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Kicking off Catholic Schools Week

From left: St. Hubert’s Kathryn Patterson and Alexandria McGonigle, Archbishop Ryan’s Joey Tangradi and Wanneh Togba, Father Judge’s William McGlynn, Archbishop Nelson Perez, Judge’s Jalen Flowers, Little Flower’s Ahmya Begley and Nicole Orbe-Munoz and Judge’s Gavin Heisler.

From left: Archbishop Perez, teacher Joe Williams, junior Ryan Gordon.

Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez on Monday kicked off the celebration of Catholic Schools Week at Father Judge High School.

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Pérez, in his first visit to Judge, celebrated Mass in the gym as the school begins a special Jubilee Year in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of St. Francis de Sales. More than 20 priests concelebrated the Mass with Perez, including some from the diocese and more than a dozen Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.

The Mass also paid tribute to North Catholic, an Oblates high school that closed in 2010. Six of the priests are North graduates. The first yearbooks for North [1929] and Judge [1957] were prominently displayed, and the alumni associations of both schools were represented.

Archdiocesan school leaders Nancy Kurtz and Irene Hannan were in attendance, along with high school teachers union president Irene Tori.

In his homily, Perez asked the boys to thank their parents for making sacrifices to send them to Catholic school, and he called for a round of applause for teachers and Oblates. As Mass closed, he gave Judge students two future days off.

Next, he toured the school’s welding program, led by teacher Joe Williams.

Later, he participated in a town hall emceed by Judge senior William McGlynn in the school’s Father Brisson Center for Academic Excellence.

Student participants were Judge seniors Gavin Heisler and Jalen Flowers, Archbishop Ryan seniors Wanneh Togba and Joey Tangradi, Little Flower senior Nicole Orbe-Munoz and sophomore Ahmya Begley and St. Hubert senior Alexandria McGonigle and junior Kathryn Patterson.

Each student asked Perez a question. Perez said he was proud of the way Catholic schools have handled the coronavirus pandemic. He listed cheesesteaks and the Reading Terminal Market as two of his favorite things about Philadelphia. As for the long-term future of Catholic schools, he said a think tank has recently been established to study the issue.

Asked what advice he would give young people, he replied, “Make good choices, because choices have consequences.” ••

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