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Despite Closure, St. Raphael School Celebrates Milestone

Photo: QueensPost

March 8, 2012 By Christian Murray

Alumni of Saint Raphael School attended a special church service on Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of the school.

The event, however, was bitter sweet. The celebration, which included a wine and cheese event after church services, came just two months after it was announced that the school would close at the end of this academic year.

Festivities began with a 5:00 pm mass at Saint Raphael church.  Father Frank Shannon, who attended St Raphael School when he was a boy, celebrated the mass with former pastor Thomas Pettei and current pastor Jerry Jecewiz.

Father Shannon reflected on his experiences when he attended the school. He talked about music class,  Christmas pageants, gym and the all important sports games, which led to a number of diocesan championships,

Following the church service, attendees congregated downstairs in the Michael Brennan Hall.

“The Parish Committee presented a beautiful reception and it continued into the night at various other establishments in the neighborhood,” said Deirde Feerick, an alumnus.

What had been long planned as a 50th anniversary celebration had turned into a liturgy of past-students giving thanks. Students from the ‘60s and on came home to reconnect with teachers, friends and their families. (The class of 1976 seemed to have declared themselves attendance winners based on their level of attendance)

Sister Maureen Ahlemyer, the current principal of Saint Raphael, was overwhelmed at the number of colleagues and students who thanked her for all her hard work and dedication to all of the students through the years.

Graduate Eileen Floyd Frawley probably described the event best. “This June, Saint Raphael School will close, but memories, faith, knowledge and gratitude remain as long as her students live.”

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Sad about St. Raphael. I think Father Pettei would have done a better job saving the school but hindsight is always correct. Just my opinion.


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