July 17, 2012

In My Opinion: Larger impact seen from loss of St. Mary's

We are all stewards.

Our time here is temporary and brief. Our communities, our churches, our schools are here because someone came before us and did what was necessary to create and maintain them.

We have a responsibility to future generations to create, preserve and enhance that which is good and worthy.

St. Mary’s Academy in Champlain is good and worthy and deserves to be kept alive for as long as there is reasonable hope that the school community can continue to support it. The school may be on life support, but now is not the time to pull the plug.

At the meeting held in the church on July 16, it was eye-opening to see and hear people say that making the decision to send their children to this little Catholic school required a great leap of faith on their part. Some of them had lost their faith in God and the church, and through making this decision and commitment and seeing what was happening with their children, they were finding a reason to believe again.

But now, that journey back to faith has been abruptly derailed.

Certainly, not all of the speakers were that dramatic, but with one exception, all spoke in favor of continuing with the efforts to keep the school going, even if it’s just one year at a time for the foreseeable future.

The decision to keep the school open one year at a time can happen again and again, but the final decision to close the school can happen only once. There will be no going back after the doors are closed. In listening to the people who believe in the future of St. Mary’s Academy, I believe they deserve the opportunity to continue on their journey.

I think closing the school now will result in a great loss to the parish of St. Mary’s. Not only the loss of the school, but I fear the parish will lose  parishioners and that the overall financial situation will actually be worse than it is now with the school open.

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