Signs of hope for Catholic schools

First-graders pray at St. Anthony of Padua School, which belongs to Catholic Partnership Schools in Camden, N.J.

It seems like not a month goes by that the Catholic community in the U.S. is not faced with headlines about another set of Catholic school closings. Ten school closings in Buffalo, N.Y., were announced in January and at least six schools in Chicago are slated to close. Last year, the New York archdiocese announced it would be closing 24 schools. The year before, 49 Catholic schools in Philadelphia were either closed or consolidated.

Against this grim backdrop, there are a few signs of hope, some of them in the unlikeliest of places. With the help of Catholic philanthropists who bring money and expertise to the table, some schools are becoming sustainable over the long term, even in the most challenging of socioeconomic circumstances.

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