Houma Catholic school slated for closure

A Catholic elementary school that has served the Houma area for more than half a century is slated for closure this year, school officials from the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux announced Tuesday.

Maria Immacolota Catholic School at 324 Estate Drive will close with the end of this school year, Diocesan Schools Superintendent Suzanne Troxclair said, citing the Houma area’s “extended economic downturn” and a continuing deficit.

“This difficult decision was made after a great deal of prayer, consultation and work, and with the approval and support of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, Finance Council, Diocesan Consultative School Board, and Bishop Shelton J. Fabre,” Troxclair said. “The Office of Catholic Schools and other diocesan consultative bodies have collaborated with Maria Immacolata Catholic School and church parish for the past two years, in regard to the school’s financial challenges. While efforts were made for the past several years to try to overcome these challenges, the school continues to operate at a significant financial deficit.”

The Very Rev. Bishop Shelton Fabre, Bishop of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, acknowledged the emotional burden the action will likely create for the school community.

“We recognize the pain and disruption this decision causes for the Maria Immacolata family,” said Bishop Fabre. “I realize this decision is heartbreaking to our students, their parents, the school alumni, our dedicated faculty and staff, and, of course, the parish family. We will continue to support our students and their families, as well as our employees, through this difficult transition with spiritual and pastoral care.”

Troxclair said the diocese is committed to assisting parents who may wish to have their children enrolled at other local Catholic schools.

“Please know that the Maria Immacolata Catholic School and church parish are in our prayers,” Troxclair said. “And will remain there as we move through this period of transition over the next several months.”

Founded in 1965, the school serves children from pre-kindergarten through seventh grade. Its mission, according to materials provided by the school, is to see to it that when children leave the school they are “prepared to become productive members of our society through the individual care and concern of the faculty and staff, active family involvement, and a loving relationship with God.”

Local Catholic elementary schools will be holding open houses Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and also Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those schools are St. Bernadette, St. Francis de Sales and St. Gregory.

“We are deeply grateful to the pastor, principal, faculty and staff … who over the years have given of themselves so selflessly to the ministry of Catholic education,” Troxclair said. “We are equally grateful to all of our families who have entrusted your children to our care.”

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.