Twenty years ago, the closure of the Gesu parish threatened the hope and futures of the families in North Philadelphia who had relied on the parish's school for 120 years. But thanks to the ingenuity, generosity and leadership of the Jesuits, the IHM sisters, and a strong corps of business leaders, volunteers, educators and donors, Gesu School was reborn as an independent Catholic school. Its mission: break the cycle of poverty and violence for the neighborhood's children. With your help, Gesu School pioneered a new model for urban Catholic education.
Today, we have much to celebrate! The year's 20th anniversary festivities opened with a school-wide Mass in September concelebrated by Bishop Timothy Senior; Rev. George Bur, S.J., Gesu's founding president; and Rev. Neil Ver'Schneider, S.J., Gesu's vice principal and chaplain. The enthusiasm was palpable. "I really loved the positive energy from the students in their responses and the joy on their faces," remarked 7th grade teacher Angela Keeler. "It was a beautiful Mass," agreed 8th grade teacher Laura Weatherly. "It was a great way to start our anniversary year." Afterwards, alumni gathered at the school for a lunch reception.
Over the course of the year, Gesu’s unsung heroes—our hard-working teachers—will be recognized with monthly raffles for prizes generously donated by trustee Keith Pension and others. The celebration will continue throughout the year, culminating with a gala event for the history books—so save the date for May 1st!
Bishop Timothy Senior concelebrates Gesu's 20th anniversary Mass with Rev. Neil Ver'Scnheider, S.J. and (not pictured) Rev. George Bur, S.J.