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Local girls basketball teams stayed busy over Christmas break


For The Dialog


As the new year kicks off, here’s a look at the Catholic school girls basketball teams, particularly those that participated in the recent Diamond State Classic at St. Elizabeth High School. The tournament attracted teams from throughout Delaware and from as far away as Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Oregon City, Ore. Read more »

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Vikings’ coach sees Diamond State Classic loss chance to learn, grow


Staff reporter


WILMINGTON – Monday afternoon’s game started out so promising for St. Elizabeth’s girls’ basketball team. The Vikings were playing at home in the St. E Center for the St. Francis Healthcare Cup, the main draw of the annual Diamond State Classic. In front of a near-capacity crowd, they jumped out to a 7-2 lead over McDonogh School from Owings Mills, Md., midway through the first period after Jordyn Humes hit a fast-break layup.

But after that, McDonogh turned up the pressure, and the Vikings could never really find their footing. McDonogh recovered for a 9-9 tie after one quarter, then took control in the second, thanks to a suffocating defense and the offense of guard Danielle Edwards, who scored eight points in the quarter to help McDonogh to a 23-14 halftime advantage. Read more »

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Pandas battle, but fall short to Caravel at Diamond State Classic


Staff reporter


WILMINGTON – Padua Academy gave Caravel Academy a game on Monday afternoon, but the Buccaneers had too much for the Pandas in the 55-44 Caravel win. The matchup was the consolation game of the First State Orthopaedics Cup in the Diamond State Classic at the St. E Center.

Padua took at 9-8 lead into the second quarter, but Caroline Davis nailed a three-pointer to give Caravel an 11-9 lead. The Pandas’ Megan Mallon got those points right back, but the 12-11 lead was Padua’s last for the game. After Davis tied it with a free throw, the Buccaneers’ Micah Morgan took over. She scored six points on two three-point shots during a 12-point Caravel run and added another eight points before halftime.

Padua was plagued by turnovers and poor shooting in the quarter. Besides Mallon’s three, they could manage just three more points on a trey by Hannah Schlegel that ended the Caravel run. The Bucs took a 30-15 lead into the locker room thanks to another three-pointer from Morgan, this one a buzzer-beater.

Morgan credited her teammates for continuing to feed her the ball after a rough first period. The key, she said, was playing smart basketball.

“In the second quarter, it was more a matter of slowing down the game and making sure we took care of the ball because we had the lead. We just needed to slow down and think about every pass we were making and share the ball,” she said.

Caravel coach Kristen Caldwell like her team’s smart play, finding Morgan when Padua was denying Davis the opportunity to get the ball.

Padua (2-4) trailed by 13 after three quarters and trimmed the deficit to eight points midway through the fourth, but the Pandas could not overcome their opponent. The Pandas scored 10 of their 15 points in the final quarter from the foul line, all from Rachel Liskiewicz and Mallon. Liskiewicz led the Pandas with 16 points, while Mallon had 12.

Morgan finished with a game-high 28 points to lead the Bucs, who improved to 4-1 on the season. Davis added 11.

Morgan said the win against Padua was important for the Buccaneers as they head into a challenging month. They host Concord on Friday at 7:15 p.m., then face a four-game stretch against St. Elizabeth, St. Mark’s, Ursuline and Sanford later in the month.

“We do have a lot of tough games coming up. This is like getting a running head start going into the next part of our season. This is a really big win for us,” she said.

Padua is back in action Friday at 7:15 p.m. at home vs. No. 1 St. Elizabeth. The Pandas will get another shot at Caravel in the regular-season finale Feb. 18 at Padua.

