SETON UPDATE: A PASTORAL MESSAGE FOR OUR SCHOOL COMMUNITY
SETON UPDATE: A PASTORAL MESSAGE
FOR OUR SCHOOL COMMUNITY
Dear Seton School Family:
It was with great sadness that we all learned of the closing of our beloved school a week ago today. As I mentioned last weekend at Sunday Mass, Cardinal Dolan called me personally to relate his painful decision. Conversations with Mrs. Daley (Regional Superintendent) and Mr. Donahue and a zoom conference with the faculty followed. Since she would be especially upset by this development, I felt it was important to speak with Sister Gabriel and to tell her the bad news myself. Always a paradigm of strength and an apostle of prayer, she offered to be of assistance in any way she could as she promised to pray for us all.
Over these last few days we have been overwhelmed by messages of love and support from so many people. Parishioners noted the end of a long and proud era. Many former students related stories of how the school prepared them for life in ways they would only come to appreciate years later. Parents of graduates related stories of their children’s academic and professional success which they credit to strong Seton foundations. Most of all, everyone seemed to speak of friendships nurtured, faith shared and charity lived during their school years at Seton.
Understandably, current school families spoke of shock, anger and deep sadness. Children cried over the loss of trusted teachers, familiar surroundings and good friends. Questions about the future abounded.
For me these are signs of a truly successful school. Academic excellence, strong faith development and familiar ties are what our Catholic schools are all about. With this legacy in mind, the principal, staff, faculty, and home school association leaders had worked tirelessly to promote the school and to build up enrollment. Many of you had become ambassadors for the school, never failing to invite others to come and see. I myself have been fighting with the Archdiocesan Superintendent to try and get tuition parity with neighboring Catholic schools since coming to Seton. The parish had doubled efforts to offer financial assistance, while investing heavily in building upgrades. All of these efforts were beginning to make headway until the unexpected class consolidation last year and the tragic pandemic this year.
Do know that I share your pain and disappointment. In all of my assignments I have been fortunate to minister in parishes with large schools. As I look back, some of my most notable memories as a priest involve parish schools. Yet as I survey those many schools now, I recognize that none of them are nearly as large as they were then. The parish school I attended as a youngster and graduated from closed a few years ago.
Although it is difficult at this time to bring people together for healing and support, we hope to create an opportunity to pray together soon. Your suggestions for such a gathering are most welcome.
As you look to the future, please consider your education options carefully. For those able to commit, we invite you to consider other Catholic schools in our area. You may wish to consider Catholic home schooling. For those who choose public or private education, do know that our excellent Religious Education Program is available to serve you and your family. The ongoing sound formation of your children in Catholic Faith and Morals is most important to us all.
Since the children are particularly anxious, it is helpful to reassure them that they will still be members of the parish, can still be with friends, and can still participate in CYO, scouts, choir, altar servers and numerous other Seton activities. The school family is but one household in the much larger parish family.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance to you or your family. Be assured of my prayers for you, your children and our faculty, administration and staff.
May Mother Seton assist us in finding our way forward…
Sincerely yours in Christ,
A prayer with children remembering God is with us
Lord God, you are always with me.
You are with me in the day and in the night.
You are with me when I’m happy and when I’m sad.
You are with me when I’m healthy and when I am ill.
You are with me when I am peaceful and when I am worried.
Today I am feeling (name how you are feeling)
because (reasons you are feeling this way).
Help me to remember that you love me
and are with me in everything today.
on Thursday, July 16 at 1:38PM