NEW BEDFORD — Early in the evening of March 31, families flocked to the current CYO building in New Bedford eager to learn the long awaited name of their new Catholic school. Father Mike Racine, pastor of St. Lawrence Martyr Church, led with a prayer and a blessing for the families, students and faculty of the new school.
Diocesan School Superintendent Daniel S. Roy detailed how the process of merging two New Bedford Catholic schools together began in November 2021 with the creation of a merger team comprised of school leaders, pastors, the Catholic Schools Office, and the Chancery. Subsequently, he requested the school leaders from the two current Catholic schools to assist in the name reveal. The crowd proceeded to countdown, and at the long awaited moment, Cristina Viveiros-Serra, principal of St. James St. John School, and Deacon Peter Schutzler, principal of Holy Family Holy Name School, revealed the new school’s name as Saint Teresa of Calcutta School to a thunderous applause.
Father Mike Racine recalled that the day the most important visitor the City of New Bedford probably ever experienced, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, was a very hot and humid June day in 1995. He had just been ordained four days prior on June 10 and was in charge of hosting an international spiritual leader’s visit to the city. The memory of Mother Teresa’s visit has forever touched his heart and soul; thus, the name of the new school is personal for him as well as for the city of New Bedford. Two members of the Missionaries of Charity were in attendance at the open house and introduced by Father Racine.
After recognizing the faculties from both schools, attendees were invited to look around both buildings, speak with teachers, and become acquainted with the layout of the new middle school to be housed in the current CYO building. Floor plans were placed at each location of a proposed classroom, office, cafeteria, or STEM lab to help visualize the transformation of the familiar building. A representative from the architectural firm as well as the construction company were also available for questions.
Feedback from parents and families was overwhelmingly positive and the excitement for the new school continues. The goal for enrollment is 325 students and it is likely that this goal will be met and probably exceeded as three classrooms are already filled.
“We could not be happier with the name of the school as it embodies the impact that Saint (Mother) Teresa has had on the city of New Bedford,” commented Father Mike Racine. “She was such an amazing woman who has left such an indelible mark on this city. June 14, 1995 will forever be one of my favorite days as I had the pleasure of celebrating the Mass that Mother Teresa attended and delivered such an inspiring message.”
Roy concurred, “Naming our school the Saint Teresa of Calcutta School has captivated the entire city of New Bedford and beyond. While many other beautiful names were suggested, no other name represents the city of New Bedford like Saint Teresa of Calcutta.”
The naming process allowed families and members of the city to submit recommendations to the Catholic Schools Office, who brought forth the top contenders to Bishop Edgar da Cunha, who made the final decision. “It was of utmost importance to me that the name of the new school be representative of the city of New Bedford and there is no doubt that St. (Mother) Teresa continues to touch the hearts of many people and, I am sure, shower with her prayers, intercession and blessing the beautiful city of New Bedford,” says Bishop da Cunha.
Despite limited availability, opportunities to enroll in Saint Teresa of Calcutta School continue. All interested families can contact the current St. James St. John School at (508) 996-0534 or Holy Family Holy Name School at (508) 993-3547 for more information or go to www.sjsjschool.com or www.hfhn.org.