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Thursday, April 18 2002

Joe Yobaggy - 3

I don't remember ever receiving any additional press releases about Joseph Yobaggy in my short tenure as editor of the Nanty Glo Journal, and though I have no hard facts, my impression is that he was never taken to court on the charges that had been brought. In other words, either someone was specifically out to get him, or someone who was doing what he had been accused of had succeeded in temporarily framing him (my recollection is that that was what Joe believed was going on). I have no reason to doubt Joe Yobaggy's integrity and genuine dedication in serving Blacklick Township through the school board and other posts, and making it a better place for all.

The main upshot of my publishing the press release accusing him was that the interview described yesterday was the first of a series of similar get-togethers, in which meetings I came to appreciate him as a good friend. He probed my motivations and plans for life, learned that I was considering a vocation in church or youth ministry, and that despite my earlier interest in the Democratic Party had been becoming more and more conservative in my social attitudes to the point that I was now ready to support Barry Goldwater over Lyndon Johnson for President. I had already been writing along these lines in my weekly editorials in the Mainline Papers. We had numerous cordial but ardent conversations on these topics.

Some time later I mentioned to Joe that I had a plan to rearrange the back area of the Journal office for a more private office for myself. For years while doing the teen column and writing my first novel in high school, I had been using a small space as my office, and felt I could think and write better in such an environment. I asked if he had any suggestions of how to proceed, to which he came to the office to scope it out and came up with a plan that looked daringly modern and yet inexpensive. I had to foot the bill myself as I felt sure the company would not entertain any expense account for building supplies. Joe both came up with the plan and did much of the work in turning it into a reality.

Alas, however, my days in Nanty Glo were numbered, and I left a few months after finishing the remodeling project for the managing editorship of the Christian Beacon in New Jersey, and to begin studies as a preministerial student at theological seminary in Philadelphia (I have never been one to do just one thing at a time). My visits back home and the Valley were only a few per year over the next four years, and at the end of that time (in 1968) I was married in a church in a New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia. Joe and Helen Yobaggy were the only Valley people, aside from my mother, who attended. Joe was then working in Philadelphia and proved to be a true and loyal friend by giving up his day to share our joyous occasion.

My bride and I left for ministry in California shortly after the wedding, and I never saw either Joe or Helen again. My mother mentioned in a letter a few years later that she had forgotten to tell me some months earlier that Joe had passed away.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Notes to God

A parochial school teacher asked her class to write notes to God. Here are some of the notes the children handed in:

Dear God: I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I'm having a hard time loving all of them.

Dear God: In school they told us what You do. Who does it when You're on vacation?

—Sent by Sallie Covolo

Thought for the day

On abusive priests—

There is nothing wrong with loving and truthful criticism of our shepherds. Personally, I'm glad light has been shed on the inexcusable "reshuffling" of a small minority of abusive priests by certain bishops in recent decades. If public scandal was the only way to halt this kind of outrage, then bring on the truth. It is finally coming to light that devout candidates for the priesthood have been systematically screened out for years by liberal radicals who hold power in some dioceses in favor of seminarians with questionable sexual and psychological profiles.

—Bud Macfarlane, Catholicity

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