When I read, in the Post-Gazette, that the Diocese of Pittsburgh was closing my former elementary school, St. Titus in Aliquippa, I felt disconsolate ("Catholic Diocese Plans to Close Four Schools," March 23). Happy memories flooded my mind from those halcyon days in the 1950s and early '60s. St. Titus' enrollment was larger than the high school, college and graduate school I subsequently attended.
Many factors have contributed to St. Titus' downfall, but the most salient and ironic truth is that the reason Catholic immigrants, initially the Irish and Germans, demanded a parochial school system be implemented -- public schools were Protestant-controlled institutions with a strong anti-Catholic agenda -- has dissipated. Finger-pointing, fund-raising and better marketing techniques won't affect the Americanization of Catholicism.
Belatedly, I want to express my enduring gratitude to all those "brides of Christ" -- the Sisters of St. Joseph -- who lovingly labored at St. Titus and touched so many lives in the process; that said, the finest teacher I ever encountered was a laywoman: my third-grade elementary preceptor, Mrs. Baldwin. The classic children's books she took the time to read to her enthralled charges fostered a love of fine literature that lives on in many of her aging disciples.