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Blessed Pope John XXIII Academy Seeks Supporters of St. Joseph’s and Our Lady of Lourdes to Protest Decision to Close School

Carolyne Volpe Curley

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 • 4:07pm


WEST ORANGE, NJ - Archbishop John J. Myers, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, announced that he would be closing Blessed Pope John XXIII Academy, the elementary school which is co-sponsored by both St. Joseph’s and Our Lady of Lourdes in West Orange. The school is expected to close on June 30 due its enrollment not having increased over the past seven years. As well as West Orange, the Academy serves students from the communities of Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington, Livingston, Montclair, Newark, Orange and South Orange

Principal Lynda Wright commented, “Our school has been deeply rooted in West Orange for years. Although our students come from diverse backgrounds, we are all dedicated to cultivating an environment that promotes equality and respect as well as spiritual and intellectual growth in our students. Besides being committed to an outstanding Catholic education, we are also accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. When I heard this news, I was brokenhearted for all of us.”

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Credit: Lynda Wright

The school’s parent community is protesting the decision with a meeting this Thursday, March 27, in the Parish Center. “Our parent community kindly asks for your support to preserve and continue the legacy of our school’s existence in the West Orange community,” the group said in a public announcement on Monday.

The school is inviting all past alumni, parishioners and concerned residents to join their efforts to reverse the decision of the Archdiocese. They are seeking former students and parents of both St. Joseph’s and Our Lady of Lourdes to partner with them in a grassroots efforts to make their voices heard. The intention of Thursday’s meeting is to raise awareness and mobilize a strategic plan.

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Credit: Lynda Wright

Msgr. Donald Guenther, the pastor at St. Joe's, commented, "The next few months will not be easy for our school community. There has been much effort and work poured into our school over the past seven years by our Principal and the wonderful group of teachers on staff. We can never thank them enough for their dedication and commitment to the children of our school."

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Credit: Lynda Wright 
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