Students, Families and Community Leaders to Join Bishop Olmsted as he Blesses New Campus Grounds, Unveils Sign Marking St. John Paul II Catholic High School

PHOENIX (March 29, 2016) — The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, invites the community to a special event at 10 a.m., April 5, to celebrate the next step in establishing St. John Paul II Catholic High School, the first Catholic high school to serve the growing number of Catholic students and families in the far West Valley.

Hundreds of future students, their families and community leaders will participate in a short program, which will include a blessing of the campus grounds by Bishop Olmsted and an unveiling of a sign marking the site of the new Catholic high school at 13720 W. Thomas Road, Avondale, AZ 85392, adjacent to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish.

Dignitaries and community leaders who will be present at the celebration include Kenn Weise, Mayor, City of Avondale; Georgia Lord, Mayor of Goodyear; Skip Hall, Vice Mayor, City of Surprise; Tom Schoaf, Mayor, City of Litchfield Park; John Safin, President & CEO, Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce; Jeff Glosser, Director of Academic Alliances, Grand Canyon University; and more.

“To build a Catholic high school in the far West Valley, the most rapidly growing area of our state, is a clear statement about the importance of young Catholics in the Church’s life and mission today,” said Bishop Olmsted. “I am delighted that our people know this and are ready to make the sacrifices required to prepare our youth for their unique and vital mission in society, as friends and witnesses of Jesus Christ.”

The target startup date for St. John Paul II Catholic High School will be the fall of 2018. Fundraising for the school will begin in the near future and be part of comprehensive Diocesan-wide campaign that will unfold over the next five years. Costs associated with establishing the new Catholic high school will be released at that time.

A yearlong feasibility study and community support confirmed the need for a new Catholic high school in the region. The West Valley has experienced high growth in recent years and is projected to continue for the next decade. Two nearby Catholic schools, St. John Vianney and St. Thomas Aquinas, continue to experience growth in enrollment. Religious education and youth programs at both parishes are at record-high numbers.

“Our schools provide a rich Catholic culture and environment which fosters students learning in their faith and academics, as well as offering students a wide variety of service activities,” said MaryBeth Mueller, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Phoenix. “We are excited to offer this new high school that will assist in the formation of students who will be disciples in this world and enrich society with the leaven of the Gospel.”

St. John Paul II Catholic High School will be led by a community of religious sisters, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, who are new to the Diocese of Phoenix. Sr. Mary Jordan Hoover, O.P., will be the first principal of St. John Paul II Catholic High School.

“I am grateful to God for the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia and their commitment to establishing a new presence here in the Diocese of Phoenix,” Bishop Olmsted said. “Their community has been committed to Catholic education and evangelizing children and their parents since their founding more than 155 years ago. We are blessed to have their contributions to the mission of the Church at St. John Paul II Catholic High School and the surrounding communities.”

The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, commonly referred to as the “Nashville Dominicans” due to their historical roots in the city dating back to 1860, are acclaimed for their expertise in Catholic education and for their academic and spiritual leadership.

“Our community is excited about being part of the life of the Church in the Diocese of Phoenix,” Sr. Mary Jordan said. “We look forward to meeting the people, especially the families who will one day be part of St. John Paul II Catholic High School.”

More than 14,000 students currently attend one of the Diocese of Phoenix’s 28 Catholic elementary schools, six high schools and 28 preschools throughout the Diocese of Phoenix. Students receive a rigorous, faith-filled education that prepares them for the challenges of higher education, a competitive world and for being faithful witnesses of the Gospel of Christ. An estimated 99 percent of students graduate from high school; 97 percent go on to attend college.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix was established Dec. 2, 1969, by Pope Paul VI. Led by the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, more than 1.1 million Catholics make this diverse, vibrant and faith-filled diocese their home.

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