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St. Helena preschool, Holy Rosary school buildings have new tenants


Dialog reporter


The Brandywine Center for Autism, which provides applied behavioral analysis therapy services to children, has opened in the former St. Helena’s Parish preschool building. The parish closed its preschool in 2013.

The center, which opened in mid-November, provides children “with the skills they need to realize their full potential” by identifying individual learning styles, according to its website. BCA also offers consultative and direct services in the home. It will have access to the school gymnasium.

Chris Hullinger, St. Helena’s business manager, said the center signed a lease in August and has exclusive use of the former preschool building, which is directly behind the convent. The parish and BCA will share the gymnasium.

“We’ve been out there actively working to rent this building. We’ve had a lot of interest,” Hullinger said.

The former St. Helena’s School remains vacant. It most recently housed Pope John Paul II School, which opened in 2008 when St. Helena’s and Holy Rosary merged their schools. Pope John Paul II closed in 2011.

Meanwhile, Holy Rosary has a new tenant for its school building. Kingswood Academy, an alternative school for students who have had discipline problems or been expelled from their regular public schools, moved in over the summer and will be using the top floor. Its former location was on Market Street in Wilmington, said Yvonne Barnett, the program director.

“We needed more room, and this is more like a school atmosphere,” she said.

The school never has more than 100 students, and there are three staff members in each classroom. All of the students take buses. Classes begin at 7:30 a.m., and the students are picked up at 2 p.m. A state trooper is on-site every day.

Kingswood is part of a consortium consisting of the six public school districts in New Castle County – Appoquinimink, Brandywine, Christina, Colonial, Red Clay and Vo-Tech. The goal, Barnett said, is to have its students return to their regular schools.

“We believe in getting students back on track so they can be productive citizens,” she said. “We try to increase their attendance, make sure they’re on target as far as their academics.”

Holy Rosary previously served as the original home for Reach Academy, an all-girls charter school that relocated last year to New Castle.

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Sainthood cause for a native of the Eastern Shore endorsed by U.S. bishops


Catholic News Service

Two years ago, the U.S. bishops endorsed the sainthood cause of Dorothy Day, who was born an Episcopalian but later became a Catholic and co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement that still flourishes today.

Father Paul Wattson, who co-founded the Society of the Atonement in Graymoor, N.Y., is pictured in an undated photo. The U.S. bishops Nov. 11 endorsed the sainthood cause of the onetime Episcopal priest who joined the Catholic Church more than a century ago along with the members of the Society of the Atonement. The bishops' support for his cause came on the second day of their annual fall general assembly in Baltimore. (CNS photo/courtesy Society of the Atonement, Graymoor)

Father Paul Wattson, who co-founded the Society of the Atonement in Graymoor, N.Y., is pictured in an undated photo. The U.S. bishops Nov. 11 endorsed the sainthood cause of the onetime Episcopal priest who joined the Catholic Church more than a century ago along with the members of the Society of the Atonement. The bishops’ support for his cause came on the second day of their annual fall general assembly in Baltimore. (CNS photo/courtesy Society of the Atonement, Graymoor)

This year, the bishops endorsed the cause of another former Episcopalian: Father Paul Wattson, who was ordained an Anglican priest but became a Catholic and whose legacy includes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, observed each January.

Support for his cause came on a voice vote Nov. 11, the second day of the bishops’ annual fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Father Wattson was born Lewis Thomas Wattson on January 16, 1863, in Millington, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, now in the Diocese of Wilmington. His parents were Rev. Joseph Wattson and his wife Mary Electa Wattson.

Eleven years after he was ordained an Episcopal priest, Rev. Paul Wattson was in ministry in Omaha, Nebraska, in the spring of 1897 when he received a letter from a novice in an Episcopal convent in Albany, N.Y.

Lurana White, though, was not content at her convent. In the letter, she expressed her frustration in finding a religious community whose members publicly professed the vow of poverty and lived according to the Franciscan tradition. Rev. Wattson knew of no such community, but he responded to White his vision of establishing a religious community of his own.

Rev. Wattson and White, through their correspondence, concluded they shared a similar dream. When they met face to face in October 1898, they established the Society of the Atonement, with separate orders for men and for women: the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.

The society’s members would live according to the Franciscan tradition, and have as its charism the promotion of Christian unity and mission.

