Volume 75, Number 49 | April 26 - May 2 2006

Villager photo by Bob Kreizel

Principal Mary George of Our Lady of Sorrows School on Stanton St. got a group hug of support from students Kayla, in the Early Childhood Program, left, and Faith, a kindergartener, last month after the announcement the Lower East Side school might be closed. Last Friday, it was announced the school will stay open.

Joy at Lady of Sorrows, but other schools to close

The anxious wait over which Catholic schools in Downtown Manhattan would remain open and which would close ended last Friday. The news was good for Our Lady of Sorrows School on Stanton St. on the Lower East Side, which will stay open. But it was bad news for three other local parochial schools that will be axed by the Catholic Archdiocese. St. Joseph’s School at Washington Pl. and Sixth Ave. in Greenwich Village will close, as will Mary Help of Christians on E. 11th St. in the East Village and St. Columba School at on W. 25th St. in Chelsea.

The schools will shut their doors for good in June.

St. Joseph’s School at 150 years old was one of the city’s oldest Catholic schools. It is scheduled to be converted into a private school for gifted and talented students.

Next, the archdiocese will decide the fate of several Downtown Manhattan parishes. Facing possible closure, merger with other parishes or downgrading to missions are St. Veronica’s Church on Christopher St.; St. Vincent de Paul Church on W. 23rd St.; Guardian Angel Church on W. 21st St.; and the Church of the Nativity on E. Second St.

The real estate consequences of the changes have not been made clear, but private redevelopment seems likely in many cases.

Driving the reorganization are demographic shifts, a shortage of priests and lawsuits relating to priestly abuse.

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