Our Newest Apostolate:
All Saints Regional Catholic School
When the Canons arrived in Glen Cove in June, 2011, we assumed pastoral care for Saint Patrick and Saint Rocco through a team approach. Our community looks after them simultaneously with the clergy offering Masses, celebrating sacraments, teaching and participating in the events of both parishes. While change is always a a challenge, for the most part this new arrangement has been welcomed with generosity and gratitude because it insures the futures of both parishes even as they continue to grow in cooperation and mutual exchange. The possibilities for enrichment and support are nearly limitless.
In April, the Canons accepted the request of the Board of Pastors and the School Board to take a larger role in All Saints Catholic (www.asrcatholic.org). This larger role came after the decision of the previous principal to retire after nearly a decade of service, and the decision, in December, 2011, to allow All Saints to continue to exist despite a number of serious challenges in terms of enrollment and finances.
The Canons put forth Dom Elias to serve in the newly created office of Headmaster. In order to reinvigorate the school, the Board configured this office to place a significant effort on strengthening the Catholic identity of All Saints even while maintaining high academic standards. Once run by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the previous principal had been the first lay administrator. In the light of the challenges facing the school, it seemed sensible to place a religious or a priest in charge of the school: in this case, All Saints Catholic got both: a Canon Regular of Saint Augustine of Stift Klosterneuburg.
The Headmaster is in effect the chief executive officer of All Saints, who must at the same time deal with not only the faculty and student body, but also with the parents, families, parishes, the wider community as well as take an active role in financial matters. However, it was never foreseen that he should carry out these extensive and diverse responsibilities on his own. On the contrary, this new model of new governance eliminates the previous office of principal, and replaces it with two offices with overlapping and shared competences for the administration of the school. Working with and under the authority of the Headmaster is the Academic Dean. This office requires a candidate with extensive professional experience in the field of Catholic education and school administration. God provided the perfect person for this new position: Mrs. Joanne Fitzgerald, a former principal, assistant principal, teacher and life long student in the Catholic educational system.
The leadership team started working in May, 2012 to prepare for the new scholastic year in September. Numerous meetings over the summer made for a smooth transition. In addition to planning and other organizational matters, the team, in consultation with Dom Daniel, the pastor of Saint Patrick and prior of the Canonry of Saint Leopold, initiated a number of projects to improve the school including a new main office, new administrative offices and the acquisition of six new SMART Boards, i.e., interactive technology which aims to increase modes of teaching through multiple media lessons and access to Internet and other resources. Funds for these projects were gathered by the Canons as well as by other benefactors. One of the fathers of our students donated new office furniture; another parent, a new air condition for the new main office. Also the Home School Association carried out the first phase of an extensive playground beautification project.
At the conclusion of the first week of classes, the entire school came together to open the new scholastic year with the traditional Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit. Father Robert Romeo, pastor of Saint Boniface, local dean and chair of the Board of Pastors, presided at the liturgy and delivered the homily to a full church. The Mass commenced with an academic procession of the school’s faculty. Led by the flags of the United States of America and the Vatican City State, the students and families welcomed their faculty and the Academic Dean, Mrs. Joanne Fitzgerald. The liturgical procession followed with altar servers and the clergy including Dom Elias, Dom Daniel, and Dom Gabriel.
During the Mass, the new leadership team of the Headmaster and the Academic Dean took the Profession of Faith and the Oath of Fidelity. By this act, they publicly affirmed their Catholic faith, and their loyalty to the Church and her bishops as they began their term of service. The Profession of Faith consists of the Niceo-Constantinopolitan Creed with an addendum that articulates the hierarchy of truth proposed by the Magisterium (teaching authority of the Catholic Church). The Oath of Fidelity expresses the intention to execute the duties of the newly assumed office with a spirit of integrity, obedience and communion.
Beside Dom Elias’ daily presence in the school during normal hours of operation, Dom Daniel has set out to fulfill one of the promises of the new administration: the offering of Latin and German instruction. Dom Daniel teaches nine periods a week, meeting three times each with the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth graders who have elected to study German and Latin in a unique, innovative course. Dom Daniel also serves as the School Chaplain, responsible not only for organizing the monthly First Friday school Masses, but also overseeing the spiritual development of the children and the devotional life of the school. Dom Daniel’s efforts are a gift to All Saints. He conducts these courses entirely for free.
The Headmaster and the Academic Dean have commenced a thorough inquiry into the school’s operations with a view to a better articulation of the All Saints Catholic into three distinct institutions dedicated to early child learning, elementary and middle school education. Each age group will find a learning environment conducive and appropriate to it. Shortly, a new Beforecare program will commence to compliment our Aftercare program, as well as first wave of after school clubs. These, and many more initiatives springing from the new vision of the school, are summed up in the motto, Faith – Foundation – Future.
The Catholic faith is the source and summit, the origin and aim of this school. And what is the content of that faith? The Blessed Trinity who is the origin and goal of all Creation. This school seeks to impart a positive, holistic vision of the Catholic faith’s relationship to all aspects of human existence. For this reason, each subject will be brought into its proper and necessary relationship with our beliefs and practices. The faith is the foundation of the school, its reason for being. The school, moreover, lays a foundation for the students, because it is our goal to prepare them for a life of learning and achievement in the service of God and neighbor. The foundation so laid not only seeks to enable our graduates to pursue excellence wherever they go to high school, but also to make it possible for them to fix their vision on the ultimate goal of our lives: the Resurrection. This is the future we wish to propose; so that with their lives well lived, our graduates will have the imagination and the courage to carry their Cross and follow Christ, wherever He leads them, to join all the Saints in the New Creation.