White, who by this time was home in Warwick, N.Y., suggested as a home base for the society a relatively secluded spot in present-day Garrison, N.Y., that some people called Graymoor. Before the winter set in, White had settled into an old farmhouse on the land; there was also a small chapel on the property called St.-John’s-in-the-Wilderness.

Rev. Wattson lived in an old painted shack on the land, which he called the “Palace of Lady Poverty.”

They decided early on to take as their cause convincing Episcopalians to join the Catholic Church. This did not sit too well with the Episcopalians and Anglicans they knew. Rev. Wattson, who took the religious name Paul, found pulpits closed to him and donations drying up.

White, now known as Sister Lurana and later Mother Lurana, would take her fellow sisters with her to New York City to beg at subway turnstiles.

Things came to a head following a 1907 decision at the Episcopal Church’s convention to permit other Christian preachers to speak at Episcopal pulpits with the approval of the local bishop. Seeing how much more closely linked Anglicans were to Catholics than to other Christian denominations, Rev. Wattson and Mother Lurana decide to leave the Episcopal Church and become Catholics themselves.

In October 1909, they and a few companions were received into the Roman Catholic Church. It is believed to be the first time since the days of the Reformation the members of an entire religious community had become Roman Catholics on a corporate, rather than individual basis. Father Wattson was ordained a Catholic priest in 1910.

At first, they were as unpopular within the Catholic Church as they had been in the Episcopal Church. Many Catholics thought them to be “secret Protestants,” a label that took several years for them to overcome.

Father Wattson “really did reach out to people of other denominations at a time when it was not popular,” said Sister Nancy Conboy, who is minister general of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.

“I think his emphasis on Christian reconciliation and ecumenism in this day in age when there is so much so division could be a real catalyst for helping people to say we can we talk about what we have in common,” she told Catholic News Service in a phone interview in early November.

Despite suspicions about their ministry, Father Wattson and Mother Lurana’s projects took on new impetus.

The Lamp, a magazine devoted to Christian unity and mission, was published monthly for a much wider audience. The Union-That-Nothing-Be Lost, an organization which aided missionaries, grew larger and more enthusiastic. St. Christopher’s Inn, an expression of the Society of the Atonement’s commitment to Franciscan ideals, continued to receive thousands of homeless, needy men each year, providing them with hospitality in the spirit of St. Francis.

Father Wattson married a theological perspective with “very practical things,” said Father Jim Gardiner. A Franciscan Friar of the Atonement for more than 54 years, he oversees special projects at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington.

On one hand, Father Wattson very much wanted to see the “reunion of Rome and Canterbury,” the Anglican Church, Father Gardiner said, and at the same time he cared for wayfarers with St. Christopher’s Inn, emphasized the role of prayer and “took the Gospel very seriously.”

Father Wattson also co-founded the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, and among other things organized Graymoor Press and the “Ave Maria Hour” on radio.

In 1903, Father Wattson started the annual Church Unity Octave, now known as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is observed from Jan. 18, the feast of St. Peter’s Chair in Rome, to Jan. 25, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

Father Wattson wanted Christians to understand Christian unity as a realistic goal for churches and not some pie-in-the-sky dream. The Society for the Atonement now publishes a monthly journal called Ecumenical Trends, which collects speeches and documents written by ecumenists and interreligious figures worldwide.

Both the men’s and women’s branches of the society continued to grow through the Jazz Age and the Great Depression. Mother Lurana died in 1935, and Father Wattson in 1940.


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Archmere grad earns Atlantic 10 academic honors


John Mascioli, a graduate of Archmere Academy, has been named to the Atlantic 10 Conference cross country All-Academic Team, the league announced today. Mascioli is a sophomore at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

The All-Academic Team was selected based on performance in the classroom and on the trails. Runners must carry a grade-point average of 3.0 for their entire academic career. Mascioli finished 17th at the Atlantic 10 championships on Nov. 1 with an 8k time of 25:11.4 to help the Hawks to a third-place finish. As a freshman, he was named the conference’s Most Outstanding Rookie Performer.

The Wilmington native, a chemistry major, set new personal records in the 8.4k and 10k this season and was St. Joe’s consistent No. 3 runner this fall. The team will conclude its season this Saturday at the IC4A Championships in the Bronx, N.Y., at Van Cortlandt Park.

