The imminent closure of two lower Manhattan Catholic schools has gentle Christians seeing red. “Pray for our Schools” and “Save My School” said the signs wielded by students, parents and faculty at a protest rally yesterday. Some admitted that the shut-downs—decided by NY’s Archdiocese, as a result of dropping Catholic school enrollment city-wide—were pushing the limits of their faith. “I’m attempting to be a Christian, but right now I want to kill," said Stephanie Pinto, a trustee and former student of St. James School, established in 1854.

In a money-saving merger St. James’s 213 students will be moved to nearby St. Joseph’s. St. Patrick’s school is also being shut down; it’s 120 person student body—drastically reduced from 600 a few years ago—will have its pick of any other Catholic school in the city. Still parents and students say that’s not good enough. "When you make an abrupt change and don't let your parishioners know, people lose faith," one St. Patrick’s parent told the Daily News.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese told the Post that in order to “preserve Catholic education for anyone who wants it” some schools would have to go. He blamed the bad economy for parents’ dwindling interest in a Catholic education. Recently a Department of Education panel voted to shut down 19 underperforming public schools.