Jerusalem schools have ties to Webster.
COLUMN: So I've Heard
Christmastide is upon us, so it seems appropriate to mention folks involved with the development of Catholic schools in Jerusalem, where Jesus was brought up as a child.
They're aligned with a religious group, the Equestrian Order of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Its history traces to the early church.
Joseph A. Borski Jr., the CPA, a former School Committee and Housing Authority member in Webster and current town moderator, is one of them.
So is Father Michael Roy, the pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Webster; John J. McNally Jr., the one-time White House Assistant to President John F. Kennedy; Ms. Joan Comeau, a retired elementary principal in Oxford; and Msgr. James P. Moroney, once affiliated with Sacred Heart parish in Webster and now rector of St. Paul's Cathedral in Worcester. "I had the honor of nominating Msgr. Moroney for membership in 2005," says Mr. Borski. Mr. McNally was reportedly invested in the world order after his late wife, Irene (Kokocinski) McNally became a Lady in the Order. The couple lived in South Carolina at the time.
I'm out of my element here, but the current emphasis by the Equestrian Order of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is to develop schools in the Holy Land, according to Sir Borski, a Knight Commander with Star. Three-quarters of the Catholic schools in Jerusalem and vicinity are financed by the Knights and Ladies, says Mr. Borski. The world group also plays a financial role in promoting the University of Bethlehem.
The office of Grand Master, once vested in the papacy, is held now by Pennsylvania native John P. Cardinal Foley, appointed head of the world order June 29, 2007, by Pope Benedict. Cardinal Foley is known for his narrations of the Christmas Eve Mass from the Vatican for many years, says Mr. Borski.
Nationally, Sean Patrick O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, is Grand Prior of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Mr. Borski, appears to be the leading officer in our region.
This isn't to rank religions of any kind or order, but to recognize people associated with the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem for efforts that give them a Christmas-like aura through the maintenance of schools in Jerusalem.
It seems that someone with South County roots is going to check on doings in their home town at this time of the year, generally while searching for a friend or relative.
The telephone call the other evening was from David C. Cragen, with 13 away-from-Webster years at a couple of locations in Florida. There's a network that circulates So I've Heard down there, and Dave's in on it, right after pharmacist Bill Dugan in the relay.
All's well with Mr. Cragen and his wife, the former Mary Daskowski, who, I was reminded, was the late Robert "Dapper" Daskowski's kid sister. We started our school day in educator George H. Finnegan's chemistry class as juniors at Bartlett High School, and it was there that an excited Dapper told one and all that his family had welcomed a beautiful baby girl the evening before.
There was general applause, and Mr. Finnegan shook Dapper's hand. Dave was searching for the whereabouts of a cousin who left Dudley a few years ago.
Congratulations to Theresa D. and Robert G. Miller, lifelong area residents, on the recent observance of their 60th wedding anniversary. They're a highly respected couple, with a nice family.
And, a salute to Arthur "Archie" LaPlante, honored in late November on his 90th birthday. "Stick around another 10 years," says Archie, "we'll really have a party then."
Anne and Richard Cazeault live at Colonial Park on Webster Lake, high to a cove on South Pond, actually in an area first sited by the Webster Lake Hotel.
The facility was ill-timed and failed, probably because the hotel-restaurant opened during Prohibition, meaning food, dance and entertainment, but without liquor.
It was subsequently renamed Indian Inn, served as an AFL-CIO union facility, and was probably most successful as Camp Lutherwood, a facility for Lutheran teenagers. It was too successful, probably, and relocated to New Hampshire because the camp required more acreage. Then, the story line says Webster Academy, and finally a state-monitored school. A major fire lowered the curtain to the building's service life.
Through all of this, a portico stood at the main doors to the big building. Its pillars were on the grounds when the Cazeaults decided to build their waterfront home on one of the lots.
Mr. Cazeault, a director and current president of the Webster Lake Association, learned the origin of the pillars through photographs provided by his mother, taken during its Indian Inn era.
The couple had the columns rehabilitated and incorporated into the design of their home.
It might be said that a reminder of all that transpired from Prohibition and the Webster Lake Hotel stands at the front door to the Cazeaults' lake residence because they seized an opportunity to remember.
How did I learn this? By diverting Mr. Cazeault's attention from his marketing list a couple of Thursdays ago.
When cousins Rita and Pauline were just little children, probably 75 or more years ago, their families were visiting with their grandparents in Webster's Gore area. The little ladies were out playing in their grandparents' back yard when they came across some uniform-size pebbles, believing they had discovered some gold nuggets.
Their hopes were quickly dashed, but the discovery remained with them. It became a constant source of "remember." Seizing upon this, Rita Ondrasek got a few pebbles from the same general area, prevailed upon her son, Paul Ondrasek, who sprayed them gold for her, and inserted them last week in the Christmas card that she sent to her cousin, Pauline Jacob, now of Charlton.
The electronic greeting cards, especially the five-stage one from Walter Biadasz of Vero Beach, Fla. ... The reindeer gear worn at McDonald's of Webster by shift leader Kelly, and with a remote movement to the horns ... The region's neighborhoods, many with more expansive Christmas lighting displays this year ... The big, matching Christmas trees to both sides of the main alter in Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Webster. ... For the record, Christmas is a federal holiday in the United States, designated by Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant in 1870. There's good reason, then, to offer "Merry Christmas" wishes.