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"Back to School" Mass Celebrated by Archbishop Blair

For Immediate Release
Contact: Maria Zone
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Hartford
(860) 541-6491

Back-to-School Mass to be Celebrated by Archbishop Blair on September 7, 2014

On Sunday, September 7th, the Office of Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Hartford will host a Back-to-School Mass to be celebrated by The Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, Archbishop of Hartford at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford at 2 p.m.

During the Mass which officially inaugurates the school year, each Catholic school will participate in a procession displaying their official school banner, and each will receive a pillar candle with the Archdiocesan emblem and the benchmarks of Catholic school excellence from the Archdiocesan strategic plan, 20†20 Vision: An Eye on Our Future, embossed on it. These candles will be burned at key events throughout the school year reminding us that we are the light of Christ.

The Mass will celebrate the excellence of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese and complement the exciting and unique ways in which they are all initiating the school year. Here is a sampling of what some schools are doing:

At Assumption School in Manchester, elementary students will be working with Google Chrome Books this year, just as their 6th – 8th grade classmates began to do last year. All Assumption students will enjoy an expanded foreign language program and a new science lab.

At Our Lady of Victory School in West Haven, the school is launching a full day Kindergarten-Prep Program which will welcome its first group of little ones this year. Students will also experience a brand new media center, created by combining the former library and computer lab to best utilize space, and equipped with 15 new computers.

At Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, students are mounting a Back-to-School Book Collection. They are collecting books geared toward all ages – baby books to adult books. Books can be brought to the school lobby on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, for donation to “The Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury, Inc.

At St. Brigid School in West Hartford, students and their families will be welcomed back to school with an “old fashioned” picnic on Friday, September 5th at 6:30 p.m. on the school’s ten-acre lawn. Families will bring their own picnic baskets and blankets. Two weeks later, on September 19th, St. Brigid will launch their monthly Saint Brigid School Speaking of People Symposium. Mark Ojakian, Governor Malloy’s Chief of Staff, and an alumnus of St. Brigid, will be the speaker. His presentation will take place in the school auditorium at 1 p.m. Looking ahead, the President of Eastern Connecticut State University, Dr. Elsa Nunez will be the school’s next speaker in October. Admission to the symposium is free to the students and faculty and $5 for the public.

At St. James School in Manchester, students and faculty will be celebrating their 92nd anniversary, making it one of the oldest schools in the Archdiocese. Amidst the celebration, fifth and eighth grade students will now enjoy the new iPads purchased over the summer for their use in the classroom and with assignments. The school is also welcoming a new priest into their family. Fr. Michael Casey will be assisting pastor, Fr. Kevin Cavanaugh.

At St. Joseph School in Meriden, Principal Katherin Sniffin was challenged by a 7th grade student to participate in an Ice Bucket Challenge on August 27th. The school donated their contributions to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa, which in its ALS research, adheres to Catholic teaching regarding the respect that is due to human embryos.

At St. Rita School in Hamden, students are also participating in an Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for ALS on Friday, August 29th. Raffle tickets will be sold and the winner of the raffle will pour an icy bucket over the head of Principal Sister Maureen Fitzgerald. The challenge will take place at 11:45 a.m. and proceeds will also go to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa.

At St. Mary School in Branford, the school has implemented a new buddy system for the young students who are enrolled in Pre-K (ages 3 and 4). This year, the pre-schoolers will be paired with their kindergarten counterparts for lunches and Masses on the first Friday of every month.

At St. Mary School in Newington, students “went Hollywood” on August 27th, the first day of school. They walked the red carpet, where they were greeted by Principal Marge McDonald who handed out fun props such as boas, tiaras, and sun glasses. After morning prayer and a discussion about St. Monica, who was the featured “Saint of the Day,” the students danced to the popular song “Happy" by song writer Pharrell Williams.

At St. Mary School in Simsbury, students will enjoy a new playground made possible by the Home & School Association’s Annual Auction fundraiser. Fr. Frank Matera, pastor of St. Mary, has blessed the playground. The school’s former playground set was donated to Kids Around the World, a nonprofit organization that provides playgrounds for schools in need.

At St. Stanislaus School in Meriden, students, staff and faculty will be gearing up for their year-long celebration of the school’s 100th anniversary. They will kick off this milestone with a breakfast for students, faculty, parents, alumni and parishioners on Friday, August 29. The alumni will share their memories with the students. Other events are being planned to celebrate the centennial.

The network of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford will have much to celebrate at the Back-to-School Mass on Sunday, September 7th, and all members of the school communities are encouraged to attend the celebration of this special Mass.



Maria Zone
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Hartford
134 Farmington Ave.
Hartford, CT 06105

St. Mary's School ~ 946 Hopmeadow Street ~ Simsbury, CT 06070
Phone ~ 860.658.9412
Fax ~ 860.658.1737

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