Father Dan Fitzpatrick, SJ, Moderator | Xavier High School | 30 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011 | 212-337-7551 | brooklynprep@gmail.com
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A Message from Fr. Paul Dugan, S.J. to the Brooklyn Prep Alumni

 

Dear Friends,

                  I was a scholastic at Brooklyn Prep from 1950 through 1953. I am a retired Jesuit now living at Murray-Weigel Hall, which is on the edge of the beautiful Fordham campus. Most of my years of apostolic activity were spent upstate in Buffalo. As a result I have been out of touch with you. Brooklyn Prep has taught me a great deal about what it means to be a good Jesuit. So, thank you.

                          How good Brooklyn treated me

 The Brooklyn Prep students surrounded me from a seemingly threatening person on the subway. Neighbors applauded me for helping a lady in distress with her heavy groceries. Friday night at the Knights of Columbus, at a nearby table fellow diners picked up our bill. At a parish fair in Brooklyn, practically during my first days in Brooklyn, I was given a small radio which I used to keep in contact with Buffalo. Father Ed Maloney and I would often go to see the Dodgers. Father Maloney would always have tickets for the games. The stadium was so close that on a warm spring day you could hear the game from the Prep. The students were such avid Dodgers’ fans that they could tell who was batting and the score just from the amount of noise that they heard!     

                     Debating at the Prep

 
At that time Fr. Tom Harvey, S.J., the Headmaster, would assign you your class schedule and what extracurricular activities that you would have during the year. My extracurricular activity was moderating the freshmen and sophomore debate teams. My good friend, Father Maloney, was the moderator for the junior and senior debate teams. At first I was afraid to hold a meeting because I knew nothing about debating! Finally I got interested and held meetings for the debate team. I got so interested in debating that when I was asked if I wanted to change extracurricular activities, I said no. This led to some big things in my career as debate moderator. I ran a freshmen and sophomore debating tournament throughout the Jesuit New York Province. Brooklyn Prep won both of these tournaments defeating two eminent debaters, future Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia and future provincial/ future president of Canisius College, Fr.Vincent Cooke, S.J. I would like acknowledge all of the great debaters I had here at Brooklyn Prep including Harold Vitting, ‘54.    

                                                     The Facts of Life

 

         In the Jesuit community if you came in late for dinner, you had to have the permission of the Rector to enter. One day I saw the Headmaster of the Prep turned away by the Rector because he was two minutes late for dinner. Two months later I was ten minutes late for dinner; but, I was welcomed with open arms because I was holding two large debate trophies! I would put these trophies on the Rector’s table. My third headmaster in three years Father J. Vincent Watson,S.J., a good friend, would challenge me by saying “Dugan, a fourth year but not here!” This was a reference to finishing the teaching period of our training in three years and then moving on to Theology. In those days scholastics were always afraid that they would be held up and be assigned to an extra year of teaching. Fr. Watson’s remarks were made in gest, I think!

Another fact of life story. My debaters did so well that we were invited to go to a regional tournament in Philadelphia. The Rector gave me a hundred dollars to put toward the trip, but Father Watson made me give the money back! It was Father Watson’s job to give me the money. The Facts of Jesuit Life!   

 It was Christmas time 1951 and I was a little homesick. I wanted to go up to Buffalo for Christmas. There was one little problem I needed a call from a local parish to help them at that busy time. It was getting closer and closer to Christmas and I still did not get a call. Out of desperation I called my mother to see if she could call a local parish up in Buffalo to see if they needed my help. As luck would have it, I happened to be in the Rector’s office when he received a call from the famous Monsignor Boland. The Rector was impressed. Needless to say, I was able to go up to Buffalo for Christmas.    

                                         Closing
  I want to say thank you the Brooklyn Prep Alumni. I owe you so much. I would appreciate a phone call (718 – 430 – 4974) and/or a visit to Murray-Weigel Hall. I will treat you to a nice Jesuit lunch! Please remember me in your prayers.

 

Yours in Christ,

Father Paul J Dugan S.J.


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