The following letter was shared with members of the St. Stanislaus Kostka parish community during Masses last weekend.
My Dear Parishioners,
As you well know, this week I announced that I had approved a recommendation submitted by the pastors and pastoral administrators of Vicariate IV and the Bay Area Catholic Schools Advisory Committee that St. Stanislaus Elementary School close at the conclusion of the current school year, June, 2011.
I realize there is no way in which I can sufficiently ease the sadness you must feel at this time nor do I expect that everyone will agree with this decision. Yet, I felt compelled to express to you my affection, my prayerful support, and my solidarity with you.
No single person or committee is responsible for this decision. Many factors are converging at this time in our diocesan history which currently affect our Catholic schools throughout the Diocese. Among the main factors are declining enrollment, unemployment, shrinking financial resources and escalating costs. I greatly admire the extraordinary efforts which parishes and parishioners have made and continue to make in order to maintain their own local schools. I commend these efforts and good intentions. Nonetheless, the reality remains. I firmly believe that if we do not address these issues now and make the difficult, painful choices to consolidate our resources, we face the very loss of Catholic education itself.
I have come to appreciate the rich history of St. Stanislaus School. For over 100 years, your school has been a source of faith and knowledge for countless young men and women. Although, in recent years, St. Stanislaus School no longer operated as an independent parish school but in collaboration with all the parishes in the Bay area, the financial condition of all the parishes, including St. Stanislaus Parish, remains a serious concern.
Despite this decision, I remain optimistic that, by consolidating our resources, we will be in a better position to not simply provide but further strengthen Catholic education here in the Bay area now and in the future. I hope that the parents and students currently enrolled in St. Stanislaus School will make every effort to continue their Catholic school education within the Bay area.
May our Lord continue to bless you and all your loved ones and may Mary our Mother watch over you always.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone, D.D.
Bishop of Saginaw