New era begins at St. Patrick’s in Bay Ridge

Wednesday marked the beginning of the school year for thousands of children who attend Catholic schools in Brooklyn. But for the students of St. Patrick Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge in particular, it was the start of a new academic and spiritual journey.

Unlike the previous 150 opening days in St. Patrick's rich history, Sept. 4 marked the school’s debut as an independent Catholic academy run by a board of directors. For the first 150 years of its existence, the school had operated under the direction of St. Patrick Church.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the school, located at 401 97th St., would be converted into a Catholic academy, running independently of the parish, under the direction of a board of directors.

It is a trend taking place within the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, as more and more schools move from the parish-centered model to become independent academies. A neighboring school in Bay Ridge, St. Anselm, has also been reconfigured as an academy. The diocese still oversees school operations in all of the academies.

At St. Patrick Catholic Academy, Principal Andrea D'Emic and her staff celebrated the transition by greeting incoming students and parents on the steps of the auditorium Wednesday morning. Colorful green-and-gold balloons met the students outside the academy at dismissal time.

On Thursday, students and faculty assembled in the auditorium for a visit from the Rev. Andre Bain, who offered a special blessing for the academy. Following a short prayer service, Rev. Andre visited and blessed each classroom, leading the children in making the sign of the cross.

For more information on St. Patrick Catholic Academy, call 718-833-0124.