Intensely proud of “McQ”?

You see all kinds of bumper stickers on cars, but here in Rochester, N.Y., you’ll often see one or both of the ovals shown in the photo above left; OLM and McQ.

“OLM” stands for Our Lady of Mercy High School, while “McQ” stands for McQuaid Jesuit High School. Alumni and parents and grandparents of Mercy and McQuaid students drive around town proudly displaying the oval stickers. They’re a VERY common sight on the backs of cars here in Rochester.

Back when I was in high school in the early-1970s, there were several Catholic high schools in the area. There was McQuaid and Aquinas for boys and Mercy, St. Agnes, and Nazareth Academy for girls. Bishop Kearney (my high school*) and Cardinal Mooney were semi-coed with classes for the boys on one side of the school and classes for girls on the other side. King’s Prep was for boys contemplating the priesthood. St. Agnes, Nazareth, Cardinal Mooney, and King’s Prep have since shut down and Aquinas has switched to coed education.

McQuaid Jesuit Middle School and High School, named after the first Catholic bishop of Rochester, Bernard J. McQuaid (d. 1909), was founded in 1954 and since then has been considered Rochester’s most elite and prestigious secondary school and a launching pad to advanced education and a lucrative, professional career. Numerous doctors, lawyers, and other area professionals are alumnus of McQuaid. There are currently around 900 boys enrolled at McQuaid, 300 in the middle school and 600 in the high school. The school’s current tuition is $13,600 per year. Yes, that’s thirteen-thousand and six-hundred dollars for one year of high school! Tuition at all-girls Our Lady of Mercy is $14,200 per year.

As the scandal of priest sexual abuse began making headlines in the Rochester newspaper, many in the area were convinced that the Jesuits of McQuaid were above such sordidness. One of our grand-nephews was attending McQuaid several years ago and when my wife raised a concern to our niece, she replied emphatically, “The teachers at McQuaid are Jesuits. They don’t do that kind of thing.”

However, last January, the newspaper began publishing reports that several of the Jesuit teachers and administrators at McQuaid had been sexually abusing students. See here. Two weeks ago, allegations were brought forward that McQuaid’s most famous teacher, Jesuit priest William O’Malley, had regularly abused at least one student during his tenure there.

Catholic parents and grandparents of McQuaid students proudly drive around town with “McQ” ovals on the back of their cars, advertising that their son or grandson is attending the most prestigious and academically elite high school in Rochester. But what are those boys learning in that school? Are they learning about Jesus Christ of the Bible and the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone? I can guarantee you that they are NOT. Are any of McQuaid’s students going to school each day fearing the advances of predatory, celibate Jesuit priests? I don’t know if that’s the case currently, but it was surely the case in the past, as we’re only now finding out.

*I almost referred to my old Catholic high school, Bishop Kearney, as my “alma mater.” But I see that “alma mater” actually means “nourishing mother” and that phrase certainly doesn’t describe BK, where I never heard the Gospel and where predatory Irish Christian Brothers prowled the hallways.

Above: McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, N.Y. No sign of the Gospel in its classrooms.

36 thoughts on “Intensely proud of “McQ”?

  1. “*I almost referred to my old Catholic high school, Bishop Kearney, as my “alma mater.” But I see that “alma mater” actually means “nourishing mother” and that phrase certainly doesn’t describe BK, where I never heard the Gospel and where predatory Irish Christian Brothers prowled the hallways.”

    I have never ever THOUGHT to look up what “alma mater” meant! One of those words people use and probably don’t realize what they are saying!!!
    Great post!
    Praise God!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Beth! Yes, I had no idea what “alma mater” actually meant until I googled it as a precaution for this post. McQ is a good example of how Roman Catholics are intensely proud of their institutions, but have no relationship with Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My husband didn’t realize it meant that either! (And he’s a college graduate from the University of Illinois-Champaign!)

        We have a huge Roman Catholic school in our parts called Bishop McNamara-even Christians send their kids there just to play football-Some send their children they’re under the pretense that it’s a good school with no troubles – but when I was in high school some of the biggest partiers went there!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I imagine there are some genuine Christian parents who opt to send their children to such schools as McQuaid, Mercy, and Bishop McNamara for their educational high standards and discipline, but they’re unwittingly sending their kids into a spiritual snake pit. Of course, spiritual snake pit would describe public schools as well these days.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yessss!
        My daughter-in-law was sent to Bishop McNamara because her parents felt that the school system they were in wasn’t any good. She said she can remember having to go to some camp where they said the rosary. She said to her it was so creepy she wouldn’t go.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am glad you took a moment to find out what “alma mater” meant before using it. I have done the same in my writing – paused to ask myself if the word that comes to mind from frequently hearing it being used but not being 100% sure of its meaning is really the best one to use.

    How very sad that those adults in schools abuse children. It boggles my mind how they can even consider rationalizing their actions.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Steeny. Yes, strange how I’ve used “alma mater” innumerable times over the years but never knew what it meant exactly. Yes, those schools were/are snake pits – temporally and spiritually.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can imagine the snake pit they’d be. Pretty much any school over here is the blind leading the blind.

        I started taking my word usage more seriously ever since I heard an old friend and sister in Christ back in Alaska in the early 90s have an exchange like this with her young children:

        Child: “Kawabunga!”

        Mom: “Do you know what ‘kawabunga’ means?”

        Child: “No. I just heard my friend say it.”

        Mom: “We shouldn’t use words if we don’t know what they mean. We might be saying curse words in another language for all we know.”

        That stuck with me all these years. I like it.

        (Actually, I just looked up “kawabunga” on DuckDuckGo, but haven’t found a solid definition yet.)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ryan! Yes, as you know the 18th century European monarchs were so resentful of the Jesuits’ political maneuvering and interference that they demanded the order be suppressed/banned. Of course, the Jesuits are now one of the most liberal orders within Catholicism.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, sister! Yes, it’s disturbing to examine these things closely. The great irony is that McQuaid is looked upon as a standard of excellence in our community, when it’s actually rotten to the core, temporally and spiritually.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Tom. Keep up the good work you are doing coming against the kingdom of darkness with God’s light and truth.
    God is using you mightily brother . Thank you for your commitment to the truth .

    Liked by 1 person

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