Lowell Catholic Celebrates 25th and Honors Community Service

Lowell Catholic High School  – now a member of the prestigious Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools network with a student body of 400 – is celebrating it’s 25th academic year. Last night the 13th Annual Bishop John  R. McNamara Awards Gala raised over $83,000 for scholarship and merit aid while honoring some very special people. Middlesex Community College President Dr. Carole Cowan was honored for her longtime service as a civic and  educational leader. Fr. John W. Hanley, OMI – a longtime LCHS trustee – was honored for his commitment to Lowell Catholic, his impact on student life and his important role  in the transformation of the school. The late Leo and Joan Mahoney – alums of Keith Academy and Keith Hall – were honored as Catholic school education philanthropists who generosity helped the 2006 expansion. LCHS 2008 grad Casey Judge – a scientist involved in the development of new vaccines – was given the first Alumni Achievement Award.

Rev. John Hanley, OMI with Casey Judge (my photo)

Mahoney grandsons James Finneral and Sean McNamee accepted the award for their family. Sean mentioned that their grandparents felt that their Catholic education “was a great gift”  while James mentioned their support of Catholic education in Lowell, across Massachusetts, in Ireland, Chile and Haiti. Fr. Hanley remembered his years in Catholic school – noting that he graduated from Cathedral High in 1960 – and those years got him started as a priest and an Oblate. His memories of Bishop McNamara were warm and emotional as he praised his life and his commitment to Catholic education and Lowell Catholic in particular. He praised and thanked the faculty, administration and all who support and help the students “excel, prepare, live” and ended with the words found on Bishop McNamara’s ecclesiastical Coat of Arms ~ “To Echo Christ.”

Rev. John Hanley, OMI with his 2014 Bishop John McNamara Award

Each table setting had a card with a message from a Lowell Catholic student. My card was from Adrian – a graduating Senior – who had spoken to the audience earlier in the evening. “Lowell Catholic has meant the world to me. I have had many incredible opportunities as a student, and my four years at Lowell catholic have prepared me for life beyond high school. I have grown so much from freshman year to today, and for this I will always be grateful to Lowell Catholic.”

Photo: My pastors! Fr. John Hanley, OMI - former pastor of the Immaculate Conception Church ~ and Fr. Nick Sannella the current pastor of the Immaculate...Former Pastor of the Immaculate Conception Church – Rev. John Hanley, OMI with current Immaculate Pastor Rev. Nicholas Sannella

Lowell Catholic is now the only Catholic high school in Lowell today and many alum supporters from the LCHS legacy schools were in the crowd – from Keith Academy, Keith Hall/Keith Catholic, St. Patrick High School, St. Louis Academy and St. Joseph High School. It was a wonderful evening and we will be back in support of LCHS and the Bishop McNamara Honorees.

The Gala crowd listens as John Chemaly – a past honoree – reads citations from the Massachusetts State Senate and the State House of Representatives and the local delegation