From a bad situation comes good… OLR Burglary Aftermath

I know I just posted a long-winded blog about the Brandon Flowers show, so you may be sick of me by now, but I just had to post this quick blog about something awesome that came out of something bad…

First, the bad…Last Sunday Night/Monday morning, my old Bronx Catholic Grammar school Our Lady of Refuge was broken into during a rash of burglaries against Catholic schools in the neighborhood.  Rather than interpret it, let me just share the words directly from the pastor and neighborhood guardian and personal hero of mine – Monsignor (but to me, he will always be Father) John Jenik.


From The Pastor —-    November 29th, 2010

Today was not one of OLR’s best days. Burglars gained entrance to the school by breaking one of the south gym windows late Sunday night or in the early hours of Monday morning.

The principal’s office was ransacked and the storage closet door was smashed. $1,000.00 in cash from sales of chocolates and $300.00 in cash from Kindergarten students for tickets to a Christmas show was taken along with 2 laptops, a scanner, and brand new digital still and video cameras. Thankfully only property was involved; there was no loss of life, no one  was injured. The worst darkness of  the streets entered the peaceful and love filled world of OLR…a powerful reminder that all is not well in our neighborhood.

Five other Northwest Bronx churches were broken into: Catholic – St. John’s, Our Lady of Angels, St. Ann, … AME Cosmopolitan, Kingsbridge Evangelical Lutheran. Three are in the 52 Police Pct. – OLR, St. Ann , AME Cosmopolitan … three are in the 50 Pct. – St. John, O.L. Angels and Kingsbridge Evangelical Lutheran.  A meeting tomorrow at Bronx Police Headquarters will iron out the details on agreeing that there is a pattern to these crimes and that the NYPD has to set up an entity to coordinate an investiagtion that will extend beyond individual precinct boundaries.

When we heard about this on the news, quite a few of us went to the Facebook page for Our Lady of Refuge Alumni to see what we could do.   Lots of information on the robbery and how to help OLR was up there.    It seems that it worked – I was checking the OLR site this morning and found this message from Father Jenik…

Phenomenal Response to Break In —-    December 1st, 2010

The response to the Monday burglary at OLR has been phenomenal. Donations from alumni, former parishioners, strangers have been coming through the internet, the mail, and dropped off in person.

They have ranged from $1.00 to $3,000.00. Two standout…the $1.00 from a 3rd grade student…it was her snack money…and $300.00 from a man who was in his car going into the Target on Kingsbridge Road. When he heard about the stolen $300.00 the Kindergartners had saved for a Christmas show at Lehman College, he turned around and drove straight to OLR and dropped off $300.00 in cash. He would not give his name, preferrng to remain anonymous , thankful that he was able to help. The local funeral home is delivering new replacement laptops. It goes on and on. Any excess money beyond the cost of replacing the stolen cash, the electronic equipment, and the insurance deductible, will be used for an alarm system to protect our school and church. To all who are helping us with their prayers and donations, a heartfelt “Thank You”. May God bless each and everyone of you. Fr. Jenik

It was wonderful to see that message this morning…  It looks like the “kids” from Our Lady of Refuge really came thru for the school.  OLR is one of the only schools that I felt cared enough about me growing up to be worth helping.  Other schools are not bad, but they treated you more like a number rather than a person.  Not so with Our Lady of Refuge and particularly Father Jenik…

Our Lady of Refuge could still use your help, so if you want to donate, heres what you do:

Send or drop off a check to the rectory at:

Our Lady of Refuge
290 East 196th St.
Bronx NY 10458

Or you can even donate online via Paypal or Credit Card to OLR at:
(If you don’t trust direct donation links, just go to the site and click the “Donations” button)

I’m pretty proud  to have been a part of this.  I know Facebook gets a bum rap sometimes, but this is just one of the ways that the “connecting with old friends and classmates on  Facebook” worked for the good.

Late 12/3 Update:   The story made it to NY1 News…Link at:

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