Lower Mills campus of St. John Paul II Catholic Academy ready to re-open

Cutting ribbon at re-dedication of Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy: (l-r) Cardinal Sean, Mayor Walsh, Bob Atchinson, Peter Lynch, Jack Connors, Kathy Mears and Jack Sebastian, joined by a student at the academy. Photo by George Martell/The Pilot

The Lower Mills campus of Saint John Paul II Academy was re-dedicated on Wednesday morning at a ceremony that included remarks by Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and the philanthropists who made the $10 million renovation project possible.

Jack Connors, who leads the Campaign for Catholic Schools, was on hand for the event along with the two men who spearheaded the Lower Mills fundraising endeavor: Bob Atchinson, managing director of Adage Capital Management; and Jack Sebastian, managing director of Goldman Sachs.

The 100-year-old building on Dorchester Avenue has undergone significant upgrades over the last year, with new classrooms and new music, arts, and science labs for the school’s 326 students. It is the third building within the Saint John Paul II’s four campuses to be modernized.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley at the re-dedication of Lower Mills campus: At left, seventh grader Orianeh Byron-Gabelus captured the scene on her phone. Ed Forry photoCardinal Sean O'Malley at the re-dedication of Lower Mills campus: At left, seventh grader Orianeh Byron-Gabelus captured the scene on her phone. Ed Forry photoThe 39,000 square foot building will re-open to students and faculty in January. Classes have been held in satellite space since the renovation began last winter.

“This re-dedication is a testament to an energetic commitment to insure our schools maintain their unique presence in our neighborhoods and in the lives of families,” said Campaign for Catholic Schools Chair Jack Connors said. “We are grateful to the volunteer committee led by Bob Atchinson and Jack Sebastian and their colleagues for making possible the dreams of so many, most notably our students.”

"I know this new building was a tremendous undertaking and I want to congratulate the entire Academy, along with the Campaign for Catholic Schools, and the generous business leaders and donors for their hard work and dedication to making this building a reality,” said Mayor Walsh. “The Saint John Paul II Academy is an important part of our City's fabric, and we are looking forward to seeing the Academy and its many campuses continue to grow and succeed in years to come."

Cardinal O’Malley noted that many of the donors who made the project possible through their funding are not Catholic.

“Our students see the world in terms of what is possible and through a shared commitment to the common good. Many of the generous benefactors who made this renovation possible were themselves educated in Catholic schools. We are blessed by the enduring commitment to open doors of opportunity to our students,” O’Malley said.

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