Worthy Facebook Fan page: Support Clintonville Catholic school

By | April 10, 2010

What do you do when your parish’s Catholic school has financial problems and is faced with possible closure? For Jenn Wood, a member of St. Mary Parish in Bear Creek, the answer was easy: create a Facebook Fan page, seeking prayers and support from the Facebook community.

Wood, who is director of religious education at the linked parishes of St. Rose in Clintonville and St. Mary in Bear Creek, began the Facebook Fan page, “1000 People Who Care About Catholic Education in Clintonville & Bear Creek” on Friday evening, April 9. As of Saturday morning, April 10, 37 people were fans of the cause.

St. Rose and St. Mary School, located in Clintonville, faces closure due to the down economy, writes Wood. A letter was sent home to school parents on April 8 stating that the parish could not offer teacher contracts for next year “until we have $350,000 in the bank,” notes Wood.

“With the decline of the economy, our supporting parishes have financially suffered, and we are unable to offer our teachers contracts for next year. Please pray for us as we move forward during this difficult time,” she adds.

According to a description on Wood’s Fan page, people should join the cause if they care about Catholic education.

“Join if you want to see Catholic education continue in Clintonville, Bear Creek and Marion. Join if you are an alumnus of St. Rose or St. Mary or another Catholic school and value the education you received. Join if you teach in a Catholic school. Join simply if you wish to show support to the 50 families and the two parishes forced to make difficult decisions in a tough economy. Are there 1,000 people who care out there?”

Woods says what makes the school’s shaky situation hard to swallow is that it has a strong foundation of supportive parents and dedicated teachers.

“We have a committed group of parents who raise $40,000-plus per year and an excellent teaching staff serving one-half of the registered elementary school children in our parish,” she says. “Our school is a formation success hindered by the downturn in the economy.”

In an e-mail, Wood said she was inspired to begin the Fan page while leading a First Eucharist retreat for parish school and religious education students on Friday, April 9.

“Cleaning up in the kitchen, one of our moms said, ‘I am going to miss this kitchen,’ and she looked at all of us through tears,” said Wood. “It occurred to me on the way home, that while maybe I cannot save our school, I can do something. I can invite others to journey with us through this painful and difficult time. I can invite others to support us through prayer.

“We need a miracle, and God works miracles,” she continued. “Like the hemorrhaging woman who stepped into the crowd and touched the cloak of Jesus and was healed, I stepped out into the Facebook community knowing where two or three are gathered, Jesus is.”

To help Wood reach her goal of 1000 fans, go to this link. To learn more about the school, visit their web site.

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