St. Mark, St. Laurentius, Holy Trinity to stay open

Posted: February 16, 2012

At least three of the 21 Catholic elementary schools that had appealed recommendations to close will remain open.

Holy Trinity Catholic elementary school in Morrisville, St. Mark in Bristol and St. Laurentius school in Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood said they won their appeals to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to stay open.

The Rev. Francis A. Gwiazda, pastor of St. Laurentius, said he received a phone call around 12:30 p.m. today informing him that his school had been spared.

The school and parish community, he said, will hold a special prayer service this evening at 7 p.m. to give thanks that their prayers had been answered.

Holy Trinity posted the announcement of its decision on its website this morning. It said that the school's appeal of a blue-ribbon commission's recommendation that it close in June and merge with another school had been granted. Holy Trinity's parish school will continue in the fall.

And the church bells at St. Mark started ringing this morning, and parents were celebrating the good news on the school's Facebook page: "St. Mark Loves Father Mooney and Supports Him 110%."

Parents and parishioners of nearby St. Ephrem in Bristol were jubilant, as well. Their school had been slated to join with St. Mark to form a regional school.

"Rejoice!!! Our appeal was accepted," read the e-mail the St. Ephrem School circulated to the school community late this morning. "There will not be a merger between St. Ephrem and St. Mark schools. St. Ephrem School will continue as a parish school.

In all, at least 21 parish schools and three high schools had appealed the commission's recommendations for closure. Although pastors and school officials were being informed of the appeals status Thursday, the archdiocese was not expected to announce Archbishop Charles J. Chaput's appeal decisions until Friday.


Contact staff writer Martha Woodall at 215-854-2789 or at martha.woodall@phillynews.com

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