Channel 5 volunteers join school’s ‘Extreme Makeover’ efforts

Anchors Dave Brown, Heather Unruh and meteorologist J.C. Monahan of WCVB Channel 5’s EyeOpener morning newscast try their hand at painting a classroom at St. Patrick’s School in Roxbury. Pilot photo/ Neil W. McCabe

ROXBURY -- Three members of the WCVB-TV News team joined volunteers from the Blue Crew, Loomis Sayles, and West Roxbury’s Catholic Memorial High School Aug. 14 for an ‘‘Extreme Makeover’’ at St. Patrick School.

“It is just so important for the kids to come into classrooms that are clean and fresh,” said Mary D. Lanata, who is in her second year as the school’s principal. Lanata was previously the principal of Dorchester’s St. Matthew’s School, which is now closed. “It is an example to the kids to show that people really do love them and care about them,” she said.

‘‘Extreme Makeover: My Hometown’’ is WCVB’s version of the national ABC program ‘‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.’’ This project was a partnership with the Boston Catholic Schools, Loomis Sayles and the Blue Crew, the volunteer program at the Massachusetts Blue Cross and Blue Shield, said Karen Holmes Ward, the director of public affairs at Channel 5. Holmes Ward is the host of the station’s “CityLine” program and it is her office at WCVB that coordinates the program.

Among the Channel 5 volunteers, were General Manager William Fine, EyeOpener morning newscast anchors Heather Unruh and Dave Brown and meteorologist J.C. Monahan.

Brown said it was fun to come to St. Patrick’s to help out. “It brings back memories for me. I love seeing the small tables and desks and the old blackboards.”

“This is such a wonderful place. But, it does need a new coat of paint,” said Unruh. “It feels good to do something nice like this.”

Holmes Ward said the partnership has finished eight different makeovers in the state, including the renovation of a former convent into a home for women in transition and another former convent into a home for troubled children.

With desks and chairs piled up in the center of the rooms and walls and hallways taped and blotted, the volunteers brushed and rolled new coats of paint throughout the school, including the former basketball court, now converted into a lunchroom and theater in the basement.

That afternoon, the asphalt was cut for the new basketball court surface in the parking lot across the street, said Allan D. Coffee, a field engineer with Suffolk Construction, whose CEO, John Fish, is leading the archdiocesan-wide renovation of parochial schools.

The basketball court is sponsored by Loomis Sayles, the Boston-based mutual fund house that adopted the school, said one of the painters, John D. Russell, the firm’s chief counsel and head of human resources. Last year, Loomis Sayles sponsored the school’s playground set. “The court should be ready to use shortly after the school years starts.”

Adopting the school was the way the people of Loomis Sayles responded to Peter Lynch’s call for supporters of Catholic education to focus on specific schools at a fundraising dinner for the Inner-City Catholic Schools Scholarships, he said. Since retiring from Fidelity Investments, Lynch has devoted efforts to Catholic philanthropy.

In addition to improving facilities, the firm supports a Wednesday afternoon tutoring program that he participates in as well, he said. “We focus on reading and other skills that the teachers ask us to work on with the students.”

To sustain the program, Loomis pays its volunteers their regular wage for time they spend tutoring or painting, said Sandra Howes-Wilson, who works in Loomis’ communications department.

Although it is still summer vacation, seven current students, one alumnus and two faculty members of Catholic Memorial responded to the call for volunteers for the makeover, said Brian T. Scott, the school’s director of religious education.

Mary J. McCarthy, a member of the Blue Crew, said she and her brother and sister attended St. Patrick’s school.

When she saw the call for volunteers at work, she took advantage of the chance to return to the school, she said.

It was her first time back at the school since she graduated, an undisclosed number of years ago, she said.

The Extreme Makeover: My Hometown and other programs are efforts to let people, especially alumni of the Catholic schools know they are still up and running, said Michael B. Reardon, the executive director of The Catholic Schools Foundation. “We are trying to bring people back.”

Earlier in the week, Reardon led a group of 1957 graduates of St. Patrick’s through the school, he said. “None of them had been back since they graduated.”

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said that, although he could not join the makeover because he was attending another community event in Roxbury, he was very much aware of the program and its contribution to the community.

“The vital partnership of Peter Lynch and John Fish is doing a tremendous service working with the archdiocese to repair and improve these schools,” Menino said. “Institutions like St. Patrick’s are so important because they have the strength to keep going and remain in the neighborhood after the people who went there have moved out.”

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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, ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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. ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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. ...

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...