Traditions

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This year St. Mary’s High School is celebrating its 140th year in the Stockton community. We are having a number of activities

celebrating our school’s history.

Beginning on Friday, August 28, we celebrated a school-wide Mass on the exact day St. Mary’s opened in 1876. Bishop

Stephen Blaire was the celebrant for this Opening Mass. With him was Father Richard Morse, O.S.F.S., current pastor of St.

Mary’s of the Annunciation Catholic Church in Oakdale, CA. Father Morse was one of the first Oblates from Toledo, Ohio that

came to St. Mary’s in 1970 and served as the Dean of Boys. Also assisting in the liturgy was Father John George, O.S.F.S.,

who is an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales from India. Father John George has been a member of our staff for three years. Also

in attendance were representatives from the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael - Sister Maureen McInerney, Prioress General,

Sister Gervaise Valpey (’57), Sister Abby Newton and Sister Katherine Hamilton. Sister Gervaise spoke to the students about

her memories as a student at St. Mary’s.

Father John Fallon, O.S.F.S, President Emeritus, gave the students a history of St. Mary’s High School from the beginnings to the current location. In

addition, there were other distinguished guests at this Mass along with members of the Class of 1957 who were the first graduating class at the El Dorado

Street campus.

Other events this year to celebrate our 140 years of Catholic secondary education includes the President’s Club Dinner on November 8, 2015. The special

guest speaker is Pat McCaskey who is a Chicago Bears board member, author of two books and known for his Catholic faith. In addition, St. Mary’s will

have a display at the Haggin Museum on the history of St. Mary’s in Stockton. We are also planning a gala dinner on April 16, 2016, to celebrate this

milestone in our school’s history.

At the Mass, the entire student body including teachers and staff, wore green t-shirts with the words: “WE ARE ST. MARY’S, Celebrating 140 Years of

Milestones and Memories.” What we truly celebrate is the many friendships that individuals have established here as students, and we celebrate the

friends who support our mission. Jesus spoke to us about friendship with four simple words. “I call you friends.” (John 15:15). When He spoke those

words to His apostles - and to all of us - Jesus transformed friendship into something divine. Friendship, from that moment, became an imitation of Christ

and a path to holiness.

Friendship draws us outside ourselves, as we care for our friends’ concerns instead of our own. We give friends our time, help, advice, consolation and,

most importantly, our prayers. With every prayer, then, we draw closer to the Lord and to our friends. St. Francis de Sales said, “Those who are in the world

need friendships in order to secure and assist one another amid the many dangerous passages through which they must pass.” Francis called friendship

“a sacred trust” and described a perfect friendship as one that is good, holy and enduring. Friendship, the very heart of Christian life, helps us grow so

that we are better able to know ourselves. St. Mary’s High School has developed over the years many deep and lasting friendships.

As we continue to celebrate, we are reminded that the main purpose of Catholic education is to prepare students to become responsible citizens in

society. The coming events are also a celebration of our ability to educate and to teach religious truths and practices to our students throughout San

Joaquin County.

Indeed, St. Mary’s High School is celebrating 140 years in Catholic secondary education. More importantly we are celebrating that St. Mary’s High School

is a community based on timeless values. With prayer and the intercession of Mary, our Blessed Mother, and Saint Francis de Sales, we will continue to

celebrate God’s blessing on our school and community for another 140 years.

Respectfully in the Lord,

Peter D. Morelli

President

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