Bonner and Prendie Can Pull Off a “Million Dollar Miracle”

What could be more Catholic than saving these schools?

There is nothing Catholics like better than a good, old-fashioned miracle, and there is a million-dollar miracle in the making right now in Delaware County. In an attempt to save Archbishop Prendergast and Monsignor Bonner high schools in Drexel Hill from closing, the alumni associations and the surrounding community have come together in an inspirational and frantic fundraising drive.

Today is the day that Rev. James Olson, president of Bonner-Prendergast goes to the Archdiocese to make his official appeal to keep the schools open. This comes after an “unofficial meeting” last Friday with Archbishop Charles Chaput. When the closings were announced on January 6th, Olson said he would not go through with an appeal unless he thought there was a good chance for long-term survival for the schools. He attended Friday’s meeting with just under half a million dollars raised and a plan to combine all-girls Archbishop Prendergast with all-boys Monsignor Bonner. The Archbishop encouraged him to continue with his efforts.

That signal from the Archbishop to keep hope alive gave birth to Million Dollar Monday, a series of fundraisers to raise another half million in a weekend. At midnight last night a total of $950,000 had been raised. By the time you read this, Olson should have his million to show the Archdiocese.

It is difficult to believe that even the most hardened Archdiocese bean counter would not be moved by the efforts that went in to raise that money. It is difficult to believe that the Archbishop would allow these schools to close after a community responded to his encouragement to try harder. It is difficult to believe that God would allow this outpouring of love and selfless offering to go unrewarded.

Olson makes his plea to the review panel at 3 o’clock this afternoon. A final decision will be announced in mid-February. The fundraising will continue with events planned almost every night. I went to the Beef and Beer at McGillicuddy’s in Upper Darby on Saturday, and as a Bonner alumnus I was filled with pride at the positive devotion to cause. There wasn’t one person who believed the schools would close. It was an affirmation of their Catholic education where one is taught that anything can happen through hard work and faith.

Olson will not be alone today. His 1,500 students will be with him, along with his teachers and staff and tens of thousands of families who have sent—and will send—their children to Bonner-Prendergast because they believe.

They believe in miracles.

The Catholic Church is founded on that belief and that is why I have no doubt that Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High Schools will survive in the wake of a community affirmation of faith. You watch, miracles still happen.