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Firefighter’s funeral at St. Elizabeth — ‘He rescued and cared for those in need’


Dialog reporter

WILMINGTON – Chris Leach was a dedicated family man and firefighter who valued the relationships in his life, his uncle, Deacon Martin J. Leach, said at his funeral Mass on Sept. 30 at St. Elizabeth Church.

Brendan Leach leaves his father's funeral at St. Elizabeth Church in Wilmington, Sept. 30, with the firefighter's helmet that he placed on the fire truck that would carry Lt. Christopher Leach's casket. The Dialog/Mike Lang

Brendan Leach leaves his father’s funeral at St. Elizabeth Church in Wilmington, Sept. 30, with the firefighter’s helmet that he placed on the fire truck that would carry Lt. Christopher Leach’s casket. The Dialog/Mike Lang

Deacon Lynch, from the Diocese of Oakland, Calif., was the homilist at the Mass. Lt. Leach died Sept. 24 while battling a house fire near Canby Park in Wilmington in a case of alleged arson.

Leach was the sort of adult “that many of us would like to be,” the deacon said.

The Mass took place in a standing-room-only church, filled with family, friends, firefighters from all over Delaware and other parts of the country, and students from Salesianum, Padua and St. Ann’s, where his three children attend school.

A two-hour viewing preceded the Mass. Leach’s casket sat at the front of the church, draped in an American flag with his helmet perched on top. Long lines of people waited in cool, misty weather to pay their respects.

Bishop Malooly was the main celebrant; he was joined by several other priests and deacons. The bishop addressed the grieving firefighters at the beginning of Mass.

“You are there to rescue and take care of those in need,” Bishop Malooly said. “And certainly Chris did that over his career.”

Deacon Lynch recalled that his nephew kept laminated memorial cards from his father Mick’s funeral with him, including one with his certificate of promotion from when he was named a lieutenant. He was a gifted cook who wore out a cookbook given to him by his mother, Frannie. But his favorite role in life was that of father to Brendan, Abigail and Megan, Deacon Lynch said.

“Chris had beautiful relationships with his children,” he said.

Megan, he noted, enjoyed night fishing with her dad. Abigail wrote a letter about him for Father’s Day. Leach had it laminated and kept it in his locker. And it was not unusual to see a fire truck at Brendan’s sporting events.

“The love of his children was what he lived for,” Deacon Lynch said.

The deacon noted that in the days after the fatal fire, someone posted on Facebook that “Leach was a legend.” Another wrote about how much he had learned from his colleague.

“He taught me so much without even realizing it,” Deacon Lynch quoted the online tribute. “He was a man you could count on. He was a man you could trust.”

A lifelong friend, Bill Christopher, recalled the two of them pretending to rescue people in the Leach home when they were 5 and 6 years old. Leach and Christopher, classmates at St. Edmond’s Academy and Salesianum, swam together for Timberlane Pool and were both Boy Scouts. Leach went on to become and Eagle Scout.

Firefighting was in his blood as long as he could remember, Christopher said. He recalled once when they were swimming at a meet at Silverside Pool when Leach heard a call for the Talleyville Fire Company, located just up Silverside Road. His truck was blocked in, so Christopher agreed to drive to the firehouse. Leach hopped out of Christopher’s car wearing nothing but a Speedo and hurriedly tried to throw on a pair of jeans and a shirt while the fire truck left the station.

“He was the best friend probably anyone here ever had,” Christopher said, fighting back tears. “The only question he ever asked was, ‘When do you need me?’ He never stopped giving.”

After Mass, with pipes and drums from around the region playing, the casket was lifted on to a fire truck, and Brendan Leach hung his father’s helmet on the truck. A long procession then made its way up Cedar Street to the cemetery.

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St. John Neumann planning its 10th parish anniversary


For The Dialog

BERLIN, Md. – Parishioners at St. John Neumann Parish will celebrate the 10th anniversary of becoming a parish in ways that the parish patron could appreciate.

Next March, a pilgrimage is planned to the Shrine of St. John Neumann in Philadelphia, where the fourth bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is entombed, said Father Joseph Cocucci, pastor of the Worcester County parish. And next June, the parish will conduct a 40 Hours Devotion June 18-20. Read more »

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Volleyball: Pandas knock off top-ranked DMA, 3-0


Dialog reporter


WILMINGTON – The gymnasium at Delaware Military Academy was packed more than 30 minutes before the scheduled start of Thursday night’s volleyball showdown between the top-ranked Seahawks and No. 2 Padua. When it was over, Padua celebrated its 3-0 sweep by lingering around the floor posing for photos and receiving hugs from schoolmates and families.

