Catholic Education in the North County During the 19th and 20th century, the Massachusetts communities of Fitchburg, Leominster, and Gardner– known as the North County –attracted European and Canadian immigrants to its paper mills, furniture making, and plastics factories. In the response to their needs for integration numerous Catholic parishes built schools to educate children and pass on the Faith to their families. For over 60 years, these schools proudly forged independent identities as well as ethnic traditions and customs that have served the community well. After a combined total of over 650 years of Catholic education in the North County, our mission remains steadfast — to reach out and serve families who seek a faith based education.
A Changing Environment Today however, a slow economy in the cities of Fitchburg, Leominster and Gardner affects all families including our many new immigrants from Asian, African, Spanish speaking and other countries. Declining church attendance, school closings, and reorganization of parishes all lead to further difficulties. Despite these and other challenges, we continue to move forward with our mission — to reach out and serve families who seek a faith-based education. The four parish elementary schools’ doors remain open, welcoming children from all economic circumstances and faith traditions.
Our Beginnings To ensure the schools’ viability in the North County, the Catholic Schools Office, under the leadership of Bishop Robert McManus established the St. Paul Catholic Schools Consortium. The Consortium is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity led by a volunteer board of directors who dedicate their time and knowledge to raise funds for the Catholic schools in the North County. Every year the St. Paul Catholic Schools Consortium hosts a celebratory dinner honoring individuals who have been champions of Catholic education.
Our Efforts Every year the St. Paul Catholic Schools Consortium hosts a celebratory dinner honoring individuals who have been champions of Catholic education in the North County. This dinner is the Consortium’s main fundraising event and is dependent on the generosity of those who value and support Catholic Education. Thanks to the the hard work and kindness of our community the dinner in recent years has raised well over $100,000 for the Catholic elementary schools in the North County allowing them to provide needed tuition assistance to worthy students. For the past several years the Consortium has also been able to provide assistance to St. Bernard’s Central Catholic High School for students coming from our parish elementary schools.
The challenge is great! The future of our children’s education and the sustainability of our schools depend on us. With God’s blessing, and the generosity of His people, the beacon of light will continue to shine for our children, our schools, and our communities.
St. Paul Catholic Schools Consortium P.O. Box 416 Leominster, MA 01453