Bishop Donald Kettler has directed the pastor of Holy Cross Church in Pearl Lake/Marty to lead the parish in a discernment process focused on transforming its parochial school into a new ministry better suited to the gifts and resources of the community. The 2020-2021 school year will be the last for Holy Cross School as a pre-K through grade 6 school, according to a May 1 news release from the Diocese of St. Cloud.
“The school has provided many generations of families with a solid education grounded in Gospel values,” Bishop Kettler said. “I know this is a difficult time for families, staff and parishioners who love their school. But it has been facing considerable challenges for some time due to changing demographics, diminishing enrollments and other barriers to long-term operational vitality. These trends underscore the challenges regarding the school’s solvency and sustainability.
“This was not an easy decision to make, but I believe it is in the best interests of the parish and respects the principles of good stewardship,” he said. “I continue to pray for the school and parish community during this time of change and transition.”
The school, parish and diocese have been aware of these challenges for several years, the news release noted. Bishop Kettler met with representatives of the school in mid-April. He consulted with Holy Cross pastor Father Matthew Crane, the leadership of the St. Cloud-area Catholic Community Schools system, of which Holy Cross School is a part, and other advisers with expertise in education.
Catholic Community Schools will help the students currently at Holy Cross School to find other opportunities for a Catholic school education, the release said, adding that CCS will assist the school’s teachers and staff in finding other opportunities to continue working in Catholic education.
In an April 30 letter to families of Holy Cross, Father Crane said he would like to “mark with fitting solemnity and celebration the achievements of the great apostolate of Holy Cross School” and to complete the discernment process to raise up an alternative apostolate.