So What the Heck is Cristo Rey?

Last month, the Philadelphia Archdiocese announced the closure next June of Cardinal Dougherty and Northeast Catholic high schools. Within days, a rumor took hold that deep-pocketed alums were looking at the chance that Northeast - "North" for short - might be converted to a Cristo Rey school.  The conversion - a complicated long shot that would no doubt greatly alter North in unexpected and maybe unwelcome ways - could breathe new life into the Torresdale Ave. institution.

(On a side note, maye I just say that North has the most fiercely potective and devoted alums I think I've ever met? With the exception, perhaps, of Cardinal Dougherty's, whom I've gotten to know better in these last few weeks than I know the alums at even my own alma mater, Bishop McDevitt - Go, Lancers!)

John P. Foley, S.J., is the President of the Cristo Rey Network, an association of Catholic high schools that serve urban young people through the innovative work-study model.

In today's Daily News, I wrote about the juicy rumor - which the archdiocese has said is, sadly, not true - but space constraints prevented me from explaining in greater detail just what Cristo Rey is all about. So I thought I'd provide a link here to the Cristo Rey Network, founded by one Rev. John Foley, whose outside-the-box business model is helpig to save Catholic education in poor neighborhoods throughout the country.

So click away. And tell me: what do you think of the model? Would you like to see it attempted in Philly? Why or why not?

Continue Reading