St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic High School cancels graduation ceremony for class of 2020

Local News

(Photo from St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School Facebook Page)

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – St. Anne Pacelli School originally had plans for a full graduation ceremony with a minimal number of students and their guests planned for May 16th.

On Thursday, April 23rd, St. Anne Pacelli school officials announced that those graduation plans are cancelled. The school received a statement from Archbishop-Elect of Atlanta and Bishop of Savannah Gregory Hartmeyer, the beginning of his letter says:

With input and support from the priests of both the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah, we are, for the safety of all Georgia residents, not authorizing the return to congregating at churches or making our churches available for devotions. This determination extends through the month of May. If the sheltering-in-place and social distancing guidelines are altered significantly during this time, we will reexamine the possibility of congregating at churches.

Original plans for the graduation and baccalaureate ceremonies included having students and guests wear masks provided by the school, graduates seated six feet apart, each student limited to inviting four guests, and each set of guests grouped together and seated six feet apart from other groups, said Director of Communications St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School Jennifer Sillitto.

St. Anne-Pacelli administrators and senior advisors say the school will re-group and discuss alternative ways to celebrate the Class of 2020.

See below the complete text of the announcement of cancellation sent to students and parents.

Dear St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School Class of 2020 and Parents of Seniors, I’m writing to update you that our high school graduation plans for Saturday, May 16th at St. Anne Church are now, regrettably, canceled. We have just received this “Statewide Response from Catholic Dioceses in Georgia to Governor Kemp’s April 20th Update” from Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer, OFM, Conv., Bishop of Savannah/Archbishop-designate of Atlanta. The beginning of the letter states:“With input and support from the priests of both the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah, we are, for the safety of all Georgia residents, not authorizing the return to congregating at churches or making our churches available for devotions. This determination extends through the month of May. If the sheltering-in-place and social distancing guidelines are altered significantly during this time, we will reexamine the possibility of congregating at churches.” 

According to the archbishop’s letter, and confirmed by Diocese of Savannah Catholic Schools Superintendent Michelle Kroll, the hybrid Deimel Field and parking lot high school graduation plan originally communicated is also prohibited during the shelter in place designated by the archbishop. No gatherings are allowed on campus during the archbishop’s shelter in place. In light of this news, our administrators, senior advisors and I will re-group to discuss how we can celebrate our Class of 2020. We appreciate your patience as we navigate this uncharted territory. Faith in Education, Ronie CollinsSt. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School President and High School PrincipalPHS Class of 1979 P.S. Our drive-thru cap & gown and graduation announcement pick-up will still take place this Saturday, April 25th from Noon until 2 p.m. in front of the main school office on Kay Circle. Again, no need to get out of your car. Items will be brought to you.

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