LAWRENCE — Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley had Notre Dame Cristo Rey High students laughing and thinking about faith, family and education last night at a Mass of celebration and thanksgiving at St. Mary of the Assumption Church for the 10th anniversary of the founding of the high school.
“It was a joy to celebrate Mass 10 years ago at the school and to be here today celebrating with a church filled with students and friends,” said O’Malley. “It’s so gratifying to see all that hard work has come to fruition.”
Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School was founded in 2004 under the leadership of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and in partnership with the Cristo Rey Network. The school offers students rigorous academics and work study programs.
“It was rich in energy, love and community,” Notre Dame Cristo Rey founder and president Sister Mary Murphy, said of the Mass. “To have the people from the parish come celebrate the mission of the school was wonderful and his (O’Malley’s) presence was quite a gift.”
Leslie Torres agreed.
“It was beautiful. I thought the music was fun and upbeat and he (O’Malley) caught my attention with his stories.”
Notre Dame Cristo Rey has 293 students of different ethnicities and religious faiths, from all over the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire.
Buddhist Cindy Nguyen and Muslim Fardowsa Abdulle, both juniors, said they felt at home during the Mass and at the school.
“I like how they’re focused on academics. It’s all about studying and they want you to succeed,” Abdulle said.
The school has a lot to be proud of, Murphy said. Earlier this month, the school was ranked No. 1 in workplace performance for the second year in a row by the Cristo Rey Network; and last year’s graduates received $5 million in scholarships for college tuition.