Press Release: Definitive Biographer of Pope St. John Paul II to Keynote Cristo Rey High Schools Event

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Update: Watch the event videos below, in order.

 

Pioneer Institute to simultaneously release study on Cristo Rey schools

BOSTON – George Weigel, who wrote a bestselling two-volume biography of Pope St. John Paul II; former Ambassador to the Vatican and three-term Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn; and Jeffrey Thielman, co-founder of the Cristo Rey Network of Catholic schools, will be among the speakers at “Witnessing Hope: Cristo Rey Schools & Catholic Education,” a Pioneer Institute and Catholic Schools Foundation forum to be held Monday, November 13th from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. at the Omni Parker House in Boston.

Thielman is also the co-author of “Cristo Rey Schools: A Model of 21st-Century Catholic Education,” a Pioneer Institute White Paper that will be released at the event.

Nationally, more than 5.2 million students attended Catholic schools in 1965.  By last year, the number had dropped to less than two million.

Schools in the Chicago-based Cristo Rey Network, which serves families at the bottom of the income scale, are bucking that trend.  Students receive a college preparatory education and participate in a work-study program that teaches them employable skills while providing money to help pay for tuition.

The first Cristo Rey High School opened in Chicago in 1996.  Since then, 31 more have opened in 21 states and the District of Columbia, including schools in Boston and Lawrence.  Eight additional schools are expected to open by 2020.

Weigel is a Distinguished Senior Fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies at Washington, D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center.  He is also senior Vatican analyst for NBC News.  His weekly column, “The Catholic Difference,” is syndicated to 85 newspapers and magazines in seven countries.  He has authored more than 20 books in addition to Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning, his two-volume biography of Pope St. John Paul II.

In addition to serving as former Ambassador to the Vatican and three terms as Boston Mayor, Raymond Flynn is the bestselling author of The Accidental Pope and John Paul II: A Personal Portrait of the Pope and the Man.

Before becoming President and CEO of the International Institute of New England, Thielman co-founded the national Cristo Rey Network.  He also served as President of Cristo Rey Boston High School.

Additional speakers will include Kathleen Mears, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Boston; G.R. Kearney, a Partner at Acuity Capital Partners in Chicago and author of More Than a Dream: How One School’s Vision is Changing the World; and Lisa Edouard, a graduate of Cristo Rey and Boston College.  A panel discussion will be moderated by Katie Everett, Executive Director of The Lynch Foundation.

Introductory remarks will be provided by Tom Birmingham, Distinguished Senior Fellow in Education at Pioneer Institute, and Rick Henken, a board member of the Catholic Schools Foundation.

The event is co-sponsored by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, the Catholic Schools Foundation, the Cristo Rey Network, Cristo Rey High School Boston, Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School, The Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the American Principles Project, and EdChoice.

The event will feature a sneak preview of Pioneer’s new documentary, “Big Sacrifices, Big Dreams: Ending America’s Bigoted Education Laws,” to be released in January 2018. The Cristo Rey schools forum will be available for live, online viewing.

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Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.

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