News and Issues
- Principal, Oblates to Leave Bishop Ireton HS2008-05-29
Bishop Ireton principal Fr. Matthew Hillyard, O.S.F.S, has been assigned as the Rector of the Cathedral parish in Camden, N.J., thus ending the presence of the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales at Bishop Ireton High School.
Bishop Paul S. Loverde said, "I wish to thank Fr. Matthew Hillyard, O.S.F.S, for his years of service at Bishop Ireton, first as vice principal and chaplain and then as principal. His pastoral zeal and commitment to Catholic education have marked his tenure at Bishop Ireton, and both students and families have truly benefited. The news that the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales are not able to replace Fr. Hillyard with an Oblate principal, and further are no longer able to be educational leaders of Bishop Ireton, deeply saddens both me and our diocesan family. Since 1964, young people and their families have truly profited from the Catholic education they received through the leadership of the Oblates. I know these graduates share with me the deep regret that the Oblates can no longer remain. I want to thank the many Oblates who have served since 1964, modeling the spirit and zeal of both Saint Francis de Sales and their founder, Fr. Louis Brisson."
The school has been staffed by the Oblates since its opening in 1964, and the charism of Saint Francis de Sales is one of the guiding lights of the school community. The Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales are a religious order founded in 1875. The Oblates first arrived in the United States in 1893 and established a permanent community in 1903. The Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales also serve in other parts of the Diocese of Arlington, including at Saint John Neumann Parish in Reston and at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Vienna.
Fr. James J. Greenfield, O.S.F.S., Provincial of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, said, "While Fr. Matt's departure from the leadership of Bishop Ireton is a difficult moment for us Oblates, we are grateful that the Bishop Ireton community remains committed to maintaining the presence of our Salesian spirituality there. For more than 40 years, since the school was begun, the teachers, staff, students, and parents have worked together with us Oblates to make sure that the call to live Jesus and bring his Gospel alive in gentleness and humility remain at the foundation of the school. This is the essence of Oblate ministry, and the ongoing relationship between the Bishop Ireton and the DeSales Spirituality Center will ensure that this continues."
The Oblates will continue to have a presence at Bishop Ireton through the DeSales Spirituality Center, a resource center for Salesian ministry. Through this center, the Oblates will make available priests to celebrate feast day Masses, make special presentations and oversee faculty retreat days.
Dr. Timothy McNiff, Superintendent of Schools, said "A religious community contributes in immeasurable ways to the mission and daily life of a school, and the Oblates have truly left their mark at BI. Thanks to the strong foundation that the Oblates have established, I believe that the transition to a Catholic, lay administration will be a smooth one."
Mr. Timothy Hamer, Assistant Principal for Academics, will serve as the interim principal for one year, effective July 1, 2008. During that year, a national search for the next principal will be conducted. The search committee will include alumni, faculty, parents and students. There are approximately 800 students currently enrolled at Bishop Ireton.
Over 400,000 registered Catholics belong to the 68 parishes of the Arlington Diocese, which has opened six new parishes, three new schools, and established three new missions since 1999. Further information can be found at www.arlingtondiocese.org.
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