Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Nov
  • 15

Supporters of Catholic schools dine, honor couple and raise money

Posted By November 15, 2012 | 1:14 pm | Lead Story #3
Consortium Dinner 048WEB

By Patricia O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

FITCHBURG – One highlight of the St. Paul Catholic Schools Consortium 5th Anniversary Celebratory Dinner was a lively auction conducted by Joe Sova.
It raised a total of $9,600 to benefit the North County elementary schools.
“I’m telling you, the tailgate itself is worth that,” said Mr. Sova, as he sold two pairs of tickets, for $700 each, to last Saturday’s football game between Boston College and Notre Dame.
The auction items, all donated, included tickets to the Boston Celtics/Phoenix Suns game and tickets for when the Celtics play the Minnesota Timberwolves. There were also Patriots/Dolphins and Patriots/Colts tickets.
Or, the 450 people gathered in the Grand Ballroom of the Four Points by Sheraton could bid on a trip to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, eight complete meals at Sonoma Restaurant in Princeton or season tickets to Theatre at the Mount in Gardner.
“The Suns aren’t that good, but they have three Catholics on the team,” noted Mr. Sova, as he unloaded the Celtics/Suns combo. One Suns player, he explained, got his start at Notre Dame Prep School in Fitchburg.
Mr. Sova, who works in the banking industry, fell into the role of auctioneer. While auctioning items for another organization, he was spotted by Norman Boudreau, a consortium board member.
“Anything Norman asks me for I’m happy to do,” he said. “He’s been such a personality in the community.”
Mr. Sova said, in the last couple of years, he’s developed a routine.
“The fun part for me is that I know a lot of the people and I can call them by name,” he said, explaining that he met many of them through the Catholic school system, or while working in the banking industry. He’s a graduate of St. Bernard Central Catholic High School and now works at Avidia Bank.
Mr. Sova said he was very happy with the amount raised, but, if he had known it was so close to $10,000, he would have tried to raise more.
“That will be for next year,” he added.
After the auction, Bishop McManus presented the annual St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award to Mr. Boudreau and his wife, Carol. This is the highest recognition given by the Catholic Schools Department.
Mrs. Boudreau spoke about her family’s history in the Catholic school system. Both she and her husband attended Catholic elementary school.
When our four children reached school age there was no question as to whether they would attend Catholic school, she explained.
“Sadly, over the years, we have seen many parish schools close in Fitchburg and Leominster,” she added, noting that when the consortium formed six years ago, with the mission of strengthening the remaining schools, her husband gladly took a position on the board.
“We strongly believe the future of our Church is rooted in the education of our children,” she said.
Bishop McManus reflected upon his own Catholic education, and he stressed that the “vibrancy and vitality” of the faith “depends upon the Catholic school system.”
He said supporting the Catholic schools should fall upon the entire Catholic community, “because it is so vital.”
He called for public financial support of the Catholic schools, as many students now enrolled are not Catholic. He said the schools need to continue reaching out to new immigrants, as they’ve historically done.
Bishop McManus dispelled rumors that St. Bernard Central Catholic High School is closing. “That’s not the case,” he said, adding that this is the only Central Catholic High School in the North County.
A group of elementary school parents were also at the Four Points because their children performed in the Consortium Chorus and the Lions & Tigers Band. The band is comprised of students from St. Leo and St. Anna schools in Leominster.
Catherine Judge’s son, a six-grader at St. Leo, plays the trumpet. She feels blessed he’s able to receive a Catholic education.
“From the moment you walk into St. Leo’s school you see a loving, committed group of people in service to one another,” she said. “You feel the presence of the Holy Spirit really enfleshed in the willingness to go, as the school’s motto says, “One pace beyond.”
“Obviously, to send your child to a Catholic school for most of us entails sacrifice and we feel as if it’s well worth it,” she added.