Today, Catholic Schools Week begins in quite a festive way! It is the grand opening of the 60th anniversary year of our school. It is right that we celebrate the long commitment of our community to full-time PreK–8 Catholic education. Unfortunately the school's golden jubilee year in 2005 passed quietly by, coinciding as it did with the complex and even difficult merger process of our original parishes. Can you believe ten years have passed? Sixty years, however, is a diamond anniversary and we are right to celebrate it!
Today I think of the great figures in our diocese who were champions of Catholic Schools. At Our Lady of Sorrows, it was Fr. Paul Creco whose figure loomed large as he oversaw the organization and construction of the school and convent as well as the expansion of the church building. Barely two miles west, the people of Saint Anthony were inspired by the indefatigable Msgr. McCorristin ("Iron Mike"), who expanded an elementary school and built a high school. I think, too, of the great religious communities that oversaw these great schools—the Marianites of the Holy Cross at Our Lady of Sorrows and the Franciscan Sisters of Phildelphia at St. Anthony. These religious and priests were strongly supported by faithful and dedicated lay faculty and staff, and the many parishioners who were constant in their generosity!
Today, we are united; no longer independent parishes. While circumstances have changed dramatically since these schools were founded, their mission has remained the same. It is expressed so well by the great teacher, Pope Benedict XVI:
"A child walking through the doors of any of our Catholic Schools should immediately experience truth, beauty, and goodness...The very essence of Catholic education is Jesus Christ. Proclamation of the Gospel...serves as the pedestal to a deeper union with Him. In other words, we want our students to view the world through a Catholic lens...What is the mission of Catholic education? To form the soul of the child into a desire for an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ."
Our Lady of Sorrows School, an integral part of Our Lady of Sorrows - St. Anthony Parish, continues this mission in an inspiring way. On behalf of all, I thank our principal, Mr. Donald Costantino, and Mrs. Mary O'Boyle, our preschool director, as well as the faculty, staff, School Board, and PTA for their commitment to the mission., In turn, I thank you for your unwavering support and sacrifice. Together you help to make Our Lady of Sorrows School a community of faith, knowledge, and service.
Join us, this week and throughout the year, in the special events planned for our diamond jubilee!
Msgr. Tom Gervasio