Diocese to close 72-year-old Catholic school in Richmond

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72-year-old Catholic school in Richmond to close
St. Cornelius Catholic School is located at 201 28th Street in Richmond.

St. Cornelius Catholic School in Richmond will close due to declining enrollment, The Catholic Voice, a publication of the Diocese of Oakland, reported on Monday.

Founded in 1948, the K-8 school located at 201 28th St. serves 140 students, according to its website. St. Cornelius is a member of Lumen Christi Academies, a network of seven Catholic schools in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Families from St. Cornelius will be aided in transitioning children to Catholic schools in the area including St. Paul Catholic School in San Pablo and Lumen Christi Academy, which is two miles away from St. Cornelius. Faculty will be offered the opportunity to consider positions in Diocese Catholic schools.

“This was a difficult decision to make as it comes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rodney Pierre-Antoine, executive director of Lumen Christi Academies.

Families at the school are upset over the decision. School parent Maria Rojas is circulating a letter on behalf of families requesting a grievance hearing for the “last minute, unplanned decision” to close the 72-year-old school. Rojas accused the Diocese and St. Cornelius parish of failing to invest, market and raise funds to support the mostly minority, financially disadvantaged families who attend St. Cornelius.

Rojas said parents found out about the state of the school before the COVID-19 pandemic and, in an effort to increase attendance, created a Principal Advisory Committee aiming to market the school to the community. Families are requesting more time to come up with solutions to save the school.

The six other Lumen Christi Academies schools serve almost 1,300 students and will continue to operate, according to the The Catholic Voice. Lumen Christi Academies was founded two years ago and the Diocese credits the network of schools for updating curriculum resources, sustaining professional development in partnership with Loyola Marymount University, streamliing financial operations and securing grant funding for capital projects.

“We treasure our memories of how St. Cornelius School has served the Richmond community and honor the students, faculty, staff, alumni and parishioners who have contributed to the school’s long legacy,” Pierre-Antoine said in The Catholic Voice article. “While St. Cornelius School will not continue, its positive impact on the parish and community will endure.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. This school was in chaos many many years ago. It was rescued and bailed out by its then Priest in charge. During that time it FLOURISHED. 🌟 When the Diocese made the change of Priest in Charge, the school shortly after declined. Both in Education and Catholic Morals. In the process causing anguish to many children and parents forcing them to prematurely seek other avenues for their children! I am one on those families of many who suffered at this school. This was the best decision the Diocese could have made. This schools reputation was tarnished .

  2. I am very sorry to hear that Veronica. I have been part of the St. Cornelius school for over 14 years. Both of my daughters have attended the school and our experience have been very rewarding. In the years I have been at the school the parish has not been very supported leaving the school almost at the hands of the Principals and parents (which was probably the best thing that could have happened). I have nothing but good things to say about this school, excellent teachers, caring children and valuable parents that wish for the school and the city of Richmond the best.

  3. Well at least they are going to donate the property to an organization that will build rooms for homeless families instead of selling the property and sending the mule to the Pope. I wish.

  4. Let’s Keep it 100 this school failed ever since the current Principle was put into place! I would know I attended this school personally and my sibling! The Father back then and the principle now have robbed Family’s from so much money!! That is why this school has gone down the Drain! The father now came into place and let the whole church know about everything that was wrong with the church and how much money the church was missing ! Anyone that stands for the current principle now and the father before has no idea! How that school and church were ran before and I suggest you comment nothing!!

  5. May I also add Richmond has build tons of great charter schools in the area no duh no one wants to pay for catholic school anymore when there is charters schools everywhere in the area! Also staff never sticked around in this school because they always had constant problems with the principle. To me it’s surprising this place has not been sued by someone yet for all the bull they make family’s go through ! P.S if your a true St. Cornelius church member then you would know the father before was KICKED out of the church ! He didn’t leave willingly WE ALL KNOW THAT!

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