01/17/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/18/2020 09:54
WINSLOW---Upon reviewing the parish's consultative process which led to the recommendation by the pastoral council, finance council, and school board of Corpus Christi Parish, Bishop Robert P. Deeley has acknowledged their decision to close St. John Regional Catholic School, located on 15 South Garand Street in Winslow, at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
'Parents and parishioners, as well as the religious and clergy who have served the parish over many years, worked tirelessly to try to find a way to keep the school open. As evidenced by the sustained efforts over a long period of time by the devoted faculty, the generous support of the parish community, and the extensive consultation process by the parish leadership, their decision was not reached easily or quickly,' said Bishop Deeley. 'The parish remains dedicated to the mission of Catholic education, and the diocese's Office of Lifelong Faith Formation will be working with Corpus Christi to ensure that alternative programs and ministries are in place to nurture the children's spiritual, intellectual and emotional growth.'
'There was a consensus among our parish councils that continuing to operate the school could risk the financial stability and health of the parish moving forward,' said Fr. Daniel Baillargeon, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish (Notre Dame Church, Waterville; Sacred Heart Church, Waterville; St. John the Baptist Church, Winslow; St. Helena Church, Belgrade Lakes). 'We have already started helping current school families to assess their options, including possible enrollment at other Catholic schools for the next academic year.'
'The sad truth is that rising costs, a decline in school-aged children in the Waterville/Winslow area, and an increased demand for financial assistance made it unfeasible to keep the school open,' said Marianne Pelletier, superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools. 'As heartbreaking as this is for school families and alumni, we are grateful for the opportunity the diocese had in providing a quality education to generations of students. We also look forward to exploring new and creative ways to help children in the area cultivate their faith.'
St. John opened in 1927 with the Ursuline Sisters and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyons overseeing the school, which was originally operated in the church's assembly hall and south annex. In 1939, the north annex was attached. The Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in 1960 and the school building in use today was constructed.
'For over 90 years, students, teachers, and parishioners have generously supported this school,' said Bishop Deeley. 'The closing of St. John is not a result of a lack of generosity, but simply a demographic and financial reality. Corpus Christi Parish and the diocese will use this sad moment to strengthen our resolve to reach more young people with Jesus' message of love.'