Catholic Schools Start Year with Opening Mass and Awards

“Go and make disciples of all nations…Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28: 16-20)

August 19, 2013

Catholic school principals, teachers and staff from across the Archdiocese of Washington gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception this morning to open the school year with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. Bishop Leonard Olivier, S.V.D. auxiliary bishop of Washington, concelebrated the Mass along with many priests of the archdiocese.

In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl addressed the principals, administrators, teachers, aides and staff of the Catholic school family of the archdiocese by telling them that in today’s world, the proclamation to “go and make disciples of all nations” takes the form of the New Evangelization, not because the message is new, but because for many, they were hearing it for the first time. “Ours is the challenge to help young people entrusted to our care begin to see with the eyes of faith. We do that by providing them a light to brighten their path, rather than leaving them to find their way in the dark,” he said.

“All around us is a world with a variety of lifestyles, values, pathways, all drawing their inspiration from sources very different from the Gospel. And here you and I are, voices in this great cacophony of contradictory and self-serving values and we are trying to hold up the image of Jesus…What gives such significance to the role of each teacher in every one of our Catholic schools is the special place you have in God’s plan that his word would reach young people today.” Every teacher of the faith, the Cardinal said, is “part of a continuum that reaches all the way back to those first Apostles who heard the command, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations.’”

The Cardinal referenced one of Pope Francis’ messages from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, “When young people understand the joy of being loved personally by God, it accompanies them for the rest of their lives and they too become witnesses.” He concluded his homily by calling on the gathered educators that the disciples came down from the mountain with the challenge ringing in their ears that they were to go make disciples of all nations with many emotions, some excitement, some enthusiasm, and some joy. “We, too, should begin this new year with enthusiasm, excitement and joy because we recognize that what we are doing is truly what Christ asks of us.”

Following the Mass, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Deacon Bert L’Homme recognized teachers and principals celebrating more than 25 years of service, as well as schools marking significant anniversaries.

Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Washington open on Monday, August 26. There are 96 early learning, elementary and secondary Catholic schools serving more than 27,500 students in the District of Columbia and Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland.

Below is a list of schools marking special anniversaries this year, followed by the list of thirteen Catholic school educators commemorating significant years of service with the schools in the Archdiocese of Washington.

195 years Holy Trinity School (Washington, DC)
145 years St. Peter School (Washington, DC)
120 years St. Mary of the Mills School (Laurel, MD)
95 years St. Michael School (Ridge, MD)
90 years Blessed Sacrament School (Washington, DC)
80 years Our Lady, Star of the Sea School (Solomons, MD)
70 years St. Jerome Academy (Hyattsville, MD)
50 years St. Joseph Regional School (Beltsville, MD)


Twenty-Five Years

Renee Duckworth, Saint Vincent Pallotti High School (Laurel, MD)
Patricia Fitzmaurice, Saint Mary School (Landover Hills, MD)
Margaret Hubbard, Catholic Schools Office (Hyattsville, MD)
Patricia Lutz, Saint Vincent Pallotti High School (Laurel, MD)
Christine Messick, Mary of Nazareth School (Darnestown, MD)
Patricia Quinn, Saint Raphael School (Rockville, MD)
Jean Anne Rabil , Mother of God School (Gaithersburg, MD)
Leslie True, Saint Mary School of Piscataway (Clinton, MD)
Annamaria Zimmerman, Saint Martin of Tours School (Gaithersburg, MD)

Thirty Years

Steve Bartl , Saint Bartholomew School (Bethesda, MD)
Lorrain M. Lee, Saint Augustine School (Washington, DC)
Patricia Deane Petruzzelli, Saint Elizabeth Catholic School (Rockville, MD)

Forty Years

Sister Joette Ebert, O.S.F., Saint Anthony Catholic School (Washington, DC)

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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