Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Since I became Administrator at Immaculate Conception Parish last June 1st, 2018, I have done my best to assume my responsibilities as Pastor and to learn about our Parish and the pastoral needs of our parishioners. As you know, part of my responsibilities is Immaculate Conception School, which has been serving and imparting intellectual formation to generations of students since its founding by Fr. Lowney in 1910. I write this letter to inform you and to ask for your help, as together we may face the future of our school guided by the light of faith and God’s wisdom.
Over the years, Immaculate Conception School has encountered different problems – and in each generation God has inspired those in charge with the wisdom and the love to guide it until today. The school that Fr. Lowney opened in 1910 to provide Catholic Education to the people in Marlborough faced a problem of lack of space in the 1950’s and, in a decisive move, Msgr. Evers purchased the land where the New Building/Middle School was opened to continue preparing its students for the future. Today, we find ourselves again at a crossroads as we evaluate the current situation of the School and the possibility that it may continue its mission forming our children and imparting spiritual and intellectual formation to them.
Shortly after arriving in Marlborough, I began to review the financial situation of the school and discovered a steady decline, both in enrollment and financially. Our School had gone from 211 students in 2013 to 140 last year! Last year the school ran a debt of $100,000 and we are currently looking at a projected loss of another $160,000 by the end of June 2019. Faced with these numbers, I first approached some members of the School Board and the School Administration to express concern about the current situation and I told them that we could not continue to operate the school in the terms in which we were running it. As time went on and as the efforts of the Administration to improve results proved insufficient to run the School, I then brought the matter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley and to the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Mr. Thomas Carrol. Working together, we decided that without an immediate and urgent intervention to change the course of the school, Immaculate Conception School would not be able to open its door in the Fall of 2019. We then drafted a plan that called for a replacement of the leadership team in the school to begin a rebirth that will make Immaculate Conception School once again, vibrant, inspiring and successful in its mission of schooling the children of Marlborough for the future.
To this end, at the request of Cardinal O’Malley, Bishop Reed wrote a letter to the school parents encouraging them to attend a meeting that was well attended, and during which I introduced the new School Principal and Academic Coordinator. Both of them shared their vision for Immaculate Conception School and I believe that their inspiration, doctrinal formation and enthusiasm is key, not just to impart sound spiritual and intellectual formation to our children but also to contribute to the rebirth of Immaculate Conception School.
Finally, in spite of all the difficulties of the past few weeks, I am happy to tell you that two anonymous benefactors have already come forward donating a total of $85,000 for our school. Make no mistake: I am passionate about our school and I am totally committed to our students and to our faculty. I believe in strengthening our academic program to attract more families and to put the school on a strong financial footing capable of helping, especially large families as they face hardships, yet remain committed to giving a Catholic formation to their children. I also value your commitment to our School, and I treasure that you have entrusted your children to us. Together, with the blessing of God, we can help our school.
Father Steven Clemence