I wrote the forums a couple of months ago to alert everyone to the attacks on traditional priests in Wisconsin and the dangers of their school closing due to a lack of donations. I wanted to thank everyone that could help!!! There was a tremendous outpouring of aid and prayer to the school and they received enough funds to stay open until at least June. Thank you so much for any help you have given to these wonderful, traditional priests and their school:
Platteville Catholic school to remain open this year, thanks to recent donations
A Platteville Catholic school in danger of closing due to financial problems will remain open at least through this school year, church leaders have pledged to parents and teachers.
A fundraising effort and publicity surrounding the school’s possible closure have brought in enough cash and pledges to give church leaders confidence the school budget can be met through June, said Jim Rosemeyer, chairman of the parish council at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
However, finances remain shaky, said Myron Tranel, church finance council chairman. So far, less than half of the additional $200,000 needed to keep St. Mary’s Catholic School open the entire year has been donated or pledged, he said.
“We’re a long ways from out of the woods,” Tranel said.
Parishioners were told last month that a steep drop in donations jeopardized the school, which is run by the church and has 106 students in grades K-8. Some parishioners blamed the drop in donations on declining church attendance due to a priest controversy.
In June, Madison Bishop Robert Morlino installed three priests at St. Mary’s from a Catholic society founded in Spain that stresses traditionalist liturgy and devotion to orthodox Catholic teaching. About 40 percent of the church’s 1,200 members signed a petition seeking their ouster. Morlino stood by the priests.
Rosemeyer said about $70,000 in pledges came in following the verbal appeal in November. A formal appeal by letter only recently went out, he said.
Also, about $10,000 in cash has come from people outside the parish, Rosemeyer said. School Principal Joseph Hood attributed at least some of those donations to reaction from a Nov. 5 Wisconsin State Journal article on the priest controversy that was picked up by national Catholic bloggers.
One influential blogger, the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a columnist for the St. Paul, Minn.-based Catholic weekly The Wanderer, rallied his followers by casting the issue in culture-war terms. He put the title, “Madison liberals attacking faithful priests are harming the future of schoolchildren” on a blog post discussing the State Journal story.
Rosemeyer said church leaders felt they owed it to parents and teachers to rule on the status of the school year so that learning could continue without distractions. The positive response to the first round of fundraising allowed church leaders to commit to keeping the school open through June, he said. The school’s future beyond June has not been determined, he said.