Malden Catholic's Era of Good Feelings
Historians among us will recall that fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, ushered in what became known to some as the Era of Good Feelings in 1817. With the conclusion of the War of 1812, a young nation was ready for expansion, national unity was a priority, and morale ran high. As Malden Catholic celebrated its opening Mass of the Holy Spirit this past week, it was with a faith-filled certitude that its own "era of good feelings" could only be through the power of God's spirit working through dedicated faculty and staff, docile (read "teachable"!) students, wonderful partner-parents, and amazing alumni supporters.
Optimism at the start of a school year is not unexpected, but it is always welcome! At Malden Catholic, the good feelings come as a result of many things, a powerful synergy of enrollment strength, facilities enhancement, and program growth. And, of course, like so many other institutions, the school is able to resume a post-pandemic normalcy, refreshing in itself. In ranking Malden Catholic High School 12th in size among the State's private schools, the Boston Business Journal reflects the fact that Malden Catholic is the fastest-growing private school in the State, with a 65 percent enrollment growth over the past three years. Student population currently at 780, with a ninth-grade class of 218, is almost equally distributed among boys and girls. The co-divisional advantage of single-gender classes allows teachers to tailor instruction to support the social/emotional needs of young men and young women and provides opportunities for integrated social and co-curricular activities after school.
Very recent, significant, facilities enhancement is still another reason for "good feelings!" In the final quarter of Academic 2021-22, Malden Catholic dedicated a newly built chapel, where already students have gathered before classes for weekly Wednesday Rosary and weekly Friday celebration of the Eucharist. During the summer, the School also prepared a new space as a Campus Ministry Center, able to accommodate up to 25 students and staffed with theology and campus ministry personnel throughout the day. Together, the chapel, the Campus Ministry Center, and the programs of worship and service flowing from the Center, reflect Malden Catholic's fidelity to its mission of building a community of faith. The participation of over 130 MC students and parents in last weekend's Leonard Florence Center for Living's ALS Walk for Living attests to the vitality of the School's longstanding commitment to service.
The opening of the Thomas and Olivia McDonough Performing Arts Center signals another major building enhancement. Dedicated just this week and now on-line for its first season of use, the Performing Arts Center is a state-of-the-art black-box theater with stadium seating for 225 and two adjoining arts classrooms outfitted for rehearsal and performance needs. Headmaster Mr. John Thornburg says, "We are deeply indebted to alumnus Tom McDonough (MC '66) and his wife Olivia for allowing our dreams for a new performance-and-rehearsal space to come true!"
Full resumption of co-curricular programming and end-of-year extracurricular successes, finally, inspire the good feelings that motivate the start of this year! A Division II Boys Basketball State Championship, a New England National Botball Tournament title, and a first-ever Catholic High School State Championship in the Massachusetts State Bar Association Mock-Trial Tournament, the excitement of having graduated our first class of young women, all have students fired-up for the year ahead! The four-day/three-night Malden Catholic Leadership Institute held in August at Endicott College prepared 75 members of the new senior class -- boys and girls -- to take the lead in bringing their energetic talents to the school community!
Though historians will say that James Monroe's Era of Good Feelings was not without its challenges, and Malden Catholic -- like any vital school today -- must navigate a sometimes bumpy road, the School continues to invite God's good work through dedicated hands and will follow the wisdom of the Xaverian Brothers' motto, to "March On, God Will Provide!"
BROTHER THOMAS PUCCIO, CFX, A XAVERIAN BROTHER FOR 55 YEARS, SERVES AS DIRECTOR OF MISSION INTEGRATION AT MALDEN CATHOLIC AND TEACHES THEOLOGY. IN HIS 37 YEARS AT THE SCHOOL, HE HAS ALSO SERVED AS HEADMASTER AND AS LONG-TIME PRINCIPAL.