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South Boston Online
  Tuesday, March 3, 2015
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xtra xtra!
Gate of Heaven Update
By Rick Winterson

     Last week, Fr. Robert Casey, the Pastor of the combined St. Brigid and Gate of Heaven Parishes, sent a letter home to the parents of students in the Gate of Heaven School.  Briefly, that letter asked them to make a choice between two alternatives.  The first was to accept a tuition increase of $1,000 per student per year; the second, close the Gate of Heaven School and send its students to St. Brigid School instead.  Decisions from the affected parents were requested by Monday, May 15.

     This led to a meeting of concerned Gate of Heaven parents and parishioners at the PAL Gym on Friday evening, May 12, at 7 p.m.  Approximately 200 people attended.  Emotions ran high – from sadness to anger to disbelief.

     A cross-section of comments and questions is briefly listed below:

     Sen. Hart reviewed the competition for students in Boston, including pressures from charter schools and other Catholic schools.  He expressed optimism that a solution can be found, because both schools are currently viable.  He also placed the issue in a neighborhood context – the loss of the school will have an impact on quality of life here.

     Kevin Lally and Touchie McDonough emphatically stated the need to keep the Gate of Heaven School open for the medium term, along with their skepticism regarding what has been repeatedly told to Gate of Heaven parishioners. 

     Sean Monahan insisted on being “part of the process”, so that every possible choice can be examined.

     Mo Hanley called for better long-term planning, including meetings with other parochial and private schools.

     Many of the questions showed substantial confusion about putting $6 million into the church renovations, without making sure that the school finances, the CYO programs, and the fate of the convent were firmed up.  Some suggested that funds for the lower church be diverted to the school.

     A further meeting will be held in the Gate of Heaven Church Wednesday night, May 17, at 7 p.m.  Interested parishioners are asked to attend.

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State Sen. Jack Hart (2nd 1.) confers with parish activiists

Kevin Lally, sean Monahan, and Touchie McDonough prior to the Gatey school closing.

The standing-room-only crowd at the PAL Gym for the Gate of Heaven School closure meeting.