In a plea to Manayunk and East Falls parishioners, five local priests said a lack of enrollment at the new St. Blaise Regional Catholic School has reached "a critical point."
The five pastors for six churches said in an email to parishioners, which is also posted on the school's website, that the 155 currently registered students are not enough.
"We cannot provide the quality Catholic education which you are expecting unless we can enroll at least 250 students. Any lower enrollment means we will not be able to afford teachers’ salaries and run the school with the programs promised," it read. "The sponsoring parishes do not have the money it would take to cover the financial losses which would be incurred with less than 250 students."
If 95 more students fail to come forward by Friday, the future of a Catholic school in the Manayunk area is in jeopardy.
The June 8 letter is signed by Revs. Francis McKee (), Joseph Devlin (St. Bridget's in East Falls), James Lyons (), Charles Zlock ( and ), and Leonard Lewandowski ().
This announcement followed a year of tumult in local Catholic parishes. "Mergers" have been the move this year for parishes and schools alike throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Manayunk's .
The archdiocese announced in the initial merger message that it projected enrollment of 410 students.
In addition, the already-consolidated regional Manayunk Catholic school is scheduled to open in the fall as reforming as St. Blaise's at the Holy Child site.
Throughout the spring, St. Blaise, has held open houses encouraging enrollment in the new program. The school even extended an April 16 registration deadline without much success.
However, and to the archdiocese without success.
At a Crossroads
Thus far, the priests shared, registration has not hit sustainable levels.
"Unfortunately the enrollment has not been increasing as the weeks and months have passed despite School Reach messages, emails and letters urging everyone to register," the letter said.
The letter, entitled "An Important Communique to Parents," urges parent who have yet to act (some who may usually wait until August) that it is imperative they do so.
"We are so grateful to the families who have registered for Saint Blaise School but we are at a critical point in the merging of the two schools into one and we need all who have yet to register to do so in the next week," it said.
The Archdiocese has established a Friday, June 15 deadline at noon for registrations. An announcement of the results is scheduled for June 18.
"It is our sincere hope, as it has been from the beginning that we not only meet our enrollment goal but exceed it," the letter said.
To register at St. Blais visit its website.