Nearly 400 Students Gather in Front of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul to Kick-Off the 2016-2017 School Year in the Archdiocese with Prayer and a Pep Rally

Tuesday, September 13th

fullsizerender-5Today, nearly 400 students gathered on the steps of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul to celebrate the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year in the five-county Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The celebration signaled the opening of the 233rd consecutive year for Catholic education in the region.

The several hundred students in attendance represented young people from the 120 parish and regional Catholic elementary schools, 17 Archdiocesan high schools, and four Archdiocesan Schools of Special Education in the region. Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, who oversees the Office of Catholic Education and Mr. Christopher Mominey, Chief Operating Officer and Secretary for Catholic Education, addressed students, parents, faculty and administrators in the crowd prior to the pep rally.

Bishop Fitzgerald led everyone in prayer saying, “We come to you this day as your sons and daughters, as we begin a new school year in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia…We pray for all of our administrators, teachers, students and their families.”

The morning also featured choral performances by the Saint Francis Xavier School Choir (Philadelphia) and students from Our Lady of Confidence Day School, Willow Grove (Montgomery County), an Archdiocesan School of Special Education.

In his message to students, Mr. Mominey said, “Remember you are building your own future! You are responding every day to Pope Francis’ question: What about you?…Enjoy the quality education you are receiving, be grateful for the sacrifices your parents make, and above all consider thanking the teachers and administrators assisting you in building a future filled with promise and all good things.”

The event concluded with a pep rally featuring the National Championship Cheerleading Team from Saint Hubert Catholic High School for Girls, the acclaimed Jazz Pep Band from Bishop Shanahan Catholic High School, which performed for Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia last year, and a mascot race on 18th Street. The Roman Gladiator from Roman Catholic High School for Boys took the crown by besting the Ragdoll and the Raider from Archbishop Ryan Catholic High School, the Crusader from Father Judge High School, Mickey Mouse from John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, Bambi from Saint Hubert Catholic High School for Girls, and Burr Man from West Catholic Preparatory High School.

For the first time during an Archdiocesan event a drone was used to capture additional aerial footage and the event was streamed live on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Schools website at

Watch the event video  here:


Editor’s Notes:  For information about Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit  For information about Faith in the Future please visit

Mr. Christopher Mominey recently recorded a video message that was shared with school Colleagues, partners, and friends in Catholic education reflecting on the last year and particularly the Holy Father’s message while he was here in Philadelphia last September