Priest brings knack for healing to Historic Church of St. Patrick

Share Tweet Share Email Comments Print Though he considers himself semiretired, Father Richard McAlear is often on the road three weeks out of the month for his healing ministry. Enlarge Father Richard McAlear remembers clearly the first time anyone asked him to lay hands on a suffering believer. The request caught him more than a little off guard. “I had never even seen anyone pray over someone,” Father McAlear, 74, recalled recently. “How do you do this?” He directed the question toward the woman who had suggested it, a Catholic and one-time Pentecostal who, like the rest of the attendees of the prayer meeting that night, was concerned about a companion suffering back pain so severe that she struggled to walk. “And she said, ‘Just lay hands on her and ask Jesus to heal her.’” IF YOU GO:What: Healing Mass celebrated by Father Richard McAlearWhen: 7 p.m. ThursdayWhere: Historic Church of St. Patrick, 130 Avondale Ave.Admission: FreeInformation: “I said, ‘Well, you do it,’ ” he continued. “She said, ‘No, you’re the priest.’ ” So the young priest laid his hands on the woman, prayed, and blessed her. When her symptoms seemed to ebb, Father McAlear recalled, “I was more surprised than anybody.” It was a hesitant beginning to a healing ministry that would continue for more than 40 years and take him to destinations across the country and around the world. Even in what Father McAlear today considers a semiretirement, he said he’s often on the road three weeks out of a month. Each stop over the years has presented an opportunity for the priest to lay hands on those who come before him and to pray for the relief of their physical or emotional suffering, gestures that he explained draw on a charism, or spiritual gift, of the Holy Spirit. The efficacy of these blessings, as first experienced by the woman with the back Continue Reading

Tennessee Vols football lands Jeremy Banks, Jerome Carvin of Cordova

Jerome Carvin looked into the television cameras Wednesday and channeled his inner president."All Memphis football recruits, come to Tennessee," he said. "Make Tennessee great again."Carvin and his Cordova teammate Jeremy Banks will do their parts after signing national letters of intent to play for the Vols during Wednesday's early signing day activities. The two were joined by wide receiver Jacolby Hewitt, who signed with Indiana."It feels great," said the 6-4, 330-pound Carvin, who had offers from a host of SEC and Power 5 schools. "I just felt comfortable with Tennessee. I visited multiple times and it kind of felt like home. I want to bring Tennessee football back to promise."(New vols coach Jeremy) Pruitt, he's a great guy. I met him when he was at Alabama so we've had a relationship. The staff is great ... I feel like they're ready to turn Tennessee football back around." More: Signing day for Tennessee Vols football Carvin chose the Vols over Mississippi State and actually showed up for his signing in a maroon sport coat. His announcement was greeted with loud applause — bolstered by several family members who made the drive up from the New Orleans area — and a big hug from Banks."It was Mississippi State when I woke up this morning," Carvin said. "But I just prayed about it, thought about, talked with my parents. Tennessee is best for me."It's also best for Banks, who wore a Nebraska jacket before ripping open his shirt Superman style to reveal orange."I was just playing with them for a little bit," he said. "I was enjoying the moment; it's my first and last time doing this. It means a lot because this day is not going to determine the next four years but also the next 40 years." Rexrode: Tennessee Vols scrambling, Vanderbilt climbing as football early signing period hits The 6-2, 215-pound Banks, who rushed for 1,960 yards and scored 32 touchdowns in 10 games, visited Tennessee over the weekend and was impressed with what he Continue Reading

Padua finds composure, sweeps St. Mark’s in semis

PIKE CREEK—Top-seeded Padua Academy was unable to find a rhythm in the first game and a half of its DIAA Volleyball State Tournament semifinal matchup against fourth-seeded St. Mark’s Thursday night. Around the midway point of the second game, the Pandas settled down as they controlled the rest of match to sweep the Spartans (26-24, 25-19, 25-12) and advance to the state championship game.            “I think nerves kind of got out with us in the beginning in the first. In the second set, I think we all kind of realized it’s just a normal game, just like what we play in the regular season,” Padua’s Emily Jerome said. “So, we just calmed down, saw what we had to do and just went for everything. Nothing drops and get every ball over.” More: McKean, St. Mark's win shootout thrillers in DIAA soccer More: CR reaches football playoffs with win over Dover             Neither team established momentum as the largest lead was three points in the first frame, but the Pandas found a way to scratch out the victory in the set as they scored the final two points on kills by Jessica Molen and Jarome to give them a 25-16 victory.            Padua trailed 13-12 midway through the second game, but that’s was when it calmed down and closed the set with a 13-6 run to earn a 25-19 victory. The Pandas carried that momentum into the third game, jumping out to an early lead and never looking back to earn a 25-12 victory and complete the sweep.            The win sets up a matchup with rival Ursuline Academy in the championship game Monday night at the Bob Carpenter Center, and Padua is looking forward to playing the Raiders.            “Ursuline is always a Continue Reading

