In his July/August Newsletter, after thanking for the congratulations on the birth of his ninth child, Fr. Eric Bergman, pastor of St. Thomas More Ordinariate Parish, Scranton, Pennsylvania, goes on to report:
Our obligation, of course, extends beyond, “Be fruitful and multiply.” We must also educate the children we bear. To this end we began years ago to conceive of a parish school, wherein our children would receive a classical Catholic education with an emphasis on the musical, liturgical, and spiritual traditions unique to our patrimony as converts to the Faith.
We received the final go-ahead for this project on June 24th, the Feast of St. John the Baptist, who like Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More, our Patron, was a martyr for marriage. All three men died at the hands of the state because they refused to assent to the king’s insistence upon a lie. While their contemporaries were content to affirm their king’s conceit, these men would not, and as such they are models for us and our children. We must establish the sort of school that educates our children well enough to discern Truth from falsehood, while at the same time giving them the graces to stand firm in that Truth.
Having only just received all these permissions required, we have not yet begun registering our school with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, though a parishioner and I have been to Harrisburg to be briefed on the process, and it is less arduous than I had imagined. Since our goal is to open for the 2016-2017 school year, we will set about this task immediately. We will also finally form our school council, choose our curriculum, create a budget, and advertise our existence.
If you are interested in enrolling your children in St. Thomas More Parish School – or even if you just have questions about our school – please speak with me, as we will rely on word of mouth at least initially to gauge interest and determine how many grades will be offered and how many teachers we must hire. All this information will be used to figure out precisely where we will locate our school. Ideally we will be on our own campus, but even if this is impossible we must be situated in the Providence section of Scranton. That is, since the church and parish school are to be the anchors for a community of Catholic missionary
families offering an incarnational witness to those struggling through this valley of tears, we can only truly be present with our neighbors if we work and reside in their midst. Our parish’s children already worship in Providence. Soon we hope they will learn here, as well.
The coffee shop and gift store that we will open later this year in the old Guild building will help fund this enterprise (for more information see here), but our reliance will ultimately be upon our heavenly Father, who has already blessed us with all that has enabled our parish to flourish these past ten years*. We’re going to need much more money than our stores’ profits will provide, so please pray this work He has inspired (and for which we received permission from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) will come to fruition by His boundless largesse.
(* St Thomas More is a previously Pastoral Provision parish and has been in existence since 2005, which is quite a bit longer than the Ordinariate. You can read their history here.)