30 March 2010
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – March 30, 2010 – It is with much sadness that the Diocese of Rockville Centre announces that Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School in Massapequa Park will close as of June 2010. The K-8 school has faced a rapid decline in its enrollment. The current enrollment of 168 students represents a 19.6 percent decrease over the previous year. For the upcoming 2010-2011 school year, only 77 students were registered. Since 2000, the school has seen a 52 percent decline in enrollment. Further, the parish subsidy to the school in 2009 was nearly 43 percent.
“It is always sad when a Catholic school has to close,” said Sr. Joanne Callahan, O.S.U., superintendent of schools, Diocese of Rockville Centre. “But projected enrollment at Our Lady of Lourdes made it educationally and financially impossible for the school to continue. The parent information night gave parents an opportunity to meet with the principals of neighboring Catholic schools. Many of those parents will be enrolling their children in another Catholic school. We know the students will be most welcome and principals will make every effort to make the September transition for the children as seamless as possible.”
“What is perhaps the most painful part of seeing Our Lady of Lourdes School close is that the children will be saying good-bye to a school they truly love and a school in which they are in turn truly loved and cared for,” said Rev. Msgr. Jim Lisante, pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes parish. “Our small size – a detriment in one sense – has also been a great asset in allowing the children to feel welcome, secure, known, and appreciated. The faculty and staff have shown themselves to be superior on all counts, led by a most dedicated and caring principal this past year, Ms. Rita Swift. Speaking as pastor for only the past two years, I can only say that I have been impressed with the value of Catholic education and the wonderful gift these children are to all of us.”
The school administration is assisting parents in the placement of their children at neighboring parochial schools for the September 2010/11 school year. Those schools include: St. John Baptist de La Salle Regional Elementary school, Farmingdale; St. Martin of Tours Elementary school Amityville; St. Rose of Lima Elementary school, Massapequa and Maria Regina Elementary School, Seaford.
“We trust in Our Lady of Lourdes to continue to guide us and to be with our students as they leave here and move on in their educational and spiritual formation” said Msgr. Lisante. “Please pray for our teachers who have nurtured and educated your children. This will be a very difficult time for them as well.”