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Short-handed Ravens fall short in Classic opener


Staff reporter


WILMINGTON – Freshman Hannah Garbowski scored 17 of her 18 points in the first half to propel Delaware Military Academy to a 44-38 win over St. Thomas More in the opening game of the 2013 Diamond State Classic, the girls’ high school basketball tournament held annually at the St. E Center. The game was part of the New Castle Insurance Cup bracket.
With her team trailing by a 6-2 score halfway through the first quarter, Garbowski set up shop on the left baseline, hitting two three-point shots and another field goal to give the Seahawks the lead at 10-6. They never trailed again, although short-handed St. Thomas More kept the game close throughout. Garbowski added nine points in the second quarter as DMA built a 30-24 halftime lead.
Neither team shot well in the second half, with each scoring just 14 points after the break. Alexa Schimp led the Ravens’ comeback attempt in the half, scoring 11 of her team’s 14 points. She tied Garbowski for scoring honors with 18. St. Thomas More played the game with just six players.
Alena Foley added 11 for DMA (4-1), which will play Harriton (Pa.) High School Saturday at 4 p.m. for the bracket championship. The Ravens (2-3) meet Caesar Rodney at 10:45 a.m. Saturday.

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Padua senior finds faith through hardships

December 26th, 2013 Posted in Our Diocese, Youth Tags: , ,


Staff reporter


WILMINGTON — Perhaps, when Erin Wendelburg walks to the altar at St. Anthony of Padua Church in May to receive her diploma from Padua Academy, she will hear a voice. That voice will cheer her for reaching a milestone on a journey filled with almost unimaginable hardship, and it will encourage her to continue on to even greater accomplishments.

That voice is one she hadn’t heard in years and desperately wanted back in her life. She discovered it as she found her faith. The voice belongs to her mother, who died in 2004, when Wendelburg was just 8 years old. If that were the only tragedy in her life, it would be enough. But her journey was just beginning.

Wendelburg returned to Padua last February after missing several months while undergoing treatment for an inoperable

Erin Wendelburg participates in several activities at Padua Academy, where she is a senior. Last year, she started Erin’s Army to help raise money at the Delaware Brain Tumor Walk. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor in summer of 2012. (The Dialog/www.DonBlakePhotography.com)

tumor in the center of her brain. She had begun experiencing headaches and blurred vision in the summer of 2012 and thought she was suffering from migraines. An eye doctor, alarmed by the swelling of the nerves in her eyes, advised her to get an MRI immediately, and Wendelburg, then 16, heard the sobering news.

“When I went in for my first MRI … doctors are really bad at hiding their emotions, so I knew he was coming to tell me something really bad,” she said a few weeks ago. “The whole time I was having these headaches it felt like something was trying to get out of my head. It was so painful. But I was just thinking, this is my luck. I mean, only I could have chronic headaches and turn out to have brain cancer. That’s just kind of the way that it works.”

The tumor was benign, but every day for six weeks, she traveled to Philadelphia for an hour of radiation. She had to wear a fitted mask that was bolted to a table so she couldn’t move, but steadily her health improved. For the last year or so, Wendelburg has had to take oral “maintenance” chemotherapy for one week each month.

After a recent MRI, she was told that treatment would be over in February. The radiation and chemo didn’t seem so bad. After all, Wendelburg explained, she had already been through so much in her life. Less than five years after her mother’s death, she lost her father as well. Being orphaned before your 13th birthday has a way of making you grow up pretty fast.

A caregiver at 8

“I always felt like I was so much older than people in my grade, and I still kind of feel like that sometimes,” said Wendelburg, who maintains a cheery demeanor when no one could blame her if she was the polar opposite.

Wendelburg has known illness, not just her own, all her life. Her mother, Diane McGrath, had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease while she was a student at Padua, where she was a member of the Class of 1976. She married a lawyer, Allan Wendelburg, and became a paralegal so she could work with him. The couple had three children, two daughters and a son, and lived in Hockessin. Diane Wendelburg was sick nearly all of Erin’s life, and Erin, her youngest child, took care of her mother as much as her mother cared for her.

This year, during an Encounter retreat at Padua, Erin Wendelburg reflected on her parents, and her college essay is about them as well.

“It was just kind of funny to think about, when you really write it out, that when you’re 8 years old, a lot of people are being taken care of, and being fed and bathed by their parents, and when I was 8 years old I was feeding and bathing my mom. I could pretty much take care of myself. I used to make myself dinner and get myself off to school and do whatever I had to,” she said.

Allan Wendelburg did not handle his wife’s death well, Erin said. “My dad, he had always been alcoholic, but just kind of completely went downhill after she died. He lost his license to practice law, and we lost our house.”

