Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Letter to members of the St. Valentine parish community

(The following letter was shared with members of the St. Valentine parish community during Masses this past weekend.)

My Dear Parishioners,

As you may know, this week I announced that I had approved a recommendation submitted by leaders of St. Valentine Parish, in particular leaders of the parish school, that St. Valentine Catholic School close at the conclusion of the current school year, June 2011. I realize there is no way in which I can sufficiently ease the sadness you must feel at this time. Yet, I felt compelled to express to you my affection, my prayerful support, and my solidarity with you.

Many f actors are converging at this time in our diocesan history which currently affect our Catholic schools throughout the Diocese. Among the many factors are declining enrollment, unemployment, shrinking financial resources and escalating costs. I greatly admire the extraordinary efforts which parishes and parishioners have made and continue to make in order to maintain their local schools. I commend these efforts and good intentions. Nonetheless, the reality remains. I firmly believe that if we do not address these issues now and make the difficult, painful choices to consolidate resources, we face the very loss of Catholic education itself.

I am most respectful of the 61-year legacy of St. Valentine School and grateful for the outstanding support of the school by this parish family. Your school has been a source of faith and knowledge that continues to shine in the lives of all the students who were formed and educated in this program. It is my understanding that St. Valentine Parish will collaborate with neighboring parishes so that children from here may be welcomed and cared for in the nearby Catholic schools. I hope that the parents and students currently enrolled in St. Valentine School will make every effort to continue their Catholic school education with these opportunities.

May our Lord continue to bless you and all your loved ones and may Mary our Mother watch over you always.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone, D.D.
Bishop of Saginaw

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