Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

hopes-2-gerckensThe Gerckens family, twins Brittany, left, and Ashley, mom Patsy and dad Arthur, share moments of pride after Mr. Gerckens was presented with the Office of Catholic Schools’ 2013 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award at the annual HOPES Dinner on Sept. 22 at the Aqua Turf Club in PlantsvilleSOUTHINGTON – When St. Mary-St. Michael School in Derby faced closing in 2010 because of  dwindling finances and enrollment, a group of parents, led by Arthur Gerckens, stepped up.

They created a strategic plan, implemented a number of fund-raising initiatives and successfully took the school from nearly closing its doors with 65 students to becoming a viable Catholic school again with 144 students today.

For his efforts to show what can happen when people who believe in Catholic education volunteer their talents, the Office of Catholic Schools (OCS) of the Archdiocese of Hartford gave Mr. Gerckens the 2013 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award.

The occasion was the 36th annual HOPES (Help Our Parish Elementary Schools) Dinner, held Sept. 22 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville to honor volunteers who offer their time and talent on behalf of their parish elementary schools.

Also honored were 103 volunteers from 47 Catholic elementary schools, each of whom was presented with the St. John Neumann Award for supporting their schools in a number of ways with their time and talents.

“These are the people who carry the benefits of Catholic education in their hearts at all times,” said Anne T. Clubb, director of enrollment management and marketing for OCS, who coordinated and moderated the event.

Offering the invocation for the celebration, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the volunteers. “We’re here tonight to celebrate the great success of Catholic schools,” he said.

He noted that among the reasons for the success of Catholic schools is their family-like environment.

Attendees also gave a standing ovation to a performance by the combined Catholic Schools Choir of Greater Waterbury under the direction of Joan Tortora.

Accepting his award, Mr. Gerckens, a 1976 graduate of St. Mary, said, “It’s a tremendous honor. It’s been a lot of hard work. But I want to stress that there was a team of people who kept the school viable. When you have a group of people with a common goal, great things can happen.”

Mr. Gerckens said that because of his involvement with the school and the awareness the campaign  raised in the community, he went on to be elected to the Derby Board of Aldermen.

He and his wife Patsy have twin daughters, Ashley and Brittany, who graduated from St. Mary-St. Michael School. Both now are freshmen at  Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden.

Presenting the awards to recipients were Archbishop Mansell; Dale R. Hoyt, superintendent of Catholic Schools; and Maria Maynard, deputy superintendent.

For the last 36 years, the OCS has organized a HOPES collection at all parishes in September to support the Catholic elementary schools in the archdiocese. It helps to fund grants to elementary schools and supports OCS marketing efforts.

The dinner is held the same weekend as the collection.

Events Calendar

August 2014
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05:00 PM
St. Michael Church, Beacon Falls, Beacon Falls, Conn., United States
Credo Catholic Singles, a community of single, widowed and divorced Catholics from throughout the [...]
Date :  August 09, 2014
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10:00 AM
Archbishop O'Brien Library, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, United States
BLOOMFIELD – The Archbishop O’Brien Library will sponsor a summer film series, Catholic Cinema [...]
Date :  August 12, 2014
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05:00 PM
St. Michael Church, Beacon Falls, Beacon Falls, Conn., United States
Credo Catholic Singles, a community of single, widowed and divorced Catholics from throughout the [...]
Date :  August 16, 2014
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10:00 AM
Tunxis Plantation Golf Club, Farmington, Farmington, United States
The 19th Annual Franciscan Golf Classic to benefit the Franciscan Life Center and Franciscan Home Care and Hospice Care, will take place Aug. 18 at Tunxis Plantation Golf Club, Farmington.  The $175 [...]
Date :  August 18, 2014
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10:00 AM
Archbishop O'Brien Library, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, United States
BLOOMFIELD – The Archbishop O’Brien Library will sponsor a summer film series, Catholic Cinema [...]
Date :  August 19, 2014
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06:00 PM
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Hamden , Hamden, United States
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Hamden will have its monthly Pro-Life Holy Hour Novena from 6-7 p.m. August 20 and again on September 24.The Holy Hour will include exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, [...]
Date :  August 20, 2014
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03:00 PM
Rosary Hall, Albertus Magnus College, New Haven, New Haven, United States
David Allaway, director of the Heritage Program for the St. John’s Bible, will give a lecture titled “Illuminating the Word” from 3-4:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at Rosary Hall on the campus of [...]
12:00 PM
St. Joseph School, Meriden, Meriden, United States
Open House at St. Joseph School
Date :  August 21, 2014
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06:30 PM
St. Paul Catholic High School, Bristol, United States
BRISTOL – St. Paul Catholic High School will have its fifth annual Falcon 5k event at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 22. [...]
Date :  August 22, 2014
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06:00 PM
St. Elizabeth Church, Branford, Branford, United States
The Knights of Columbus Eldorado Council 10 in Branford will sponsor an End of Summer Carnival from 6-10 [...]
Date :  August 27, 2014
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06:00 PM
St. Elizabeth Church, Branford, Branford, United States
The Knights of Columbus Eldorado Council 10 in Branford will sponsor an End of Summer Carnival from 6-10 [...]
Date :  August 28, 2014
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06:00 PM
St. Elizabeth Church, Branford, Branford, United States
The Knights of Columbus Eldorado Council 10 in Branford will sponsor an End of Summer Carnival from 6-10 [...]
Date :  August 29, 2014
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05:00 PM
St. Elizabeth Church, Branford, Branford, United States
The Knights of Columbus Eldorado Council 10 in Branford will sponsor an End of Summer Carnival from 6-10 [...]
Date :  August 30, 2014
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