MORNINGSIDE (KDKA) — Parishioners at Morningside Catholic Church are devastated tonight along with families who attend St. Raphael School.
The word that the school would not be reopening for the start of the school year came just today.
This after the school, church, and community raised several hundred thousand dollars to keep it open.
Those who attend St Raphael Parish and live in Morningside say the two went hand in hand. The school and church were so mutually enmeshed in the community, now word that St. Raphael School is shocking after a fight to keep it open.
“Endless love pours into this place,” said Jeffrey Bouvy, a St. Raphael Parishioner.
For a group of children outside St. Raphael holding signs and many others in Morningside, St. Raphael School was not only a place for them to learn and grow in their faith.
“I’ve known them so long they feel like family to me, same with the teachers and everything,” said Maddalena Frings a student at St. Raphael School.
“This was a stone in this little community here. You’re talking about four or five streets that make up Morningside, this was the centerpiece,” Bouvy said.
Despite the open enrollment sign out front, word came during Saturday’s 4:00 mass that the school would not be reopening.
What’s more shocking to parishioners and families attending St. Raphael’s is they thought they had saved the school.
Because of a decline in enrollment and donations, the school faced a deficit of about $250,000.
They raised that amount and more and were breathing a sigh of relief for the children who attend here.
“We thought we had hit home a home run,” Bouvy said.
“We were promised that 2019-2020 the doors would be open because they needed the money,” said Kelly Harrah the incoming PTG President.
This week families say they received little communication from the diocese about financial aid and other beginning of the school year Information, and then word today the school would not reopen.
“We feel it was purposeful betrayal,” Harrah said.
In a little over a week’s time, while waiting to hear from the diocese, the families who attend here say enrollment dropped from 70 students to less than 40.
The Diocese says the decision was a difficult one that some of the funds raised to save the school will be used as scholarship money for each student to attend nearby Sacred Heart or another Catholic School.