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home : features : catholic schools

7/6/2017 9:00:00 AM
ALBANY SCHOOL
Cathedral Academy alums gather for 65th reunion
CHATTING BEFORE MASS
CHATTING BEFORE MASS
THE CLASS OF '52 (AMY LUKE PHOTOS)
THE CLASS OF '52 (AMY LUKE PHOTOS)
BY AMY LUKE
STAFF WRITER

"I have no idea where 65 years went to," declared Mary Carmody Sgambellone of Mater Christi parish in Albany. "It's good to see everybody and be with them. It's like we never left."

Mrs. Sgambellone and fellow members of the class of 1952 from Cathedral Academy in Albany gathered June 23 to celebrate their 65th high school reunion.

Of the 44 surviving alumni in the original group of 72, 25 made it to the reunion, which began with a Mass at Albany's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to honor living and deceased classmates.

Rev. Leo Markert, a Cathedral Academy graduate himself -- class of 1954 -- celebrated the liturgy. Afterward, the group went out for a celebratory lunch.

Betty McDermott Condon, an alumna from St. Clare's parish in Colonie, said that their actual graduation ceremony was held June 22, 1952, presided over by then-Bishop Edward Maginn.

Ms. McDermott Condon, along with Mary Anne Cooke Murphy, Mrs. Carmody Sgambellone, Mary Faas Fitzner and Patsy Faragon, helped to organize the reunion, contacting classmates as far away as California, South Carolina, Texas and even Alaska. "We always look forward to being together -- and the beautiful part about it is, even though we're all in our 80s, there's still a great spirit about each other and concern about each other," said Ms. McDermott Condon. "A lot of times, when senior citizens get together, it's not as upbeat; but, with us, we always have a great time."

The classmates chatted before Mass began, checking in on each other's health and catching up on recent events. Mrs. Cooke Murphy, also a parishioner at Mater Christi, remarked on the lack of bullying and the inclusivity of their graduating class.

Even though the students came from different parishes and parts of the Albany area, she explained, "there were no cliques. There was one black girl in our class, and, as she always said, 'I never knew I was different.'"

"I loved my school, and I loved the kids I was with. I did," said Mrs. Faas Fitzner.

Those at the reunion liturgy were looking forward to spending more time with their classmates at lunch and sharing old stories. Many members of the class were involved with sports at Cathedral Academy: Carlo Rosetti was the fullback on the football team; Carlo Briscoli played baseball as a second baseman and John Keane played baseball and basketball.

Mrs. Faas Fitzner and Ms. McDermott Condon were both cheerleaders. Mrs. Cooke Murphy told The Evangelist that they had performed the school cheer at their 50th reunion.

This is not the only time the alumni have gotten together in recent years. "There are about 15 of us that get together three or four times a year," said Ms. McDermott Condon.

Not everyone can always make it because of geographical distance and barriers to traveling, but "nine or 10 of us get together three times per year: before the snowbirds go to Florida, when they get back in the spring, and then at Christmastime," said Mrs. Carmody Sgambellone.

The last formal class reunion, in 2012, was a big dinner combined with other Cathedral Academy alums.

Father Markert has a special connection to the class of 1952: His older brother would have graduated with them, but passed away in his freshman year of high school after contracting leukemia.

Father Markert has remained a dear friend to the class, celebrating Masses over the years for them and others from Cathedral Academy. "God loves you, and so do I," he said.

In his homily, he emphasized that the class of 1952 had learned a lot from their teachers, the Sisters of St. Joseph. They learned "what it means to love, to share, to appreciate, to dedicate their lives to God and our Blessed Mother, and to say yes to God," he said.

Classmates who have gone before them are at peace, said the priest, telling the alumni to love one another.

Apparently, they are already living that message: Mr. Rosetti surprised his school friends by having a sheet cake from Bella Napoli Bakery delivered to the restaurant, while Mrs. Cooke Murphy said the local alumni have already planned dates to get together in September, December and spring 2018.





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