Donuts, burgers: New restaurants in Cottonwood, Jerome

Although I seldom receive credit, I'm pretty sure I invented the staycation.Travel is my job, so when I take a day off, I stay put. After a busy few weeks on the road, I decided to stick close to home. I never wandered far from my Cottonwood neighborhood but still enjoyed a relaxing and well-fed day. Here's how it went.My first stop is one of Cottonwood's newest eateries, Firehouse Donuts. Open since November, this little den of decadence serves gourmet doughnuts, pastries and chocolates made from fresh and local ingredients. It's in the city's original firehouse, built in 1927, with walls constructed of World War I ammunition boxes filled with rocks and bolted together.Managing partner Nisreen Diab does the baking and concocted the slate of flavors. Besides traditional favorites you'll find espresso dolce, s'mores, berries 'n' cream, Mexican hot chocolate and milky cereal bar — a doughnut crowned with a spoonful of Fruity Pebbles.I snag two of the top sellers, the creme brulee and the maple-bacon bar. The latter is like eating a strip of applewood-smoked bacon that's wearing a plush doughnut backpack. The scorched glaze of the creme brulee crunches like the windowpane of a gingerbread house. If you're going to indulge, I say don't be shy.With a satisfying sugar buzz kicking in, I aim for Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Dead Horse occupies a rare stretch of riparian woodlands along the Verde River and spreads across high desert slopes dotted with creosote, mesquite and crucifixion thorn. There's a beautiful network of trails rambling into the limestone hills. It's a lovely place for mountain bikers or old-school hikers like me to rack up some mileage.But I'm on vacation. I'm taking it easy from everything, including hard-core workouts. I head instead toward the water. Three lagoons are fringed with cattails and surrounded by cottonwoods. Picnic tables are nestled in the shade. Anglers hold down positions along the shoreline. The level paths are popular with Continue Reading

Storied St. Jerome’s and seven other Bronx Catholic  schools put on notice for closure in 2013

Among the eight Bronx Catholic schools identified as “at risk” for closure by the Archdiocese of New York is storied St. Jerome, which opened its school doors more than 140 years ago on Alexander Ave. Alumni of the school, which now serves a large Mexican population, were saddened by the news, announced Monday. In total, 26 schools within the archdiocese are on the list. “I feel strongly that the mission of the Catholic church in New York has always been to educate the immigrant population,” said John Walzer, head of the alumni association, who graduated from St. Jerome in 1956. “What’s going to happen to all these children that are in the inner city? Where are they going to go?” Four schools in the Northwest/South Bronx region and four schools in the Northeast Bronx region have been deemed struggling. They are Holy Spirit, Our Lady of Angels, Our Lady of Mercy, St. Jerome, Blessed Sacrament, St. Anthony, St. Mary and St. Mary Star of the Sea. St. Anthony and Blessed Sacrament have the lowest enrollments, with 160 and 175 children, respectively. This decision was the first major one by the new reorganization committees set up by the archdiocese last year. A final decision will be made in early January. “We looked at the budget for the schools, and then the decision had to be made how we would meet that budget,” said Rev. John Jenik, a member of the committee. “There’s no way you could support a school in a poorer area where the incomes are not that high to pay the full freight for the education of the child.” He added the boards would be looking for a “drastic turnaround” strategy from pastors and principals who wanted to appeal the decision in meetings this week. Superintendent of Schools Timothy McNiff said everything is going according to the “Pathways to Excellence” plan laid out about three years ago. “Although it may appear, this is Continue Reading

Jerome man disqualified after winning ‘Design Challenge’

