Annapolis pastor to listen to concerns before restructuring Catholic schools


The pastor at St. Mary's Church in Annapolis, backing away slightly from his controversial school-restructuring plan, said yesterday that he will talk with parishioners and consider their concerns before making any changes.

"In the very short term, it is my intent to review all of the information with which I have been presented," the Rev. Thomas Siconolfi said in a statement. "Later this week, I will provide parishioners and the public with more detail on plans for the future at St. Mary's."

Siconolfi did not answer messages left at the rectory.

Opponents of the reorganization, which would combine the high school and elementary school, now operated separately, under a new seven-member board of trustees and a director, asked the archdiocese to intervene. Yesterday, Bishop William C. Newman, the eastern vicar for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Ronald J. Valenti, the archdiocese superintendent of schools, met with Siconolfi at the rectory to discuss St. Mary's future.

The reorganization the pastor has proposed leaves unclear the role of Jim Moorhead, a popular lacrosse coach and president of the high school. Moorhead said he will not comment until he knows the details of the plan.

Parents and some administrators have said the new structure would add bureaucracy that would separate administrators from Siconolfi. The School Sisters of Notre Dame, who have taught at St. Mary's for 131 years, said they are considering leaving the school because of the changes.

"When you have a good thing going, it's hard to understand why [Siconolfi] would change things," Sister Francita Hobbs said yesterday. She said she had not spoken with the pastor since Friday and did not know that he had met with Newman.

Pub Date: 5/12/98

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