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January 24, 2005


Cardinal Justin Rigali has accepted a revised school plan submitted recently by the Regional Vicar, Rev. Msgr. Francis W. Beach, on behalf of the parishes in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. Saint John the Baptist Parish and Saint Josaphat Parish will remain as individual parish elementary schools. Holy Family, Saint Lucy and Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish Elementary Schools will join together to establish a new Regional Catholic School to be known as Holy Child Catholic School. The new school will be located at the site of the present Holy Family Parish School.

Saint John the Baptist Parish and Saint Josaphat Parish, in conjunction with their Parish Pastoral and Finance Councils, believe they are in a position to provide quality Catholic education in their own parish schools, without the financial assistance of the Archdiocese. They requested approval to alter the original scenario which was submitted by the Steering Committee (the Committee included participation by members of each of the five Manayunk parishes) in November 2004. Under the recent scenario, a new Regional Catholic School would have been formed using three of the five sites with all five of the present parish schools closing. All current, existing schools would have closed and there would have been a rebirth of a regional school which would have used some of the existing facilities.

The School Study Committees and the Steering Committee, with the assistance of Archdiocesan personnel, worked for two years on the difficult task of examining declining enrollment and changing demographics in the Manayunk community. The Steering Committee believed a restructuring was necessary because current enrollment at all five schools combined is only 890 students; compared to 1285 just three years ago. The work of the Steering Committee over the past two years has helped to provide the facts and insights that have led to this outcome.

Cardinal Rigali said, "I recognize and am grateful for the leadership of the Regional Vicar, Monsignor Beach, and the dedication of the members of the Steering Committee as they worked for the best solution for restructuring the five parish elementary schools. After listening to many voices and in view of the lack of consensus with the previous scenario, I have decided to accept the altered plan of restructuring, which I believe is best in this particular situation. It is my hope and prayer that all the faithful in Manayunk will be united in their support of Catholic Education and guided by our Lord Jesus and His Holy Spirit."


Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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