UPDATE: Jerome furniture designer Tim McClellan initially was named the winner of "Ellen's Design Challenge," but he was disqualified after his project was said to be too similar in concept to a console created by a designer not on the show. Katie Stout was told she was the winner in an epilogue to the finale. ———— Original finale preview below:Fans of Jerome furniture designer Tim McClellan will learn Monday, March 2, whether he wins the Ellen DeGeneres design competition.In the HGTV show finale, the self-taught furniture maker faces Katie Stout, who crafts paper-pulp tables and eyeball-shaped rugs in her Brooklyn, N.Y., studio.They beat out Jose Gaspar de Jesus of Los Angeles, who launched a line of art deco-influenced furniture in 2009, to be the final contestants on "Ellen's Design Challenge." RELATED: Ellen nabs Jerome furniture maker for HGTV showThe winner takes home $100,000 and a spread on HGTV magazine.McClellan is sworn to secrecy, unable to say if he wins or loses.The 45-year-old makes high-end Western-style furniture from reclaimed wood in the old Mingus High School gymnasium. The founder of Western Heritage Furniture in 1991, McClellan can say that he was the only contestant recruited by DeGeneres after she watched his furniture-making video on YouTube. The other five contestants applied for a spot on the show. RELATED: Jerome man disqualified after winning 'Design Challenge'McClellan's hometown is listed as Durango, Colo., where he moved to make the custom vintage car. "It's where I was when they contacted me and began the eight months of vetting," he explained.The show airs at 7 p.m. Check local listings and Western Heritage Furniture, 208 Main St., Jerome. 928-639-1424, Continue Reading

Ellen nabs Jerome furniture maker for HGTV show

Jerome furniture designer Tim McClellan nearly turned down the invitation by Ellen DeGeneres to compete on her new HGTV show.Although flattered, he was engrossed in building a replica of a 1940 pickup and reluctant to take time off.His 17-year-old daughter, Riley, convinced him otherwise. With the wisdom of a media-savvy teen, she said something like, "It's Ellen, Dad. You can't say no. Do the show."McClellan agreed, joining five other furniture designers in a six-episode furniture-making challenge. The first show of "Ellen's Design Challenge" airs 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26.Contestants have less than 48 hours to construct a piece to impress the judges, or they risk elimination. Helping them out: HGTV handymen Chip Wade, Jeff Devlin and Matt Muenster as their on-call carpenters. DeGeneres drops in and offers advice."I thought they all brought something different to the table, pardon the pun," DeGeneres tells the camera.The last designer standing wins the grand prize — $100,000 — and the right to brag.Did McClellan win? Did he meet DeGeneres?He can't say until the winner is crowned. Until then, McClellan, a designer making Western-style furniture from reclaimed wood in the old Mingus High School gymnasium, is sworn to secrecy.McClellan, who founded Western Heritage Furniture in 1991, can say that he was the only contestant recruited by DeGeneres after she watched his furniture-making video on YouTube. The other five contestants applied for a spot on the show.Although comfortable in front of the camera, McClellan began as a nervous competitor. "I was the only self-taught furniture maker and the only one not college-educated," the 45-year-old said. "I worried I would not know all the professional jargon."McClellan began designing and making furniture after betting a girlfriend he could make the lodgepole bed she wanted to buy for $1,200 cheaper. He had never built a bed before, but grew up in West Virginia "making about anything I could."In high school, he Continue Reading

