The new name of the combining Cathedral and Holyoke Catholic high schools has been announced: Pope Francis High School. The name of the school was chosen by a group of Cathedral and Holyoke Catholic students working with school officials. The recommendation was accepted Friday by Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski. “The students considered many different options but, in the end, thought that a new start was best represented through a brand new name, and what better one than that honoring the Holy Father,” said Paul Gagliarducci, a consultant overseeing the creation of the regional Catholic high school. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield believes this is the first Catholic high school named for Pope Francis. The new high school was named after Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Catholic Church’s Pope. The Argentinean native was elected to the highest position within the church in 2013. Throughout the 78-year-old’s life, he has been known for his humility and working to better the lives of the poor. As Pope, Francis has encouraged interfaith dialogue and peace negotiations, especially between communities in the Middle East. The church’s highest official has not visited Western Massachusetts while serving in the Vatican but is scheduled to speak on the East Coast later this year. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield is organizing transportation to help Valley residents the outdoor Papal Mass. In addition to the name, the student advisory committee submitted recommendations for school colors and a new mascot. Rozanski is currently considering the proposals.
UPDATE: Someone mentioned on Twitter that “Catholics don’t name things after the living.” Cardinal Spellman High School in New York was dedicated by the cardinal himself in the early ’60s, and there’s now a Cardinal Wuerl High School in Pittsburgh. There’s also at least one John Paul II High School I know of that opened while he was still pope. It’s not unheard of.