Assumption Pastor: 'Our Hearts Break With Theirs'

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The Rev. John Higgins, pastor of the Church of the Assumption in Peekskill, released a statement Wednesday addressing the scheduled closing of the parish's school. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Following Tuesday’s announcement by the Archdiocese of New York that Peekskill’s Assumption School will close at the end of the current school year, the Rev. John Higgins, parish pastor, released a statement Wednesday addressing the closing.

“This is tremendously difficult for our community for so many reasons,” Higgins said. “There is so much love and gratitude for Assumption School. It is evident to me every day and to any who has ever come into contact with these wonderful children – instructed by an exceptional faculty and staff. We are deeply grateful that parents have entrusted their children to us. These children really excelled with Catholic Education. I know I speak not just in my own name, but in the name of the whole faculty and staff of Assumption (priests included) – and the entire parish – that our hearts break with theirs.”

About 200 students are enrolled at the Assumption School, in kindergarten through eighth grade, as well as a sizable class of preschoolers. Some of those students probably would enroll at Catholic schools in Ossining and Cortlandt, but those schools will have only a limited number of spots.

Higgins said the appeal process to keep the school open required presenting a three-year plan that demonstrated complete financial solvency, in Assumption’s case a $3 million deficit over the next three years. Higgins said that despite vigorous fundraising the number was impossible to surmount.

“There are no words really, to make this any easier,” Higgins said. “Our faith teaches us to trust in the God who loves us and who has a unique plan for us all. We need to pull together, we need to help one another and we need to help the children still entrusted to our care – they deserve the best we can give – that we must give in the remaining months of Assumption School. Our hearts are heavy but we know that Jesus is guiding us and has a plan in store for us. In him we must trust.”

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