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Veterans take center stage at annual Immaculate Heart of Mary School tribute


Dialog reporter


WILMINGTON – Immaculate Heart of Mary School has sponsored its Bring a Veteran to School Day for the last six years, and Deb Pace has been there for five of them. The Wilmington resident spent four years in the Navy in the early 1990s and now has a son, Angelo, who is a fourth-grader at IHM. She said she wouldn’t miss this day.

“It’s hard not to well up,” Pace said. “They do such a great job.” Read more »

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Student and school news




Golf tournament raises $46,000 for Benedictine

RIDGELY, Md. – The 26th annual Charity Golf Classic at Harbourtowne Golf Resort and Conference Center in St. Michaels was a big success for children and adults with disabilities. The Oct. 17 event raised more than $46,000 for Benedictine Programs and Services.

In addition to golf, the tournament included gift bags, brunch and dinner, an auction, a wheelbarrow of cheer and a chance to sink a putt for a 50/50 pot of cash.

Read more »

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Archmere comebacks pave way to state volleyball championship


Dialog reporter


NEWARK – Zoe Akoto had a host of important points this season for Archmere Academy, none more so than the two that ended the 2014 state volleyball championship final against the Charter School of Wilmington. First, with the fourth set in extra points and the score tied at 27, Akoto painted the sideline with a smash. Then, leading 28-27, on match point No. 4 inside the raucous Bob Carpenter Center, Akoto again had an open lane down the left side.

The sophomore returned the push kill with one of her own. A few Force players threw themselves in the direction of the ball, but the kill found the floor, and fifth-seeded Archmere completed the mild upset of undefeated and second-seeded Charter, 3-1, for the championship. The sets were 25-10, 16-25, 26-24 and 29-27. Read more »

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Field hockey: Padua edges Wilmington Christian, will meet Cape in semifinal


Dialog reporter

WILMINGTON – A goal by junior Marissa Sipala midway through the first half stood up for Padua, as the Pandas held off Wilmington Christian for a 1-0 victory Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the DIAA field hockey tournament at Tower Hill School. Padua advances to the semifinals, where it will meet three-time defending state champion Cape Henlopen.

The fourth-seeded Pandas and fifth-seeded Warriors were evenly matched much of the first half. The Pandas applied some pressure, but could not solve Wilmington Christian goalkeeper Emma Whitesel until Sipala emerged from a scramble in front of the Wilmington Christian and found an opening at the 9:45 mark. The goal was unassisted. Read more »

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Volleyball: Archmere comeback stuns top-seeded DMA, advances to final


Dialog reporter


MILLTOWN – With their season hanging in the balance, the Archmere volleyball team surrounded the free ball that had just been sent over the net by Delaware Military Academy. The ball dropped outside the sideline, and the players rejoiced in a combination of elation and exhaustion. The Auks had won the fifth set against DMA, taking the second semifinal Thursday night at St. Mark’s, 3-2, after coming back from a 2-0 deficit.

With that, Archmere (14-4) advanced to Monday night’s final, where they will play undefeated Charter School of Wilmington at approximately 6:30 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center on the University of Delaware campus.

Set scores were 21-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23 and 15-11. The match took more than two and a half tense hours. Read more »

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Volleyball: Pandas come up just short vs. Charter in semifinal


Dialog reporter


MILLTOWN – Charter School had Padua down, 2-0, in the first semifinal of the girls’ state volleyball tournament, and the Force was within four points of sweeping the two-time defending champion. But the Pandas fought back, taking a tough third and a dominating fourth set, to send the match to a fifth and deciding set.

It was a scenario Charter had not faced all year. The Force had lost just two sets total in their first 17 matches. Olivia DiMaio said her team needed to stay the course.

“Just take it point by point, don’t get ahead of ourselves and keep our heads right,” the senior hitter said. Read more »

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Vocations Awareness Week: Students learn about holy orders, religious life from priests, brothers and sisters


Dialog reporter


ELSMERE – God has a calling for everyone. All we need to do is listen, a group of priests and religious sisters told sixth-grade students from several Catholic schools during Vocations Awareness Week.

They were at All Saints Catholic School in Elsmere on Nov. 3 for the first of several vocations awareness events being held at various schools in the diocese.

The meetings, coordinated by the diocesan Office for Vocations and the Catholic Schools Office, matched priests and brothers with groups of boys, and sisters from several religious congregations with the classrooms of girls. The students heard stories of how priests and sisters found their vocation and what their lives are like, and they had the opportunity to ask questions. Read more »

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