EducationThe Northern Westchester Examiner

St. Columbanus, St. James to Eliminate Middle School Next Year

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Two Catholic schools in the region will be eliminating grades 6 through 8 in the next academic year under a plan announced last week by the Office of the Superintendent of Schools of the Archdiocese of New York where 12 schools in Manhattan and the Bronx will close.

St. Columbanus School in Cortlandt, which has been offering a faith-based education since 1957, and St. James the Apostle Church in Carmel, which has been educating children since 1954, will both become Pre-K through fifth grade schools, starting in the 2023-24 school year.

The Archdiocese of New York stated on Feb. 15 community research, detailed studies and other analysis determined which schools would close their doors and which schools would have to reduce their grade levels.

“We understand these are challenging times for many families, and this is indeed a sad day for everyone in our Catholic schools community,” said Michael Deegan, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York. “I personally mourn the loss of every one of our great schools. However, as we process this news, we must realize that the great tradition of Catholic education in New York will continue, and we will assist all students who are seeking to carry on their Catholic education to find a seat at another excellent school in the Archdiocese.”

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York currently serve about 53,000 students from Pre-K through 12th grade across 170 schools in nine counties and boroughs throughout New York, including Westchester and Putnam.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, current St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Pastor Rev. Father Robert Quarato announced he will be leaving the Shrub Oak parish to become pastor at St. James the Apostle and Our Lady of the Lake Mount Carmel Parish, effective March 1.

In a letter to parishioners of the Carmel parish, Quarato stated he was asked by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, to help “rejuvenate” the parish following the recent death of Monsignor Anthony Marchitelli.

“The members of your parish community have been truly blessed with many gifts and talents,” Quarato stated. “Together you have created a warm parish family with a deep faith life and a vibrant spirit. I feel honored to be missioned as your new shepherd and look forward to meeting each of you and your families.”

Quarato, 60, who informed parishioners at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton at Sunday masses of his imminent departure, studied at Saint Anthony School and then went on to Cardinal Spellman High School and Fordham College in the Bronx. He then entered the Doctoral Program in Philosophy at Fordham and served as a graduate teaching assistant. During that time, he discerned a call to the priesthood while volunteering for various committees and ministries at his new parish, Holy Spirit in Cortlandt.

He was ordained a (Transitional) Deacon on Dec. 23, 1991. On May 16, 1992, he was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood by John Cardinal O’Connor at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.


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