Well, the school part is, at least.
St. Martin de Porres School has announced that it will go completely independent. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will provide some curriculum and benefits assistance, but that's it. The school will be run entirely by its board, the Friends of St. Martin de Porres School, who will be solely responsible for its finances and its future.
Get more information below--and thanks to Project reader Elizabeth Hildebrandt for passing this along.
The Project: An interesting move to be sure, and in some ways an unprecedented one. There isn't extensive detail as to the "why" behind the move, but I think Archdiocese fatigue is a pretty big factor these days. Witness this quote from the principal, Sister Nancy Fitzgerald:
"This has provided a growth and a transformation for the school and a real sense of stability," said Sister Nancy Fitzgerald, the principal. "When I register new families and I explain to them . . . that we are an independent Catholic school and that the archdiocese cannot close us, their eyes light up."
Perhaps more telling is the Archdiocese's own position on this.
Church officials, who have shuttered more than 30 cash-strapped schools in the archdiocese over the past five years, applauded the agreement. Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Senior said at Tuesday's ceremonial signing event that he hopes it can be replicated at other strained schools.
"(This) is a new model which the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is proud and pleased to support," Senior said.
Translation: we have no idea what we're doing, and we'd just rather someone else do it for us.
You can't really overstate the impact St. Martin de Porres has on its surrounding environs, so the Project is quite happy to see the school thriving--and, by extension, the parish itself. Since it won't have to support the school anymore, it can rededicate its funds and focus to the church and the parish--and its beautiful building.
That's most welcome news.