Dining around Arizona: 11 best restaurants in Cottonwood, Jerome

The Verde Valley has grown into a popular getaway for wine lovers. Boutique vineyards thrive in the fertile volcanic soil and numerous tasting rooms have popped up in Old Town Cottonwood and on the narrow streets of Jerome.So it’s no surprise that terrific restaurants have opened as well. Good wine and good food just naturally goes together. In addition to the art galleries, antiques shops, historic sites and scenic beauty, the Verde Valley has become a culinary destination. That’s a big win-win for travelers.On your next road trip, treat your taste buds to these excellent eateries in Cottonwood and Jerome.RELATED: Best restaurants in Grand Canyon, Williams | Best restaurants in Lake Havasu City |  Great restaurants in Sedona | Great restaurants in Tucson | Great restaurants in YumaThis swank pizzeria in Old Town has helped define Cottonwood’s rising culinary scene, creating a spot that is sophisticated and authentic.Chef Michelle Jurisin traveled to Italy to become certified by Verace Pizza Napoletana. Pizzas are made the traditional way, using imported Caputo flour to form the hand-stretched crusts. They’re topped with fresh ingredients cooked in the wood-burning oven.The most popular is Cire’s ($14) with house-made Italian sausage, pepperoni, ricotta, mushrooms, basil and fresh mozzarella. The Meat Pie ($15) comes heaped with pepperoni, prosciutto, sopressata, Italian sausage and mozzarella.It's hard to believe the stylish space filled with shiny marble tabletops, weathered wood and custom ironwork is a former garage. A beautiful stone patio with benches and comfy couches surrounds a fire pit and bocce court. It’s a great place to relax with one of the specialty cocktails.Details: 1060 N. Main St., Cottonwood. 928-202-3597, AZCENTRAL ON SOCIAL: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | PinterestEverything Continue Reading

Rev. John Grange has fought to stay with flock at St. Jerome’s Church

About 100 people paused after Mass at St. Jerome's Church on Alexander Ave. on a recent Sunday morning to hold a rally. That's nothing new for this church; its pastor has always spoken out, organized protests, held marches and prayer vigils and hosted meetings to try to correct all manner of social ills. But this gathering was different. For one thing, the Rev. John Grange wasn't there.And for another, it was about him.The parishioners were drumming up support to keep Grange at St. Jerome's, where he has served for 30 years, and has become an iconic figure in the Mexican immigrant community.Grange was among dozens of priests who have been told by the archdiocese they are being transferred to other parishes.Grange was due to embark on a long-planned pilgrimage to the Holy Land, so he went to see Edward Cardinal Egan to make his case to stay in the parish, where he was raised among other children of Irish immigrants in the 1940s and 1950s.A priest friend of Grange's said he was first told he'd be moved to nearby St. Luke's, on E.138th St. and Cypress Ave. Then, the Cardinal reportedly told him he'd have something in the mail when he returned from his trip, telling him where his next assignment will be."Before he left, he said, 'Pray for me,'" said Graciana Castellanos, who works in the rectory. "He said, 'I have to follow the rules and go where they send me.'"Whether he is going a few blocks away or across the archdiocese, it's too far for some at St. Jerome's."Most of the people are just sad," said Castellanos, 26, who organized the Sunday rally.These priests who served the borough's worst neighborhoods through the darkest days are dying off, with few replacements coming into the seminary. Why not show some appreciation for Grange while he's still here, while he's still trying to do some good, and let him stay in the parish where the people need and want him, and where he wants to be? He's 68, has been a priest more than 40 years, and he's been there for three Continue Reading

Parents livid over Mott Haven’s St. Pius school’s surprise closing

Parents and community members are rallying to save St. Pius V School in Mott Haven following a recent announcement that it will close in June. The Archdiocese of New York plans to shut the elementary school at 413 E. 144th St. and five other programs in neighboring counties due to "escalating operating costs and declining enrollment." But parents said they had been in the dark about their school's financial woes. "It was a total shock to me and the entire school community. We had no idea whatsoever that this was happening," said PTA President Tania Caraballo-Catus. According to the archdiocese, during the last four years, the school's enrollment has dropped from more than 300 students to its current count of 229. "We may lack resources, but our teachers are truly dedicated and have been here for years," said Caraballo-Catus, 35, who has a daughter in pre-K. "Our students are doing well, so to me, low enrollment is not a sufficient enough reason to close the school." Parents and community leaders have organized rallies and petitioned to meet with archdiocese officials. "We have very few good schools in this neighborhood and we need to keep what we have," said community activist Awilda Cordero, who heads the group Emergency Rights. In a statement, archdiocese officials said the state has offered "no relief for parents with children in religious and independent schools." "While there has been significant political rhetoric about helping religious and independent schools...there has been little action," read the statement, released March 7. Students from St. Pius are to transfer to the nearby St. Jerome School on Alexander Ave. In addition to the closures, the archdiocese announced that St. Francis of Rome School and St. Anthony School will merge. The new school will be located in the building now used by St. Anthony at 4520 Matilda Ave. Yosette Lugo, 34, who has two daughters at St. Pius, said she would be at a loss if the school closes. "The school is like a family," Continue Reading