The Scandals at St. Gertrude the Great

West Chester, Ohio

The Full Documented Story


November 7, 2009

SGG School News

by Fr. Cekada

Fr. Cekada issues a panic-stricken "All is Smiles" letter about St. Gertrude the Great School.  In a letter to parents replete with feigned merriment, poor Fr. Cekada frantically searches his files for anything good to say about the school, and reveals in the process the depths to which they have already sunk.  Notice the pleas for help!  We reproduce his letter below without further commentary.

Dear Parents,

Bishop Dolan's announcement of Father Ramolla's sudden departure understandably caused a great deal of anxiety about the future of our school.

This e-mail is to keep you apprised of what we will be doing this coming quarter, some recent activities, and to ask you for your help.


All our current faculty members have assured me of their continued commitment to teaching at our school, and of their love for their work.

For the time being, Bishop Dolan will be teaching the religion courses for grades 1–2, and the middle grades. Talk about over-qualified!

We hope to have another priest available for this course after Thanksgiving

I will be teaching conversational German in the high school. I had a very good German teacher in the minor seminary, and I picked up conversation very quickly; it may have had something to do with all the drinking songs he taught us.

I taught my first class on Friday and had a really good time. It's amazing how quickly some old skills come back.


Today, our high school students, together with our literature teacher, Mrs. Kinnett, went to a production of Shakespeare's play Cymbeline.

Despite the temporary lack of an organist for the daily school Masses, the children are singing very well without organ accompaniment. I'm amazed at their ability to do some fairly complicated hymns.

We have potential organist in the middle grades. He's picked up how to accompany simple Gregorian chants on his own, using the "square notes" -- something many conservatory-trained organists cannot do.

I gave him a book of simple organ interludes yesterday; let's see where he goes with it. I also showed him where I keep the Bach in my music cabinet — and told him that every good organist has to aim for that top drawer.

On Thursday, our children made the traditional November cemetery visit and prayed the Rosary for the Poor Souls.

The children in Mrs. Johns' class were inspired to create, entirely on their own, an elaborate 3-D display depicting Columbus and his encounter with the Indians. 

Parents' Meetings?

One parent mentioned that, in light of the recent difficulties, it had been suggested that a general meeting of all school parents take place immediately.

I am sure that this proposal was made with the best of intentions. However, having weathered various school, seminary, parish, priest, nun, lay trustee and legal crises during my more than thirty years as a traditional Catholic priest, I can assure you that such gatherings generally cause more problems than they resolve.

They easily become a forum for venting and for uncharitable remarks, especially if emotions are still running high, as still seems to be the case.

I suggest instead that each family in the school make a Rosary Novena to Our Mother of Good Counsel, beginning tomorrow.

She came to our aid in a wonderful way during some financial difficulties several years ago. We should pray to her for peace of heart, charity in speech, and perseverance in our resolution both to avoid division and to continue the good work of our little school.

What Parents Can Do to Help

I asked a parent I spoke with today for positive suggestions to improve things at the school.

He said that in general, it would be good to have more direct involvement by parents as volunteers in activities during the school day. Some of you would be able to help out by coming in to teach a course (art, or some specialty), or to help out occasionally as an aide. One parent, he told me, could even teach higher-level math, something I sure wish I had know about earlier this year!

Since we now have no one to teach First Year German to the high school girls (I can't be in two places at once), I would like to have one of you volunteer to give them a home-ec course, or something similarly enriching for the young ladies. We would need you from 1:15 PM to 2 PM, four days a week.

Please, someone, volunteer!

I would also like one of the parents to put out a simple little e-mail newsletter like this about school activities from time to time.

We are also open to other suggestions. Do a little brainstorming, and let us know.

* * * * *

Be positive, turn a deaf ear to nay-sayers, commit to helping as a regular volunteer — and pray to Our Mother of Good Counsel for the success of our school.

Yours in Christ,

Father Cekada