As a result of our appeal efforts, I received a call earlier today from Bishop Michael Fitzgerald who oversees the Office of Catholic Education stating that Archbishop Chaput has decided that…
Saint Malachy School will remain open as a parish school
and be designated as a mission school.
Being designated as a “mission school” is a recognition on the part of the Archdiocese that we are committed to developing the resources necessary to sustain the mission of Catholic education at Saint Malachy and meeting the genuine needs of underserved or disadvantaged urban children and families. In the next week or two Terry Richardson and I will be invited to meet with representatives of the Office of Catholic Education as well as pastors and principals of other mission designated schools for an information session on the topic. We will keep you informed.
Thank you for all your support throughout the past several weeks (and always), for your concern for the children and faculty of our school and for your unwavering belief in the mission of Saint Malachy School!
Now more than ever it is very important that we continue the positive momentum created by this crisis and our efforts to keep the school open. Today is a day to smile, shout, sing and dance. Tomorrow we will continue working together as administration, faculty, board members, volunteers, benefactors, staff and parishioners to sustain the school and strengthening it so that it will always be present as a “beacon of light” for the children of the North Philadelphia community!
Fr. Kevin Lawrence
Dear Members of Saint Malachy School Advisory Board, Friends of Saint Malachy,
Educational Affairs Committee, Development Committee, Finance Committee,
Saint Malachy Parish Pastoral Council, benefactors, parishioners and friends,
Today at a meeting for pastors, principals, and directors of religious education, Archbishop Chaput and the Blue Ribbon Commission on Catholic Schools presented a strategic plan that will act as a blueprint to “restructure, stabilize and reinvigorate” Catholic education throughout the Archdiocese. As a result of this plan, many parish schools and secondary schools are being closed and/or partnered with neighboring or local parish schools. In many cases this will result in a consolidated or regionalized school.
Sadly, we were informed today that Saint Malachy School is designated for closure and regionalization with Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary School at “B” Street and Lehigh Avenue. While we have been aware of the work and purpose of the Blue Ribbon Commission since January 2011, there was little concern that it would impact us so dramatically until recently. The news of closure for Saint Malachy is devastating for all who are so dedicated to the school and our students. I am especially concerned for our faculty, administration, students, school families, and support staff.
On Tuesday, January 10, 2012, there will be another meeting for pastors, presidents and principals of the affected schools which will hopefully offer greater details around the decision of the Blue Ribbon Commission and help to answer many of the questions generated by this decision.
There is also an appeal process in place for those schools and parishes who want to seek other options for their future other than the immediate recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission. We have already registered a request with the Office for Catholic Education to determine the specific reasons behind the decision to close and consolidate Saint Malachy and to appeal the decision. Both Terry Richardson, our principal, and I believe we have reasons that will make for a strong appeal. However, the process of appealing will require the support of all those invested in the mission of Saint Malachy. Therefore, we are planning a meeting for this Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 7:00 PM at Saint Malachy School.
I invite all the members of our School Advisory Board, the Friends of Saint Malachy, Educational Affairs Committee, Development Committee, Finance Committee, the Parish Pastoral Council, faculty, administration, and school family representatives to attend the meeting on Thursday. The challenge facing us is daunting but working together, can bring greater unity, commitment and support for Saint Malachy School and help us create a future more influenced by our knowledge, love and belief in the mission and potential of our school.
For your information, a full copy of the Blue Ribbon Commission report is available on the website www.faithinthefuture.com. Also, a copy of a letter from Archbishop Chaput and the Blue Ribbon Commission to “friends of Catholic Education” is attached below.
In all of this I ask you to please keep our students, faculty and administration in your thoughts and prayers.
Fr. Kevin Lawrence