The Last Days of St. Martin of Tours

Forty years ago this month, David Gonzalez walked down the aisle of the Church of St. Martin of Tours in the Crotona neighborhood of the Bronx, clutching his eighth-grade diploma from the parish school. For the past few weeks, Mr. Gonzalez, now a reporter for The New York Times, has been back at St. Martin’s, this time to perform one of the Roman Catholic Church’s works of mercy: Burying the dead.

St. Martin’s, after 86 years of educating the children of immigrants, became one of 26 archdiocesan elementary schools closing this month “because of the shrinking enrollments and ballooning deficits the Catholic school system has been experiencing for decades,” as Mr. Gonzalez writes.

“The archdiocese says its closings are the first step in reorganizing and strengthening its remaining schools — even though teachers at St. Martin’s and other schools wonder if the shutdowns only foretell the demise of urban parochial education,” Mr. Gonzales reported.

The story of closing parochial schools has been told before, but rarely from this vantage point and with the humanity and compassion that Mr. Gonzalez brings to this report, the Metropolitan cover story on Sunday. You can read it now.

Also in this week’s section: A Sunday spent with the chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem; a test of three new apps from the New York Public Library; and our City Critic’s report on Make Music New York. Comments? Suggestions? Send them to [email protected] or via Twitter to: @amyvirshup.

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