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Mass celebrates milestone in Dorchester-Mattapan 2010 Initiative

Seventh graders from Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy’s Neponset campus are pictured outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Sept. 16. Students from all five of the school’s campuses attended a Mass presided over by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley to celebrate the academy’s opening. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

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Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrated an opening Mass for Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy Sept. 16 with more than 1,500 students, faculty, parents and dignitaries at the South End’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

“We are grateful for the generous contributions of so many who have assisted in this effort to strengthen and enhance Catholic education in Dorchester and Mattapan. Catholic education is an important ministry in the life of our Church as we seek to educate future generations of Catholic, civic and professional leaders,” said Cardinal O’Malley. The school opened Sept. 8 on five campuses in Dorchester and Mattapan.

Secretary of Education and Superintendent of Schools of the Archdiocese of Boston Mary Grassa O’Neill said, “More than 1,500 students, many new to Catholic education, began the school year at Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy ready to learn.” O’Neill became the Secretary for Education Services in June.

“Much has been accomplished through collaboration and dedication in recent months and today we are seeing the very positive results of these efforts. We are grateful for Cardinal Seán’s vision and commitment to strengthening Catholic education here in the archdiocese for our students and their families,” she said.

Catholic schools in Dorchester/Mattapan are being revitalized through a comprehensive plan, designed at the local level, as part of the Archdiocese of Boston’s 2010 Initiative. The academy has established a Web site at www.popejp2catholicacademy.org.

Jack Connors, the chairman of the 2010 Strategic Planning Committee said, “Catholic schools have a bright future because of the enormous commitment of the cardinal and literally hundreds of people looking to help make a positive impact in our communities.” Connors is also the chairman of the Campaign for Catholic Schools.

“Dorchester and Mattapan are now poised to lead the way forward in this effort locally, just as we witnessed in Brockton with the establishment of Trinity Catholic Academy. The Archdiocese of Boston, with the generous support of many individuals and foundations, has taken a leadership role in revitalizing and strengthening Catholic education for so many children today and in the future,” he said.

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