A New School & Convent
Fr. Saunders, the first pastor of Our Lady of the Angelus, was not content to leave the mission entrusted to him by Archbishop Molloy to the construction of a church alone. Fr. Saunders began the campaign to build a new school and convent. The seed of a new school had been sown but it would take many years for construction to begin; construction that would be under the stewardship of another pastor.
In June of 1957, Fr. Sherman H. Farrell, was named the second pastor of OLA by Archbishop McEntegart and immediately began plans to build the long awaited school and convent.
Scores of parish volunteers made door – to – door visits throughout Forest Hills and what by now had become Rego Park seeking pledges for the remainder of the million dollar project. Construction on the two – story school and connecting chapel and convent began in 1958.
The Sisters of Charity of Mt. St. Vincent
Due to fruitful association of St. Gabriel’s Parish, Fr. Farrell requested that the Sisters of Charity of Mt. St. Vincent staff the new school. The Sisters agreed and in September 1959, Sr. Jean Miriam S.C. was appointed first superior of the new mission. Five grades with 94 boys and 64 girls were organized the first school year.
Dedication of School & Convent
On Sunday May 29, 1960 one of the greatest celebrations the parish has ever know took place when Archbishop McEntegart officiated at the dedication of the new school, convent and chapel. More than 60 priests, 75 sisters, Knights of Columbus and hundreds of parishioners attended the Mass. Prominent among the invited guests was Fr. James Saunders, then pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows, who had returned that day to witness the culmination of his 20 year dream.
Archbishop McEntegart’s sermon that day was very poignant and perhaps prophetic: “The purpose of these buildings, like that of the Angelus itself, is to teach people that the beginning and end of the their lives is Almighty God. In an era when the great fault of men is the neglect of God and an indifference to His teachings, we must be brought back again and again to true principles and to a proper understanding of God’s plan in our lives.”
In 1962, Sr. Paula Marie S.C. became the second principal of the school. In 1966, Sr. Damian Marie S.C. replaced her and continued as principal for 13 years. In 1979, Sr. Marietta Joseph Mackin S.C. became the fourth principal. In 1997, Ms. Mary Ann Rys became the fifth principal. In 2005, Mrs. Joan Armstrong became the sixth principal. In 2012, Mr. Giuseppe Campailla became the seventh principal of the school.
In 2013, Our Lady of the Angelus School began the process of transitioning from a parish – school governance to an academy governance structure with a Board of Directors. In September 2014, Our Lady of the Angelus School opened and operate under the new name of Our Lady of the Angelus Catholic Academy.
Our Lady of the Angelus Catholic Academy will continue to grow and strive with many diverse ethnic backgrounds represented in the student body. Our Lady of the Angelus Catholic Academy will continue to build on the rich history and continue to excel in academic excellence, while maintaining a commitment to teach Catholic values.