The exciting three sets went 25-20, 25-21 and 25-21. Read more »

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Auks volleyball passes stiff test vs. St. Mark’s


For The Dialog


CLAYMONT — Third-ranked Archmere and fifth-ranked St. Mark’s put on quite a show on the volleyball court Sept. 27 at the Moglia Fieldhouse, with the Auks needing five sets to survive the Spartans. For Archmere, it was the first of a four-match stretch during which they will also meet Wilmington Charter, Delaware Military Academy and Ursuline, all ranked in the top seven.

Set scores were 25-17, 22-25, 25-21, 15-25 and 15-5. For Archmere (6-0), it was the first match against a top-10 team. Read more »

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Quakers pitch another shutout, defeat Auks, 2-0, in field hockey


For The Dialog


CLAYMONT – Wilmington Friends came into its field hockey showdown with Archmere on Sept. 27 not having allowed a goal all season. They left Claymont with that record intact and remained unbeaten after a 2-0 win.

The Quakers controlled the action from the beginning and got a goal on their third penalty corner. Christina Aleman fired a shot that was saved by Auks goalie Mady McDougal, but Anna Erskine was there to put home the rebound for the 1-0 lead at the 23:15 mark of the first half. Friends had seven penalty corners in the first half, but the Auks’ defense did a great job of keeping the score 1-0. Read more »

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Murray’s goal enough in Auks’ soccer shutout of DMA


Dialog reporter


CLAYMONT – Archmere’s soccer team controlled the play in its Diamond State Athletic Conference showdown with Delaware Military Academy on Sept. 27, but the Auks could break through just once. Sean Murray’s goal in the 56th minute, however, was enough, propelling Archmere to a 1-0 win on a sunny afternoon in Claymont and dealing DMA its first loss of the season.

The Auks had been frustrated all afternoon by Seahawks goalkeeper Jacob Davenport, but that changed when Murray took a pass from Reid Niermann and dribbled just inside the penalty box. He launched a shot to Davenport’s right, catching the inside of the netting to put his team ahead. Read more »

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Caravel picks up 23 aces in volleyball victory at St. Elizabeth


Dialog reporter


WILMINGTON – St. Elizabeth pushed Caravel to four sets when the teams met Sept. 26, but the Buccaneers were able to prevent the Vikings from picking up their first volleyball win of the season in a 3-1 decision. Set scores were 25-18, 25-13, 19-25 and 25-17.

Caravel took advantage of St. Elizabeth’s struggles with the serve receive, being credited with 23 aces on the evening. Junior Kody Dillon led the way with eight to go along with a team-high 13 kills and 15 digs. Classmate Ashlyn Anderson added five aces, while Lauren Gauding and Courtney Maxwell had three each. Read more »

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Girls schedules include top-5 volleyball battles


For The Dialog


The girls’ fall sports season ramps up this week, including a lot of top-five volleyball matches and some great field hockey matchups.

