Archbishop and Teachers Gather for Opening Mass and Awards

August 22, 2008

Nearly 2,000 principals, teachers and staff from the 98 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington will start the new school year with a Mass celebrated by Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl.

Monday, August 25, 2008
10:00 a.m.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
4th St. and Michigan Ave., NE, Washington, DC

Immediately following the opening Mass (approximately 11:00 a.m.), a recognition ceremony will mark special anniversaries for teachers, principals and schools. Mary Van Ryswick, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teacher at St. Michael School in Ridge, Maryland (St. Mary’s County) will receive the Sister Mary Lucille, RSM, Outstanding Teacher Award, which was created 11 years ago through a donation by the late NBC Washington Bureau Chief and Meet the Press Moderator Tim Russert.

Seven schools with noteworthy anniversaries will be recognized:

Washington, DC
• St. Peter Interparish School (SE) celebrates 140 years.
• Blessed Sacrament School (NW) celebrates 85 years.

Montgomery County
• St. Michael the Archangel School (Silver Spring) celebrates 75 years.
• St. Peter School (Olney) celebrates 50 years.

Prince George’s County
• St. Mary of the Mills School (Laurel) celebrates 115 years.

Southern Maryland
• St. John School (Hollywood) celebrates 85 years.
• Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Solomons) celebrates 75 years.

Seventeen Catholic elementary school faculty and staff are commemorating significant years of service with the schools in the Archdiocese of Washington and will be honored at the Mass:

Washington, DC
• 30 years: Maria Velez, Holy Trinity School (NW)
• 25 years: Lorrain Lee, St. Augustine School (NW)

Montgomery County
• 30 years: Gayle Pyryt, Mary of Nazareth School (Darnestown)
• 25 years: Mary Ellen Beane, St. Bernadette School (Silver Spring); Donna Clarke, St. Bernadette School (Silver Spring); Lorraine Chase, St. Bernadette School (Silver Spring); Mary Kay Frazier, St. Jude School (Rockville); Barbara Hession, St. Jude School (Rockville); Denise Ligon, St. Jude School (Rockville); Mary Strong, St. Jude School (Rockville); Susan Kirkbride, St. Bartholomew School (Bethesda); Melissa Werning, St. Elizabeth School (Rockville)

Prince George’s County
• 25 years: William Johnson, St. Columba School (Oxon Hill); Denise Steadman, St. Mary of the Mills School (Laurel)

Southern Maryland
• 40 years: Carole Page, Cardinal Hickey Academy (Owings)
• 25 years: Peggy Garner, St. Mary School (Bryantown); Colleen Van Gasbeck, St. Mary School (Bryantown)

Archdiocesan elementary schools in Southern Maryland open the next day, Tuesday, August 26. Archdiocesan elementary schools in Washington, DC, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties open September 2.

The Archdiocese of Washington serves about 30,000 students in 98 schools in the District of Columbia and Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland.

Catholic school information is online at

Kathy Dempsey
Office of Communications
[email protected]