Thursday, November 5, 2009

Update on Possible School Closing

I have received the following email. I have published it as written.

To the author, thank you for writing.


Dear Washington DC Catholic,

I am a parishioner of St. Catherine Laboure church and a very-involved parent at St. Catherine Laboure school. I am writing to let you know that our pastor, Father Salah, did not request that SCL school be closed. As you stated in your blog, any request for closure would have to be a recommendation stemming from "extensive discussions with the Archdiocese." What has been requested by the pastor is a consultation with the Archdiocese. The fact that a consultation has been requested does not mean that it is a given that the outcome will be a recommendation for school closure or consolidation. It is my understanding that this consultation will look at not only financial viability, but also the academic performance, Catholic identity, accessibility, and affordability of the school. It will also involve the parents and parishioners. This will be our time to show what we have to offer, why we are different, where we excel, and plans we have for achieving financial stability.

The rumor that Father Salah is requesting that the school be closed likely stems from the fact that he has mentioned school closure/consolidation in private and public meetings as a possible outcome when parishes/schools have financial difficulties. He has not--and cannot until the consultation is completed--requested this to the Archdiocese. My biggest concern at this time is that parents will hear things like this (i.e., the pastor recommended the school be closed) and give up (apply to other schools for next year, stop supporting the school financially, stop volunteering), making the rumors a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In addition, I'd like to point out that to my knowledge our enrollment is roughly equal to that of other schools in the area and that the financial debt of the parish, while large, is not the largest in the ADW. I only point this out to say that these statistics are not necessarily a reflection of our parish/school individually, but of the current economic times and the status of Catholic school enrollment in general.

I have read many of your posts on Catholic education and I agree with you that the new trend of moving towards multi-parish regional schools will ultimately dilute Catholic education as a whole, as well as be detrimental to the sense of parish community. I am determined to maintain a positive attitude and encouraging all other SCL parents to do the same, so that we can put 100% into putting our best face forward during this consultation process. I hope that you will consider clarifying in your blog that the pastor of SCL School has not requested that the school be closed, and I ask that you keep us in your prayers.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

I am a veteran of the Archdiocese's closing of the 12 Catholic Schools that occurred in the Spring of 2008. The previous year the Archbishop quietly closed 5 other Catholic Schools. “Consultation” with the Archdiocese means they talk, you listen. I feel very sorry for the parishioners of St. Catherine’s. They will go through hoops to prove their school's worthiness, but in the Archdiocese mind, St. Catherine’s is as good as CLOSED. The rest is just a formality. St. Catherine’s, you are only on “Life Support” in the Archdioceses’ eyes. Why else do you think the Archdiocese has funneled a great deal of money to St. Raphael’s for their school's expansion? When this project at St. Raphael’s is completed, many other schools will be closed so that the "consolidation" can begin. I would be concerned if I was St. Elizabeth’s School, Holy Cross and St. Mary’s in Rockville.
The Archdiocese plays “hardball”. I would remind your readers that in a Catholic Standard issue in the Fall of 2006, Archbishop Wuerl is quoted as saying the he envisions only 5 regional Catholic Schools in the Washington D.C. Archdiocese. That is FIVE.
Perhaps it is time for Archdioceses Catholics to come together in a “Tea Party”. Question the Archdiocese that supports the corrupt Catholic Campaign for Human Development, but leaves our schools in the cold. Remember, Archbishop Wuerl closed one third of the Churches and Schools in Pittsburgh before he arrived in Washington in the June of 2006. Since Archbishop Wuerl arrived, he has closed 18 schools, many more will soon be just a memory.

Anonymous said...

Our prayers are with the people of Saint Catherine, and especially with the school children. We hope your parish school survives and thrives for many years to come. We know Susan Gibbs monitors this blog, and we would like to direct some questions to her. Ms. Gibbs, how much money has the Archdiocese billed Center City Public Charter Schools Inc. for? How much of the bill for 2008-2009 has actually been paid? As you know, one of the converted charter schools, the former Saint Francis DeSales school, has already closed. Did the Archdiocese receive the full years rent for this school? We await your answers.

Anonymous said...

The Archdiocese of Washington doesn't care or listen to parents. They rule as though parents are the children. Shame on them. But they can tell you to the penny how much you owe for tuition.