St. Patrick’s Day 2023 took on a greater significance at St. Patrick School in Carlisle, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary throughout the year. In recognition of the milestone, Bishop Ronald Gainer celebrated Holy Mass for the nearly 400 students there, telling them, “St. Patrick is just like you, and this school.”
“He was a disciple of Christ,” the bishop told them. “And for 75 years since 1948 this school has been teaching students to go out into the world and be disciples of Christ…. Here you learn that you have a soul – not all schools your friends go to can teach that truth.”
“At St. Patrick’s you are taught that you will never cease to exist, your eternal fate is based on how well you live your life here…. That is what makes our Catholic schools so special, and I am so grateful your parents have chosen to send you here because they have many other choices, but they send you here. So please thank them for me for making the right choice in my view,” he said.
“St. Patrick was one of the great fishers of people in history…. He fell in love with God at an early age and he wanted to bring people to God. He gave his whole life to God,” Bishop Gainer told the students. “He was truly committed to his vocation.”
“The students always know it’s a special occasion when the bishop comes. They clearly know who he is and are always excited to see him and welcome him,” Principal Antoinette Oliverio said.
It’s a banner year for the Cumberland County school. Alongside 75th anniversary celebrations that included a gala for the greater school community and a number of in-school activities for students, the school is unveiling a brand-new STEAM wing in the coming weeks. The wing will give students hands-on experience in some of the fastest growing career fields.
“It’s wonderful to tie in the history of St. Patrick School and its humble beginnings to our STEAM wing, and we’re integrating and educating students in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics,” Oliverio said.
St. Patrick’s also continues to grow its enrollment, currently educating 394 students in preschool through eighth grade.
“The word is out about St. Patrick School, how far we’ve come and how special we are,” Oliverio said.
“I want the students to know that 75 years is an awesome anniversary and that they are currently a part of the history being made here,” she remarked. “This school is a special place because we get to celebrate that we are Catholic.”
St. Patrick’s is a “Leader in Me” school, an approach based on the work of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” The ongoing process teaches leadership and life skills to students, valuing synergy, proactivity and listening before you speak.
Students also benefit from programs in the arts, music and athletics, as well as service opportunities each year, with a curriculum that educates them in mind, body and spirit.
“What we’re doing here is phenomenal,” Oliverio said. “Our students are leaders in the school and in the community. I want them to know that we are special and they are special, and they can carry their faith and their service into the community and into the world as leaders for Christ.”
Learn more about St. Patrick School at www.spscarlisle.org.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness