn to a life style of crime, I would have said, "You're out of your mind!" But here I am.
Looking back, I started making bad decisions when I was 13 years old. I started drinking alcohol, a drug that is legal, but that doesn't make it right. If marijuana is ever legalized, that won't make it right either.
I would like to take this opportunity to address young people. I have learned that if you make serious life mistakes, one way or other, you'll suffer consequences. So will your loved ones. Please take this to heart. God loves you and He will give you a second chance. But why not take the time now to think and pray before you jump into a lifestyle of making serious, wrong mistakes. Start making sound, right decisions that will positively affect your life and your future. You'll be so much happier.
I am now happily married with a 31/2 year old son and a 21/2 year old daughter. I also have a healthy relationship with my former wife and our two sons ... all through the grace of God.
Four years ago, before my son was born, I cried out to God to get me out of this life of crime no matter what it took. Little did I know it would come to this, but this is an answered prayer.
WILLIAM C. UMBEL
X Editor's note: Umbel was sentenced Tuesday to 51 months in federal prison on a charge of conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute.
Playing the blame game
Recently I saw a report on the news about a child who brought a gun to school and blamed it on the "GTA: San Andreas" video game. The fact that kids are using M rated video games as ways to get out of trouble makes me furious. I have never heard anything more ridiculous. Just because you see something in a game does not mean if you copy it that it is the game's fault. The game is an inanimate object. It did not make the child do anything.
The only reason these children even have video games to blame is because of inadequate parents. If the parents do not want their kids copying the video games why do they buy them? And if they are worried because their kids are playing the games at a friend's house why do they not say something to that child's parents? Bad parents are the ones who do not stop their child from playing the game; yet, they allow the game to be blamed.
Some parents might say that the game was rated T (Teens) or lower and that is why they let their child play it. I say that it is still their fault. Parents should watch their kids and what they play. They should not just go by the rating. They should play the game first and watch what their child does on the game and determine for themselves whether or not the game is appropriate for their child.
I am 15 and I know that I have never gotten the urge to shoot someone by playing "GTA: San Andreas" or "Timesplitters." I think that children who blame their bad actions on video games are just immature babies who got in trouble and want the easy way out. It is just another example of how society today is getting more and more immoral.
Don't write off the petitions
I was dismayed after reading your June 2 article, "MoveOn targets Hart for DeLay involvement." It appears Rep. Hart is trying to write off and even discredit the June 1 delivery of petitions at her district offices in Lawrence and Allegheny counties because of their connection to MoveOn PAC. However, what she is really doing is writing off the legitimate concerns of her constituents.
In addition to the petition circulated online by MoveOn, which ask Rep. Hart to fire Tom DeLay as majority leader, local citizens circulated their own petition demanding that Hart remove herself from any investigation into DeLay's alleged ethical misconduct due to a conflict of interest. This conflict is a $15,000 contribution she received from one of DeLay's political action committees. This PAC may well be a part of the investigation she is reported to have agreed to lead. The concept is simple: Just like any judge in the court of law, Melissa Hart should step aside to allow the investigation to proceed in a truly nonpartisan and objective manner.
The second petition was a purely local initiative, carried door-to-door by constituents of Rep. Hart's district. No shadowy, left-leaning Washington liberals here. Just average voters, like myself, who signed the petition to send a message to Melissa Hart that we demand accountability and fairness in government.