Wendelburg’s older sister moved in with their grandmother, while Erin and her brother stayed with their father. The three of them lived in a small ranch house near H.B. DuPont Middle School, which Erin attended. She was very close to her father and remembers how much fun they had.

“We always did things together. My dad was a big motorcycle guy, so I was the girl in seventh grade who would get driven to school on a motorcycle,” she said.

The house was dirty, Wendelburg said, and they never really unpacked the belongings from their old house. And when her dad was in bad shape or yelling at her brother, she sought refuge at night under the train tracks that ran near her house. Not yet a teenager, she was sleeping beneath train tracks. Her friends at H.B. had no idea she was doing this. She’s not sure her father or brother knew.

Then, in March 2009, her father died suddenly, leaving three young people without either parent. She moved in with a friend, but she was not used to having strict rules. Wendelburg then went to an aunt’s house, but, again, it did not work out.

Since last October, she has lived with her grandmother. Ironically, her sister and brother also live there, the first time the three siblings have been together under the same roof since their mother’s death.

Everything has a reason

While Wendelburg was trying to find a literal home, Padua became her refuge.

“I think that everything happens for a reason, even things that are awful,” she said. “If my dad hadn’t died, I would never have come to Padua, and Padua is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. It’s like my home. I never refer to wherever I’m living at the time as my home because it’s not. I spend more time at Padua then I do at my house.”

She appreciates how she was accepted upon her return to school after the treatment for her tumor. In her first class, there were gifts from friends on her desk. The students in her sci-fi literature class, which included boys from Salesianum School, applauded. And no one minded that she had no hair.

Having grown tired of pulling out her hair after radiation treatments, Wendelburg shaved off what was left. She worried about making people uncomfortable, but she had no desire to wear a wig. She preferred scarves, particularly in the cold weather. A teacher who is a breast cancer survivor “brought me all her nice Chanel scarves,” Wendelburg said.

At the school, she is a member of the National Honor Society, music ministry and the Encounter retreat team, as well as the theater program and the dance team. A writer for the school’s online newspaper, Padua360, she aspires to a career in communications and fashion merchandising.

Wendelburg said she had never been very religious while her parents were alive, but Encounter has changed her life. In one way, it helped her mature, but at the same time, it took her back to a part of her childhood she had forgotten and wanted to remember.

“We had this moment at Encounter last year where you just sit and you have adoration in the chapel. I remember I was very doubtful before Encounter. People say that they felt God or heard God or whatever, and I was like, ‘Well, are you supposed to feel a hand on your shoulder or something? I have no idea what that is.’

“Then during adoration … I could finally remember my mom’s voice, which is what I was really hoping for. I really don’t remember her at all. We were not like a home video kind of family. I have pictures. I definitely remember what she looks like, but I don’t remember what she sounds like.

“She wrote my brother, my sister and I all notes before she died. But when I read it, it’s my voice, it’s not her voice. But during adoration I could remember what her voice sounded like. That’s when I really knew that I was Christian. … I believe in God, and I believe in just being a faith-filled person. It’s helped me in my outlook.”

Wendelburg is at peace with how her life has transpired. Her brother gave her a copy of the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, which she has found to be of great comfort. The message of the book and movie is that if you think positive thoughts, positive things will happen to you.

She also has surrounded herself with people she believes will make her life better, and she tries to make every moment count. She has a blueprint for her life, both professionally and personally.

“I look up to my parents’ marriage so much. My dad loved my mom so much that when she was gone, you can’t live without that person. That’s what I aspire to have, someone that I can’t live without,” she said.

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2013: A Year of Faith and Sustaining Hope in the diocese

December 26th, 2013 Posted in Our Diocese Tags: , , ,



Here’s a look back at some of the events in the life of the Diocese of Wilmington this year.


Bishop Malooly announces a series of Eucharistic Holy Hours Jan. 27 through November as part of the U.S. bishops’ Call to Prayer movement during the Year of Faith called by Pope Benedict XVI. Read more »

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Hispanic cultures’ Christmas events extend into February


For The Dialog


RISING SUN, Md. – The ripped wrapping paper from Christmas gifts awaits pick up in overstuffed garbage containers. The Christmas music that had dominated many radio stations in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day has ended. For many Americans, the Christmas season is over.

