Every year the last Sunday in January marks the beginning of Catholic Schools Week across the country. The Catholic school system in the United States traces its origins back to the work that St. Elizabeth Ann Seton did in the early nineteenth century. In the succeeding two centuries, Catholic schools multiplied and their influence on the life of our Church and our society in general grew exponentially. Many graduates of Catholic schools have gone on to successful careers in many fields and the contributions that they have made have had a lasting impact on life in the United States and beyond. Many of you, myself included, are the products of Catholic schools.
At Precious Blood Parish, we are blessed in that we have not just a Catholic school as part of our parish life, but a Catholic school that is thriving and excelling on so many levels. Financially, our school is on a solid foundation thanks to the foresight of Father Dennis Moran, who served as pastor of St. Mary’s Parish for many years and who, on his death in 1967, bequeathed a sizeable sum to be invested in an endowment for the school. Over the past fifty years, that endowment has grown and it remains available for use, should we ever need it. Happily, however, through the careful stewardship of parish resources, especially by my two immediate predecessors at St. Mary’s, Father Francis Seggel and Father James Cronin, as well as the sacrifices made by parents and even grandparents of our students through the years up to the present, our school is one of the most financially stable in the Archdiocese of Hartford. I pledge to do my utmost to keep that tradition intact as we move forward.
At the beginning of this Catholic Schools’ Week, I extend my deepest gratitude to the parents and grandparents of our students, over 360 in all, for the sacrifices, sometimes great sacrifices, they make to insure that their children and grandchildren receive the benefits of a well-rounded education, an education that is not only academically excellent, but one that tries to instill in our students the importance of faith, of knowing Jesus and what it means to be his disciples in the world of today. Every morning as the school day begins, the students in our school are asked what the motto of the school is. I ask it of them at almost every school Mass as well, and their response is always loud and clear: to live the message of Jesus.
I also want to thank Mr. Frank Lacerenza, the principal of our school, for the excellent work he does. We congratulate him on his selection as the Archdiocesan School Administrator of the Year for 2017. I thank the faculty and the staff as well for all of the work that they do each day. St. Mary’s School is a special place and we are blessed to have it as part of the life of our parish.
Next weekend, as I announced several times previously, I will announce formally the new Mass schedule which will take effect the first weekend in January next year. This schedule is the fruit of extensive consultation, thought, and input from the parish at-large. While I know that not everyone will be happy with some of the changes, I know that I can count on your fullest cooperation as the schedule takes effect eleven months from now.