Harrisburg Catholic Diocese to close two schools due to struggling finances, declining enrollment


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) —  The Diocese of Harrisburg announced on Tuesday that Lebanon Catholic and Holy Family Consolidated Catholic School in Berwick will close at the end of the school year due to “continued financial stress and decreasing enrollment.”

The Diocese said both schools have been struggling with enrollment and finances for years and that continuing to run either schools is no longer sustainable by the area parishes.

The pastor of each respective parish requested to close the schools, especially in light of the current coronavirus pandemic. That request was granted by Bishop Ronald Gainer.

“Making the choice to close a Catholic school is one of the most difficult decisions for a bishop,” Gainer said in a press release. “Although many members of the Berwick and Lebanon communities worked heroically to reverse the financial situations of the schools, the downward trend has continued for years and has reached a point that is no longer sustainable by the parishes without impacting many other ministry programs.

Gainer said he regretted delivering this news to parents through a video message, but social distancing measures made an in-person delivery impossible.

Both schools have operated in deficit situations for several years. The diocese believed accruing future debt would have jeopardized other ministries of the parishes.

As preparations are made to close the schools, the Diocese said it will support staff members and will work with families who wish to continue their Catholic education at neighboring Catholic schools.

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