But for Catholics the Christmas season has just begun. And within many Hispanic cultures that season is a journey that began with “Posadas,” re-enactments in the final days of Advent of Joseph and Mary seeking shelter in Bethlehem, and ends with the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus on Feb. 2. Read more »

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Bishop asks inmates to be light for others


Staff reporter


SMYRNA – In each of six years as the leader of Delaware’s Catholics, Bishop Malooly’s first Christmas Mass has been at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, home to some 2,500 inmates.

On Dec. 21, several hundred gathered for spiritual nourishment and fellowship in the chapel inside the prison fence in Smyrna.

“How many of you have been here all six years?” the bishop asked. A few dozen hands went up.

The prisoners, clad in white Department of Correction shirts and sweatpants, were a mix of ages and races. An inmate choir led the music; the singing was loud and spirited. As the inmates arrived at the chapel, Bishop Malooly and Msgr. Charles Brown, a chaplain at the correctional center, greeted each of them. They were joined by Deacons Mike Truman, coordinator of prison ministry for the diocese, and Vincent Pisano. The congregation also included several correctional officers and Rob Coupe, the commissioner of the state Department of Corrections.

In his homily, Bishop Malooly said the two readings and the Gospel are the series generally used at the midnight Mass. The first reading, from Isaiah, is a forecast. Paul, in his letter to Titus, continues the story, and the Gospel “is the fulfillment of longing and praying,” the bishop said.

Isaiah forecasts the birth of Christ, and the prophet says “the people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light.” He reminded the inmates to be like Pope Francis, a man who is always smiling, a great light for the world’s Catholics.

“I think it is a great reminder for us,” he said. “We need to bring that light to others.”

The birth of Christ is an invitation to us to be Christ’s light wherever we are, Bishop Malooly said. Pope Francis sets an example for us. He is always smiling, a great light for all Catholics, and he prefers to spend his time with the poor. On his birthday earlier this month, the pontiff ate lunch with four homeless people brought into the Vatican.

“I think (his example) is a great reminder for us. We need to bring that light to others,” he said.

The Eucharist, the bishop said, is God’s way to be present to us, as we are present to others. “God wants to draw each of you closer. He won’t move from you. He wants each of you to move closer to him.”

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Sals improve to 5-1 after big win over Brandywine


For The Dialog


WILMINGTON – For fans of above-the-rim basketball, Father Birkenheuer Gymnasium at Salesianum School was the place to be Saturday night. The homestanding Sals, ranked second in the state, had six dunks en route to a 66-37 win over Brandywine High School.

Senior Brian O’Neill led the way with 20 points, including three dunks, and seven rebounds, while junior Donte DiVincenzo added 19 points, with the other three dunks. He added four assists.

The Bulldogs’ only lead came early, at 3-2, before the Sals went on a 15-point run. Two of those points came on an alley oop by DiVincenzo, bringing the crowd to its feet. The hosts led, 19-8, after the first quarter, and the rout was on.

Salesianum put the game away after the half, scoring 23 points in the third quarter. DiVincenzo had eight in the third, all in a 50-second span: a three-pointer, a thunderous dunk, jump shot and foul shot. The Sals’ defense forced several turnovers that lead to easy fast-break baskets, and they held Brandywine to six points.

The Sals are now 5-1 and are off until Jan. 4, when they host Smyrna at 7:30 p.m. Brandywine fell to 0-5 and returns to action Jan. 2 at A.I. DuPont. Tipoff for that one is at 5:30 p.m.

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DiVincenzo leads Sals to 55-39 road win at William Penn


NEW CASTLE – For a quarter and a half, it looked like Salesianum’s basketball team had left its game back on North Broom Street on Thursday afternoon. But, trailing by 11 to host William Penn midway through the second, the Sals found an extra gear and cruised to a 55-39 win over the Colonials.

The Sals trailed after the first quarter, 9-6, and scored five points on free throws in the first four minutes of the second. Shane Clark’s layup was their first field goal of the quarter and gave them the lead at 13-12, but William Penn would score the next 12 points for a 24-13 advantage. Read more »

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