Dear Friends in Christ:
Next Sunday launches Catholic Schools Week across the nation! The National Catholic Educational Association began this week of celebration back in 1974. It starts the last Sunday of January and continues for a whole week. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” In a normal year we would celebrate this week starting with an in-person Open House, daily special events with our students, and other celebrations for families, parishioners, and the community. It is a way to highlight what Catholic Schools offer, the value Catholic education provides to our young people, and the positive impact Catholic Schools have in their community.
St. Bridget School is NO exception. We are very proud of our parish school! How blessed we are to have a parish school as part of the vibrancy and life of our parish family. I truly believe that parishes with a school are blessed in a particular way, as a parish school provides unique opportunities for building up families and the parish family that parishes without a school do not have. I have seen this firsthand throughout my priesthood and, most especially, during my time here, even during these past months!
Maybe you saw our banner in front of the rectory this week? This is no normal year. So we are marking Catholic Schools Week with a “virtual” open house! Won’t you join us?
We are very excited to be offering this virtual open house!!! We are working with a Story Real Studios in New Haven to produce a impactful, concise, and informative virtual open house! Of course, an in-person tour is available for anyone who wishes to come and see in-person what our school campus looks like, what the curriculum offers our students, and see firsthand our phenomenal faculty at work.
What makes me most proud about our parish school is that our young people learn daily that faith in God is at the heart of their total education and has an essential place in their everyday lives. It is, of course, obvious to all that not all of our Catholic young people have the opportunity to attend a Catholic school, as I myself did not. In fact, the majority of our school-age children attend public schools and a fair number of families choose to educate their children at home. In these cases, they rely on the religious education that is so diligently provided in our parish and in our family homes. A word of gratitude must be offered to our many catechists and our Religious Education Staff who during this pandemic have created ways to continue to form our young people in the faith even remotely.
For now, as we mark Catholic Schools Week in our parish school, we as a family of faith can only offer our admiration for the many fine teachers, administrators, staff, and benefactors of our parish school. They deserve our thanks for their commitment, and for the many sacrifices they make to teach and form the young people of our parish. And, I must personally express my gratitude to the many parents and families who make it possible, at times making sacrifices, for their children to attend Catholic schools. Without the high level of parental involvement that our school enjoys, they could not achieve the success we have seen for so many years.
Though NOT a product of Catholic Schools myself, I AM a strong proponent of Catholic Schools and not just simply because I am a priest. I am a proponent of Catholic Schools because I have witnessed firsthand what makes Catholic Schools, and particularly our own St. Bridget School, such a wonderful center for faith based learning and academic excellence.
This past year we welcomed our new Principal, Dr. Nancy Testa. I can honestly say that having a Principal with her expertise and of her caliber, tells me that the best is yet to come for our parish school! Great things await our school! She has already made a significant impact on our school family and for that we are most grateful.
Dr. Testa and I want ALL parishioners to know that St. Bridget School is ready and willing to assist in educating your child or children. St. Bridget School offers students a faith-based, challenging curriculum designed to promote academic excellence in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and grades 1 through 8. Committed educators guide our students through the day with lessons in faith development, math, language arts, social studies, geography, science, Spanish (grades PreK-8), music, art, and physical education.
We are thrilled with the presence of three religious sisters in our day-to-day operations with two Sisters, Sister Francesca and Sister Jeanne d’Arc, from the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist on faculty and, of course, Sister Patricia Cigrand, ASCJ, our Pastoral Associate from the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, whose office is located in the school. In addition, Father Federico and I visit classrooms and visit our students as often as we can and we are privileged to celebrate Mass with the entire school community EVERY Friday at 9a.m. Even now during the pandemic, with the help of technology and our amazing SmartBoards, the entire school “attends” Mass on Friday right from their classrooms while one grade comes to Mass in-person to assist with the readings.
St. Bridget School is also blessed with an amazing School Board made up of current parents, community leaders, parishioners, and YES alumni! The School Board is very active in working with Dr. Testa and myself to ensure that the school has the tools and resources necessary to fulfill its mission!
St. Bridget School stands in the long tradition the Catholic Church has in educating our young people to a higher degree of success. St. Bridget School is one of the highest scoring schools within the Archdiocese of Hartford in standardized tests. Catholic schools, and it is true for our parish school, establish a spirit of faith, family, and community in their students. The education our students receive at St. Bridget School stays with them their entire lives and can be the basis from which they orient themselves with the world. It also encourages them to remain grounded in the Catholic faith while they reach to fulfill their dreams. Our students enter our school to learn, and leave to serve as disciples of Jesus.
Catholic schools expect and guide their students to become successful citizens by encouraging them to develop their God given potential and use the talents God has blessed them with to further the building of their character. From this strong foundation, we build our students’ character, their understanding of the world around them, and a strong sense of faith while we model for them how to see the needs of the less fortunate and motivate them to respond to those needs.
We are charged with exceeding national standards and so continue to implement curriculum that provides a challenging course, grounded in basic skills necessary for students to develop foundational skills that lead to higher, more complex thinking skills, rooted in Gospel values, and integrating Catholic social teaching across all disciplines, ensuring the development of the whole child. Students graduating from St. Bridget School exceed state and national benchmarks, evidenced by our exemplary standardized test scores and high performance on high school placement exams. Most importantly, we truly educate the whole child: academically, socially, and spiritually.
What will you find in St. Bridget School for your child or children?
· Faith Based Learning with a Real World Approach
· Spanish Language from PreK3 to Grade 8
· Advanced Studies and Curriculum Resources
· Smart Boards, 1 to 1 Chromebooks in the Middle School, iPads and other technology in all other grades
· Athletic Fields and a Gymnasium
· Sports Programs including Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Cross-Country, Cheerleading, and Soccer
· Air-Conditioning throughout our facility
· Extra-curricular activities such as Robotics Club, LEGO Club, & more
· A Diverse Student Body
· Small Class Sizes with Differentiated Learning at ALL Grade Levels
· Enrichment Programs and Family Events
· Tuition Assistance
· Weekly Mass as a school family and Adoration
I want every family in our parish, with children of school age children, to feel that St. Bridget School is an option for them. Join us for our Virtual Open House beginning NEXT SUNDAY at www.stbridgetschool.org and see for yourself what our parish school can offer to your child(ren).
As always, please remember to pray for our parish family and ask God’s blessings as we build His kingdom here. Please know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me, that together through the intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, and Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world. Have a blessed week and stay safe!!!