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Late educator, priest remembered

September 2, 2012
The Herald-Star

To the editor:

A great educator died last week, the Rev. John Belfield, who taught at Catholic Central, among other places.

I'll never forget the first day of school when he gave his class rules. One of those rules was that if you got straight "As" on all your tests and missed one homework assignment, the best grade you could get was a "B." If you missed two homework assignments, the best grade you could get was a "C." If you missed three homework assignments, you automatically failed.

Then he introduced us to a student who was taking the class for a second time. To this day, I can remember his name. Belfield said that student needed the class to graduate, since it was a required course. He said he would fail his own mother if she missed three homework assignments.

I can remember all this, and it happened exactly 50 years ago, but I can't remember where I put my telephone. Few knew that he served in the military and also worked in a coal mine.

I would like to talk about another priest. Monsignor Paul L. Richter served Steubenville's St. Anthony's Parish for more than 50 years. I never saw him get angry or even raise his voice. When he finally did retire, he was interviewed on the radio. One of the questions asked was how many altar boys did he have. He said he had dozens and dozens. The interviewer said that if one didn't show up, he could be easily replaced. No, monsignor said, because not one family owned a telephone.

I read at one time that St. Anthony's was the most impoverished parish in the Diocese of Columbus in the 1930s.

Just about every young person today carries his or her own personal phone.

James Rinaldo


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