2010 Initiative breaks ground in Dorchester

Dorchester/ Mattapan Catholic school students who will attend the new John Paul II Catholic Academy fl ing shovels of dirt at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new academy May 5. Pictured looking on are: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, president and CEO of Suff olk Construction John Fish and the archdiocese’s new cabinet secretary for Parish Life and Leadership, Father Thomas Foley. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

DORCHESTER -- Four students set to attend Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy this fall broke ground May 5 on the project that will create a five-school system out of seven independent grammar schools in Dorchester and Mattapan. The symbolic ceremony took place outside the Columbia Campus of the academy, the former St. Margaret School adjacent to Blessed Mother Teresa Parish.

The Dorchester project is the second tackled by the 2010 Initiative, which seeks to revitalize Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston by the close of the decade.

At the groundbreaking, the students in hard hats enthusiastically represented their peers, shoveling dirt into the air and cheering loudly as improvements included in the school project were announced. On hand to witness the event were numerous Church and government officials including Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley as well as local business leaders instrumental in bringing the changes envisioned by the 2010 Initiative about.

Buildings will be refurbished with new windows, ceilings and lights. The schools will feature new classrooms, science labs, computers and gymnasiums. Changes to the curriculum will also be addressed, and the system will be realigned under a regional board and regional director.

At the press conference before the groundbreaking, guests toured a renovated classroom at the Columbia Campus. The building maintains its original hardwood floors with new lighting, windows and furniture. In the model classroom, an L-shaped teacher’s desk sits in the corner, a crucifix and American flag hang over the doorway and a photo of Pope John Paul II is placed over one of the classroom’s two giant magnetic marker boards.

“Pope John Paul II was a tireless supporter of Catholic education,” said Cardinal O’Malley.

The late pope, the academy’s namesake, believed that Catholic education is critical to the formation of the whole person -- intellectually, psychologically and spiritually, he added.

The cardinal rolled out the 2010 Initiative in 2005 to address the challenges primary schools in the archdiocese are facing.

The first 2010 Initiative project, Trinity Catholic Academy in Brockton, was completed last fall in just seven months, and three schools were combined into one school on two renovated campuses. A third project at St. Ann Elementary School in Gloucester was announced in February, and renovations at the 123-year-old school are anticipated for the summer of 2009.

“Cardinal Seán O’Malley is the man responsible for the renaissance of Catholic education in Boston,” said Jack Connors -- head of the newly-formed Campaign for Catholic Schools, which is charged with raising funds for 2010 projects.

Speaking at the press conference, Connors said the campaign has already raised $25 million toward its $68 million goal for Dorchester, and he predicted that the amount will reach $45 million by Labor Day.

Connors added that in the Archdiocese of Boston, the number of schools and enrollment have dropped dramatically. There are currently 99 schools in the archdiocese, down from 250 in 1960 and enrollment has decreased by 5 percent in each of the past five years, he said.

The schools in Dorchester and Mattapan have also struggled in recent years, facing declining enrollment and financial challenges. A committee, formed to discuss the 2010 plan in Dorchester and Mattapan, projected that no school would require more than 10 classrooms by 2011.

John Fish, president and CEO of Suffolk Construction, said the interest in the new academy has been “phenomenal.” So far 1,250 students are enrolled in the new John Paul II Academy, an increase of 250 over the enrollment in the separate Dorchester and Mattapan Catholic schools.

The 2010 plans in Dorchester, which call for the closing of three school buildings -- St. Peter’s, St. Kevin’s and St. William’s, were announced in December 2007. An eighth school, St. Brendan’s, chose to opt out of the regionalized school system but will still benefit from fundraising efforts.

All five campuses in the new school system -- located at former St. Angela, St. Ann, St. Gregory, St. Mark and St. Margaret Schools -- will offer pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Renovations at St. Margaret’s began in January, and the building, which is not currently in use, will open in the fall. St. Ann’s will be refurbished, reopening in September 2009, and students will be relocated to a different building during construction.

Though no longer used as a school, the Teen Center at St. Peter’s will remain open and also undergo improvements. Operated by Catholic Charities of Boston, the center will invest $4 million to add staff, upgrade facilities and provide transportation for teens.

The second stage of the project will introduce new programs for gifted students and those with learning difficulties. Improvements on St. Gregory, St. Angela and St. Mark school buildings will be completed by September 2010.

In addition, all current students are guaranteed places in the new school system, and every teacher and current staff member will have a priority opportunity to be hired in the new regional school.

Menino, who attended Catholic schools for 12 years during his youth, told the students at the press conference, “These are the days you will always cherish when it’s over.”

He termed Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy an “oasis” and called for the city to work together to provide quality education for its youth.

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 ...