St. Joseph, St. Lawrence schools to become parish-operated

January 21, 2010

St. Joseph and St. Lawrence schools to become parish-operated this fall

St. Joseph School in Penfield and St. Lawrence School in Greece will become parish-run schools this fall under plans approved by Bishop Matthew Clark, in consultation with the pastors of both parishes. The schools have been operated by the Monroe County Catholic Schools system since the formation of the system in the early 1990s. Both schools made announcements to parents at briefings this week (Tuesday evening at St. Joseph’s, Wednesday evening at St. Lawrence).

While the plan gives each parish direct control and responsibility over the daily operation of the schools and their finances, MCCS officials will continue to provide curriculum and staffing guidance and other support, such as information technology.

Overall staffing will not be affected.

From the earliest days of Catholic Schools in the 19th Century until the formation of the MCCS system in the 1990s, all schools in the Diocese were parish-run – and all outside Monroe County remain so. Nearby examples include St. Mary’s in Canandaigua and St. Agnes, Avon.

“Parents will find the transition seamless for them and will see no difference in the quality of their children’s education they have come to expect,” said Anne Willkens-Leach, superintendent of Catholic Schools. “This will be a true partnership for all.”

Said Rev. James Schwartz, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church: “We are excited to have the opportunity to directly operate and support this very important ministry to our youth. St. Joe’s was a parish-run school for the majority of its history, and we believe it will continue to flourish in this return to the parish,”

“St. Lawrence School is our pride and joy and we believe the parish-school partnership will be a tremendous benefit to the long-term future of the school,” said Rev. Frank Falletta, pastor of St. Lawrence Church.

Reversion was one of several major recommendations of the Monroe County Schools Task Force appointed by Bishop Clark in 2007. Members encouraged the Diocese to explore the idea, believing that over time parish-operated schools would be more economically efficient and create stronger links between parishes and on-site schools. St. Joseph’s and St. Lawrence are pilots.

Studies also are underway to determine the feasibility of reverting to parish-operated schools at two other sites as early as the 2011-12 academic year at St. Louis in Pittsford and St. Rita’s in Webster. No final decisions have been made. The four schools were chosen because of the vitality of the schools and the parishes.

St. Joseph’s, 39 Gebhardt Road, , has more than 400 pupils in pre-K through 6th grade and is led by Sister Christina M. Luczynski, principal. Parents interested in learning more about the school can call 586-6968 or email

St. Lawrence School, 1000 North Greece Road,, has approximately 230 students in pre-K through 6th Grade and is led by Principal Susan Sak. Parents interested in learning more about the school can call 225-3870 or email