NEW YORK — After months of review and discussion, the Archdiocese of New York announced last week that, due to financial challenges, 24 Catholic schools — 22 elementary and two secondary — will be closed at the end of this academic year. Holy Name of Jesus School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is one of them.
The students and their families were given the news on Jan. 22. Two months ago, the parishioners were informed of the likely possibility of a closure, said Daniel Kenna, OFM.
“Our parishioners were informed at our weekend Masses two months ago that there was a great likelihood that our school would be closing in June,” said Daniel. “Along with some 20 other schools in the system, we had been placed on an at-risk list by the archdiocese at that time. This information was shared, in a letter from me and the principal, with our faculty, students and parents. We were given the past two months to come up with the money needed to operate the school in the black for the coming year.
“We were expected not to present a plan on how we might raise the money but to have the actual dollars in hand,” he added. “It was an impossible task for us. Over the course of the past four years, the archdiocese has provided more than a million dollars in direct subsidy to our school. Unfortunately, this cannot afford to continue to do so.”
Holy Name School, more than 100 years old, was founded in 1905, according to its website. As recently as a dozen years ago, it was still one of the largest schools in the archdiocese, with more than 500 students. Its enrollment has declined in recent years. In 2010, the school was the site of the presentation by the friars of Holy Name Province of the HNP Francis Medal to Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his environmental efforts.
Staffed by the Franciscans since 1990, the parish’s Franciscan Community Center commemorated its 20th anniversary last year.
Several other schools affiliated with HNP parishes have been closed in recent years. They include St. Anthony of Padua School in Butler, N.J., and Sacred Heart Academy, in Tampa, Fla., both of which closed in 2012, as well as All Saints School in New York City and St. Paul’s School in Wilmington, Del., that announced their closings in 2011. Assumption School in Wood-Ridge, N.J., and St. Joseph School in East Rutherford, N.J., shut their doors the previous year.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.