Local news in brief

Cambridge schools benefit from Gates’ grant — Franklin native volunteers at Appalachian mission progam — Blessed John Seminary celebrates Alumni Days.

Cambridge schools benefit from Gates’ grant

Two local Catholic schools will benefit from a $6 million gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Cristo Rey Network.

The Cristo Rey Network is a national association of high schools that provide quality Catholic, college preparatory education to young urban people who live in communities with limited educational options.

North Cambridge Catholic and Notre Dame High School in Lawrence are among 23 schools nationwide to provide this innovative educational model that prepares students for college through a rigorous academic curriculum and helps them gain work experience through the Corporate Work Study Program.

The grant will enable North Cambridge Catholic to offer its teachers enhanced professional development to better meet the needs of the students.

“The greatest benefit of this grant is that it will impact instruction by providing teachers with increased opportunities for professional development which in turn results in higher student achievement and a stronger work ethic,” said Robert J. McCarthy, principal and interim president of North Cambridge Catholic.

Franklin native volunteers at Appalachian mission progam

Andrew Digan, a parishioner of St. Mary Parish in Franklin and student at the University of Notre Dame, traveled to Vanceburg, Ky. the week of Oct. 14 to volunteer at GlenMary Farm, an immersion program of the GlenMary Home Missioners.

GlenMary is a Catholic society of priests and brothers who, along with coworkers, is dedicated to serving the spiritual and material needs of the people throughout Appalachia and the rural south and southwest.

The farm program, which began in 1972 as an attempt to interest young men in joining GlenMary as priests or brothers has a broader mission today. Each year hundreds of men and women come from all over the United States to experience rural, and specifically Appalachian culture.

Digan and fellow Notre Dame students worked on construction projects with People’s Self Help Housing as well as visited a nursing home, a senior citizen’s center and an adult day care program.

Blessed John Seminary celebrates Alumni Days

Fifty-five alumni returned to their alma mater to celebrate Alumni Days at Weston’s Blessed John XXIII National Seminary Oct. 17-18.

Since 1964, the unique educational institution has been dedicated to preparing men--at least 30 years old-- who have contributed to their community through a secular career and are now responding to a call to priesthood.

“Alumni Days gives our graduates an opportunity to visit their former home and meet current seminarians who aspire to also spend the remainder of their days working in the Vineyard of the Lord,” said the Father Peter J. Uglietto, rector of Blessed John Seminary. “We especially enjoy having the opportunity to recognize alumni celebrating milestone anniversaries, which this year ranged from five to 20 years since their graduation.”

The event included a keynote presentation on the evening of Oct. 17 from Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., director of education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia and a priest of the Diocese of Fall River. Father Pacholczyk spoke on “The Science and Ethics of Stem Cells and Cloning” during his keynote address.

The following morning Gerald P. Corcoran, M.D., president-elect of the Catholic Medical Association, spoke on the topic “Medical and Moral Issues for Today’s Parish Priest.”

The two-day event concluded with an evening Mass for deceased alumni; along with a reception and banquet. During the banquet alumni celebrating milestone anniversaries of their graduation were honored.

Augustinians hold blessing for new Hispanic formation house

The Augustinians of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova gathered in Lawrence Nov. 3 for the blessing of Casa Agustin, a house of discernment for Hispanic and Latino men who wish to explore the Augustinian way of life. The house was blessed by Father Donald F. Reilly, OSA, prior provincial of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, to mark its official opening.

The Casa Agustin program is designed specifically for Spanish-speaking aspirants in need of spiritual, academic, and linguistic preparation.

Directed by Father Luis Madera, OSA, Casa Agustin is set up as a bilingual house so that aspirants may grasp a better understanding of the English language without losing their Hispanic heritage. In this setting, Hispanic men may comfortably contemplate the idea of an Augustinian vocation while adjusting to American culture.