Bishop accepts school’s closure

April 24, 2015

Following the recommendation of Our Lady of Hope Parish leadership, the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, announced his acceptance of a recommendation to close St. Cecilia School in Clare at the conclusion of the 2014-15 academic year.

The recommendation and approval come following several years of valiant efforts and faithful attempts to retain the viability of the school. However, with only 25 students in Kindergarten to Fourth Grade attending the school currently, it became increasingly apparent to parish leadership that sustaining the school was no longer feasible.

“The school and parish committees must be commended for the considerable time, energy and prayer they have given to maintain our parish school,” said the Rev. Prentice Tipton, pastor at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Clare. “For decades, our school has served our parish and greater community by forming students in Christ while providing an excellent academic education.”

In a letter to Father Tipton conveying his acceptance of the recommendation, Bishop Cistone noted, “In view of the information available, the recommendation of the Parish Pastoral and Finance Councils, and your own recommendation, with deep regret I accept the recommendation that St. Cecilia School close at the end of this academic year. In doing so, I share your own sadness and that of the students, parents and parishioners of your parish community.”

Bishop Cistone went on to strongly encourage Our Lady of Hope parish leadership to do all that they can to see that those who desire a Catholic school education for their children have the opportunity to attend a neighboring Catholic school. He suggested potentially offering tuition assistance to students who enroll in other local Catholic schools and investigating busing options as well.

“I can assure our families that with Bishop Cistone’s request in our hearts and minds, our parish and finance councils will be looking at ways to continue support of Catholic education,” Father Tipton said.

The decision to close St. Cecilia School pertains only to the K-4 program at this time. A determination regarding the future of the preschool and extended care program will be discussed in the coming weeks.

“I recognize that our parishes and Diocese as a whole are experiencing extraordinary times in this economically unstable environment,” Bishop Cistone said. “Although these circumstances have caused some of our parish schools to reorganize or close, I remain steadfastly committed to doing everything possible to ensure the stability and growth of Catholic education.”

A special Mass will be celebrated toward the end of the school year to give teachers, current and former students, families and parishioners an opportunity to celebrate the wonderful legacy of St. Cecilia in the Clare community.

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