Quincy Catholic Academy flourishing in first 5 years

Quincy Catholic Academy Principal Cathy Cameron and Rev. John O'Brien, former pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in North Quincy, were among those on hand to celebrate the dedication of the school's playground last June. Pilot photo/courtesy Quincy Catholic Academy

Quincy Catholic Academy has enjoyed tremendous success since it first opened its doors in September 2010. But that doesn't mean that the staffers there are ready to rest on their laurels.

With the school's five-year anniversary swiftly approaching, Principal Cathy Cameron is confident that the school, which educates students in preschool through grade 8, can reach even greater heights.

"We're now on a good track," she said. "I think we can prosper. I think we have a strong, bright future. I really do."

Her confidence is understandable, given the academy's history. The city of Quincy used to have three Catholic schools: Sacred Heart, in North Quincy; Saint Ann, in Wollaston; and Saint Mary, in West Quincy. With each school facing the reality of declining enrollment, it was decided that the Sacred Heart building would be the home of the new Quincy Catholic Academy (a name chosen to "stress the academic excellence," Cameron noted) and the other two buildings would be closed.

Unlike Sacred Heart, the academy is not a parish school. It is a corporation that answers directly to the Archdiocese of Boston, although Father Louis Palmieri -- pastor of the Quincy Catholic Collaborative of Saint Mary, Sacred Heart and Saint Ann Parishes -- chairs its board of directors.

Cameron said that initially, there were minor concerns among some parents that something special would be lost as a result of the consolidation.

"I think people were afraid we were going to lose that 'small Catholic school' feeling, that family feeling. We tried to keep as many of the traditions for all three (schools)," she said, adding that a lot of those traditions were already the same.

But very quickly, the new academy was embraced by all.

"The greatest thing that happened was that the teachers and parents could not have been more excited about the school," said Cameron. Perhaps as a result, blending in those students who had attended Quincy's two other Catholic schools "went much better than I ever thought it would," she added.

Before she was even appointed as principal, Cameron -- a veteran Catholic educator -- served on the committee that selected which teachers from the three schools would end up working at the new academy.

"We ended up with the best of the best," she said. "It's a great staff. I'm really proud of the teachers and staff."

The talented teachers' spirits were buoyed by Cameron's positive leadership upon her arrival, and good things started to happen. Although pre-academy numbers were not available, she said enrollment went from 369 and 368 in the school's first two years to 376, 383 and 390 in the next three.

"Initially the goal was 400 students," she noted, "and we're getting there."

Cameron said the average class has about 18 students -- although one in the 7th grade has as many as 26 -- and she thinks it "would be great" if that number could increase to 20.

The school will hold a 5th-anniversary celebration June 10, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. A special Mass will be celebrated June 8, at 1:00 p.m.

Looking beyond those dates, Cameron said the goals for the immediate future, in addition to boosting enrollment, include an increased focus on technology -- the school recently leased 25 new iMacs for its computer lab, and she wants to find a way to integrate such learning into the classrooms -- as well as the school's ELLs (English-language learners) and its advanced students.

Besides Quincy, the students hail from other South Shore communities such as Braintree, Milton and Pembroke, as well as Boston. The school also boasts an eclectic mix of ethnicities.

"We have the most diverse student population," said Cameron.

Recalling an event staged by its Irish step dancing afterschool club that clearly illustrated the academy's ethnic balance, she noted, "I was watching it and thinking, 'This is what we're all about.'"

Another of her favorite memories is from last June, when the school dedicated the Father John O'Brien Playground, which is named for Sacred Heart's previous pastor.

"It was a happy time," recalled Cameron. "It was another step that we made for the kids."

And for the principal, it's the students that really make the challenges of her post worthwhile. Five years into her job, she still enjoys greeting them when they arrive at school; she does it every morning, unless she has a meeting scheduled. On those days when she can't be there to say hello, one of the students will inevitably tell her, "I missed you out there."

"It's my favorite part of the day," she said of the students' arrival. "I love it. Being with the kids is the best part of my job."

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

World
Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

World
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Catholic workers say U.S. aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said ...