Field hockey
Padua (4-0) vs. St. Elizabeth (1-2), 3:45 p.m. at Hockessin Montessori School. The Vikings got their first win of the season scoring eight goals in a win against Newark but now they host the fourth-ranked field hockeyPandas, who have only allowed one goal in goal games while scoring 13.
Newark Charter (1-3) at St. Thomas More (1-3), 5 p.m. The Ravens look for their second win in a row against a Patriots team that is looking to get back in the win column.
Friends (3-0) at Archmere (2-1), 3:45 p.m. The Auks and Quakers were both off last week, and after the layoff face each other in a big match up. The Quakers haven’t allowed a goal in it’s first 3 games, but the Auks can score goals and look for the home win.
St. Mark’s (1-3) at Ursuline (3-0-1), 3:45 p.m. The Raiders look to stay unbeaten at home, while the Spartans look to end a three-game losing streak.
St. Thomas More vs. Delaware Military Academy (2-2), 4:15 p.m. at Kirkwood Soccer Club
Archmere at Tatnall (0-4), 3:45 p.m.
Padua vs. Ursuline, 3 p.m. at the University of Delaware’s Rullo Stadium in the Turf Bowl.  The fourth-ranked Pandas face their rivals at Delaware as the Raiders look to continue their winning ways.
Charter (2-1) vs. St. Mark’s, 2 p.m. at Rullo Stadium, Turf Bowl
Brandywine (3-0-1) vs. St. Elizabeth, 3:30 p.m. at Rullo Stadium, Turf Bowl
St. Thomas More (5-0) vs. Aquinas Academy (4-0), 5:30 p.m. at St Thomas More. Aquinas is the home team in this match. The Ravens look to stay unbeaten, but thus will be a tough test. Neither team has dropped a set this year.
volleyballCaravel (3-1) at St Elizabeth (0-5), 7:15 p.m. The Vikings are looking for a win, and a home upset of the Buccaneers would be a nice place to start.
St. Mark’s (3-1) at Archmere (5-0), 6:15 p.m. The fifth-ranked Spartans travel to the No. 3 Archmere looking for the road upset. The Auks have been dominant this season, but faces their toughest test.
Newark Charter (3-2) at Padua (5-0), 6:45 p.m.
Friends (2-2) at Ursuline (2-1), 7:15 p.m. The fourth-ranked Raiders look to bounce back from a tough loss to Padua with a home win against the Quakers, the state’s seventh-ranked team.
St. Thomas More at Salisbury Christian (Md.) (3-1), 4 p.m.
Padua at Delaware Military Academy (3-1), 7 p.m. The top-ranked Seahawks host the second-ranked Pandas in a huge showdown. The Pandas look to end the Seahawks in-state winning streak at 21 matches. This gym is tiny so get there early for a seat.
Ursuline at St Mark’s, 7:15 p.m. No. 4 Ursuline and the fifth-ranked Spartans battle in a key Catholic Confrence showdown.
Archmere at Wilmington Charter (3-1), 6:30 p.m.
St. Elizabeth at Padua, 2:30 p.m.
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Big matchups mark boys high school schedules


For The Dialog


The boys’ fall season is heating up, and this week brings us some great soccer matchups and some key football showdowns.

soccerSt. Thomas More (1-5) at Newark Charter (5-0), 3:45 p.m. The Ravens face the third-ranked Patriots looking for the road upset.
Delaware Military Academy (4-0-2) at Archmere (4-1), 3:45 p.m. The Auks look to give the Seahawks their first loss. The Auks have scored 14 goals in their last three matches, while the Seahawks have only given up two goals in their six matches.
St. Mark’s (2-0-1) at Glasgow (1-2-1), 3:45 p.m. The Spartans rebounded from a 2-2 tie to St. Georges Tech by scoring nine goals last time out and look to keep their offense rolling.
Salesianum (4-1) vs. St. Elizabeth (3-2), 3:45 p.m. at Kirkwood Soccer Club. The Vikings have a tall order with the top-ranked Sals as they look for the home upset.
St. Thomas More at Salisbury Christian (Md.), 4 p.m.
Polytech (5-0) vs. St. Elizabeth, noon at Kirkwood Soccer Club
Dematha Catholic (Md.) (5-2) at Salesianum, 1:30 p.m.
Archmere at St. Mark’s, 3 p.m. The second-ranked Spartans host the No. 5 Auks in a key Division II showdown. The Spartans want to defend their home turf and slow down the Auks’ offense.
Archmere (2-1) at St. Mark’s (3-0), 7 p.m. After taking care of Brandywine, St. Mark’s will get its stiffest test of the season thus far from a visiting Auks team that suffered its first loss to footballTatnall. It’s the Auks’ first night game of the season. The Spartans will focus on stopping the Archmere ground game and try to be balanced on the offensive side.
Salesianum (2-1) at Caravel (1-2), 7 p.m. The Sals will have to put the loss to Smyrna behind them and get their first road win against a Buccaneers team rebounding from losing their quarterback for the season. The Sals’ defense looks to get back on track after giving up 60 points to Smyrna.
Delaware Military Academy (2-1) vs. St. Elizabeth (2-1), 7 p.m. at the University of Delaware. The Vikings got a nice bounceback win vs. Conrad but now face another tough test in the Seahawks. The Seahawks also picked up a victory at Tower Hill. A win would go a long way toward helping either of these teams earn a Division II playoff berth.
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Late touchdown dooms Auks on road at Tatnall, 22-18


Dialog reporter


GREENVILLE – It took Tatnall’s football team five minutes to score on the Hornets’ last drive of the game Sept. 24 against Archmere, but the rewards were worth the wait. The final play from the Hornets was a screen pass from Carl Marvin to Sam Ragland, and the senior running back took it 17 yards to the end zone to give Tatnall a 22-18 win over the Auks in nonconference action.

It was the third touchdown on the afternoon for the elusive Ragland, and the first through the air. Tatnall improved to 2-1 while ending the Auks’ seven-game winning streak dating back to the middle of last season. Read more »

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