Thursday, 4:30 PM
Church hands over former Brighton school to local nonprofit
By Charles A. Radin, Globe Staff
A former Catholic school in Brighton that became a flash point during the closing of churches and schools was handed over to a neighborhood nonprofit today to be used as a community-based educational facility.
The Archdiocese of Boston gave the former Our Lady of the Presentation School to local activists after a bitter struggle between community and church. The nonprofit has agreed not to operate the property in Oak Square as an elementary school, and the church sold them the building for $1 million -- half what the local residents had offered to pay.
Church and community leaders took turns praising each other at a ceremony this afternoon to mark the transfer.
"It is a moment to celebrate what's been accomplished and share our confident hope in the future," Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, told a crowd of 100 at the former school.
Closing of church and schools "left deep wounds in the Brighton community ... We pray this lays the foundation for healing," O'Malley said.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino also talked about the future.
"We had issues in the past," Menino said, referring to the struggle over the school. "That was yesterday. This is about tomorrow. At my church, we all forgive. We have to on."
The crowd reserved it loudest applause, however, for Jennifer Doyle, the president of the foundation that has taken control of the former school.
"Today is the end of one chapter, but the beginning of another," Doyle said. "The next is called fundraising."
The crowd roared with laughter as Doyle gave a plug for a foundation fundraiser scheduled for Friday night.