Malden Catholic school to close

MALDEN — Father Richard J. Mehm, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Malden, announced April 11 that his parish’s school would be consolidated with St. Francis of Assisi School in Medford. Immaculate Conception School will close at the end of this school year.

“This consolidation is being done so that we might strengthen Catholic education in our area. Combining with St. Francis of Assisi School will allow us to have a larger school population and a stronger academic program,” Father Mehm said in a statement.

Father Mehm cited declining enrollment, depletion of savings, increased deficits and rapidly increasing tuition as factors in the school’s closing.

Immaculate Conception School was founded in 1881 and staffed by the Sisters of Notre Dame until 1999.

“Immaculate Conception Parish has been committed to Catholic education for 125 years and has educated thousands of people,” the statement said.

The consolidation will provide transitioning students with opportunities they did not have at Immaculate Conception. St. Francis School has a gymnasium and science lab as well as a larger cafeteria, auditorium and library.

“St. Francis of Assisi School will be able to accommodate all of Immaculate Conception’s students and offer them many more programs,” the statement said. “A plan has been developed which will help with the process of transition.”

This process will allow students to visit the new school and streamline registration. Both schools will join together to celebrate Mass at Immaculate Conception Parish on Ascension Thursday, the statement added.

St. Francis’ pastor, Father Joseph Foster is working closely with Father Mehm as well as the principals of both schools, the statement said.

“Both pastors are well aware of the pain and sadness which accompanies these kinds of closings and consolidations,” the statement said.

“We hope and pray that we can make this transition as comfortable as possible for the good of Catholic education and for the good of the Church,” Father Mehm said.