It was a thrill to read Michael Farquhar's front-page article [June 7] recounting the history of the desegregation of Catholic schools, and especially the Jesuits' own Gonzaga College High School.

After ordination I was sent to Loyola High School in Baltimore to teach. In my second year, 1956, I received a summons to appear before our superior, who told me to pack up my books and become a pastor in St. Mary's County, Md. Sometimes we Jesuits are dubbed the "Marines of the Church."

This was my first experience of our own "Semper Fi" as I readied myself to swap places with the Rev. Aloysius McGonigal, S.J., who served as a chaplain and whose name is inscribed on the Vietnam Memorial. His efforts to carry out Archbishop Patrick A. O'Boyle's orders met with opposition to desegregation such as that faced by the Rev. Horace McKenna, who encouraged John Gabriel Smith to become the first black student at Gonzaga. It was prudent to remove the Rev. McKenna and send me to St. Mary's County.

You can guess how proud I was to serve as both a Jesuit and a priest of the archdiocese.


North Bethesda

The Post's article about Cardinal O'Boyle's integration of Washington's Catholic schools revived vivid memories of Gonzaga's role in that story. I was a young Jesuit seminarian teaching at Gonzaga when Gabe Smith went out for the football team. Because public schools in the District and Northern Virginia were prohibited by law from playing integrated teams, Gonzaga played most of its 1952 games on the road in such places as Harrisburg, Pa.; Easton, Pa.; Conshohocken, Pa.; Wilmington, Del.; and Hershey, Pa.

One night we got back so late that the students and I slept on mats in a classroom. The boys learned more that night than I could ever teach them from a book.


New York