Sacred Heart School in New Windsor will have a new name as it begins the 2019-2020 school year when it becomes the archdiocese’s first school named Divine Mercy School on Sept. 1.
The new name was announced to the school community during Catholic Schools Week in January.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive. They were ready for a change. I think it’s really important to take our faith into the future,” Erin Contrady, principal since 2018 of the regional school with approximately 125 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, told CNY.
Divine Mercy, Our Lady of Fatima, St. John Paul II, St. Katharine Drexel and Venerable Pierre Toussaint were the five names being considered in a process that started during the 2017-2018 school year. Faculty, staff, parents and students all had input in selecting the final name.
Sacred Heart moved into the former St. Joseph School in New Windsor in 2017 after its building in Newburgh was closed due to heating issues and the discovery of subsequent structural issues.
“We have Sacred Heart School at St. Joseph School. It boiled down to having an identity. We felt we needed to make a change in name to clarify all that,” said Cathleen Cassel, the archdiocese’s regional superintendent of schools for Ulster, Sullivan, Orange and Rockland counties.
“There was a committee, and they came up with five names of different saints and so on, that best identified the community they were serving. There was a rationale attached to each name. What we did is put out a survey (to the school community). After the survey was done, Divine Mercy overwhelmingly was the name they felt best described their school.”
Sacred Heart is not the first Catholic community in the Newburgh region to recently choose a new name. St. Teresa of Calcutta was announced in September 2018 as the parish name for Sacred Heart and St. Francis of Assisi churches in Newburgh. In June, Cardinal Dolan celebrated Mass for the selected parish name of St. Marianne Cope for the churches of St. Thomas of Canterbury, Cornwall-on-Hudson, and St. Joseph, New Windsor.