Resolution sought on St. Mary's schools Pastor and bishop to meet today after meetings of boards

May 27, 1998|By Melinda Rice | Melinda Rice,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The pastor of St. Mary's Church in Annapolis is to meet today with officials of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore in hopes of resolving the verbal skirmish the priest provoked when he announced a restructuring of the parish's two schools.

The changes at St. Mary's elementary and high schools have pitted many parents and teachers against the schools' management and have threatened the 131-year tenure of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who have said they might leave because of the proposed changes.

"This meeting is not a usual occurrence, but the problem has resisted efforts to resolve it at this point," said Raymond P.

Kempisty, spokesman for the archdiocese.

The meeting will follow private meetings in Annapolis this morning among the schools' newly created seven-member board trustees and the high school board, the elementary school board and the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

The Rev. Thomas Siconolfi, pastor at St. Mary's for 4 1/2 years, set off the controversy May 6 when he announced that the individual boards that ran each school would be abolished and replaced with a board of trustees. The trustees, who would answer to Siconolfi, would hire a director to oversee operations at both schools.

The plan leaves unclear the roles of Jim Moorhead, the popular high school president and nationally recognized lacrosse coach, and the high school principal, Sister Francita Hobbs of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

Timothy Lynch would remain as principal of the elementary school, which has about 950 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Siconolfi will meet at 3 p.m. today in Baltimore with Bishop William C. Newman, the eastern vicar for the archdiocese, and Ronald J. Valenti, the archdiocese's superintendent of schools.

"I'll bring them up to date and let them know what's happening," he said. "We hope to have some kind of closure on this within the next week or so."

Pub Date: 5/27/98

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