Friday, June 14, 2013

A Catholic School Closing Hits Close to Home: "May Our Tears Be Turned Into Dancing"

My brother and his wife are raising three children just outside Washington, D.C.  This year, their children's parochial school is closing after 60 years. The school was founded by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and became run by lay administrators and teachers about 10 years ago. Nationwide, hundreds of these Catholic elementary schools have closed due to declining enrollment,  secularization and rising costs.

This is a photo my brother posted on his facebook page today from the school's final Mass.

For my brother's family, the closure of St. Catherine Laboure School is like the loss of a family member: so much of their children's lives have happened there. All three children were baptized at its parish and the older two celebrated their First Communions here, too. Douglas, Robbie and Grace will attend another Catholic elementary school nearby, but the network of shared experiences between their friends and their families will fray.

At the final Mass, the gathered teachers, administrators, parents and students sang: "City of God."

Here is my niece and my youngest nephew as they left St. Catherine Laboure School for the last time.


  1. :( I went there

  2. Another school closes but the students, teachers and staff will always carry that spirit with them!

  3. It is always sad to see an established institution close its doors. No doubt that change is difficult in the short-term, but let us hope that some of those relationships will endure, and that new, vibrant ones will be formed.

  4. The school my siblings and I attended closed last year. The parish has leased the building to an organization that provides services for disabled adults. Back in the day, we had a nun who taught a class of "special" children in the basement of the church. The parish members felt that there was a special beauty in now providing space for disbled people to help them become part of the community. Basements no more!