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February 06, 2023

Holy Angels Lets its Light Shine During Catholic Schools Week

The Academy of the Holy Angels continued to let its considerable light shine throughout Catholic Schools Week (January 29-February 4, 2023). The week began with a lively AHA Middle School Open House, and concluded with a National Honor Society assembly. Activities included a footwear collection that netted over 400 pairs of shoes for the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.


Father Michael Joyce, O. Carm., from Saint Therese of Lisieux Church in Cresskill, celebrated the midweek Mass organized by AHA Campus Ministry Director Kathleen Sylvester and Campus Minister Maryanne Miloscia. The Gospel, Matthew 5:13-16, underscores the importance of sharing one’s gifts. “You are the salt of the earth,” and “You are the light of the world” are messages that seem tailor-made for Angels. The School Sisters of Notre Dame, AHA’s foundresses and sponsors, encourage every student to develop her unique gifts and share them with others.


Fr. Joyce highlighted how important it is for each person to discover his or her gifts and talents, and answer the call to serve.



“We are made to share love,” he observed.

Fr. Joyce led the assembly in a blessing for the members of the AHA community who will be traveling to the Arizona border this month. AHA Director of Mission & Ministry Joan Connelly, Chloe Rodriguez of Leonia, Jacqueline Garcia of Bergenfield, Grace Cuttita of Glen Rock, and Emma Spadora of Ridgewood stepped forward for the special sendoff. This group will be taking a closer look at immigration issues.


Angels who attended the 2022 trip to the Texas border hosted AHA’s Sneaker & Sturdy Shoe Drive. Breanna Hetzer of Nutley, Jackie LaMastra of Tenafly, Raffaela Manoy of New Milford, Marina Poire of Dumont, Sydney Ponti of Secaucus, Ava Santoro of Old Tappan, Ava Tripodi of Emerson, and Grace Cuttita of Glen Rock spearheaded the collection. They were assisted by Social Studies Department Chair Gail Fair and Kathleen Sylvester, the Texas trip chaperones.


These Angels were inspired to support the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen after they volunteered there and recognized immigrants’ significant need for footwear. AHA’s student volunteers became frustrated with the lack of available shoes for those in need, and resolved to take action to make a difference.


Before the Catholic Schools Week Mass drew to a close, AHA President Melinda Hanlon and Principal Jean Miller presented certificates of appreciation to faculty and staff members who are celebrating work milestones this year. Those recognized included Dan Mahoney and Erin Musich, five years; Emmalee Brizzolara, Rita Goff, Gina Hassa, Maryanne Miloscia, Brianna Portuesi, Anna May Thurchak, and Kathleen Walsh, 10 years; Jillane Ferreira, 15 years; Priscilla Bishop, Marie Buckey, and S. Mary Foley, SSND, 20 years; Jovanka DePalma, Gail Fair, and Eileen Musich, 25 years; and Patrick Dunne, 35 years. Those honored for over 25 years of service were Joan Finn Connelly, 26 years; Samira Mady, 32 years; Nancy Schneberger and Sheila Wroblewski, 34 years; Carol Fay, 46 years; and Susan Liddy and Robert Shanney, 48 years.


Those present prayed the Blessing of Mother Theresa Gerhardinger over the honorees, and Principal Miller thanked those who were not marking a milestone this year.


“Your light has shone through the years,” Father Joyce told the honorees. He followed up by telling the students they are the reason faculty and staff invest so much time at Holy Angels.


Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious school serves young women from a many backgrounds