School Restoration Update

January 27, 2018

The following excerpt from the transcript is an update concerning our St. Philip Preparatory School and the Molloy Center.

Thank you for your prayer and support during this challenging time. Let’s review where we have been.

Richard Ziccardi, Diocesan Risk Manager for the Diocese of Paterson:
The Diocese has been working on a daily basis on site with representatives from our insurance carriers, architects, engineers and contractors to restore the school. During this process, we have encountered many challenges and obstacles, have forced us to modify our approach for restoration. Our goal throughout this entire process is to ensure that the school will be a safe environment for our students.

Dennis Rodano, Business and Facility Project Manager for the Diocese of Paterson:
During the last week we have explored numerous options and opportunities to allow for the return to the classroom for the St. Philip School Community. Each opportunity we have explored had manifold areas that required review and evaluation. Please know that the decision-making process always began and ended with the safety of the school community. Most facility projects have a clear beginning which is typically planned prior to the project commencing and then follows a well-established and defined path to bring the scope of work to completion. This is not the case when restoring a building from an event like a hurricane or a fire. For those who have either personally experienced a fire in their home or who know someone who has, you are well aware of how much damage even a small fire can cause and the extensive duration of the recovery and rebuilding effort. We have a great team of dedicated architects and engineers who require time to evaluate and assess the damages and the best way for us to restore and ultimately rebuild the areas that have been impacted by not only the fire but the smoke. Returning students to St. Philip while the restoration, demolition and construction work is ongoing is a major safety issue for everyone involved in this project. Therefore, students are not allowed return to the St. Philip the Apostle Preparatory School at this time.

Fr. Joe
In all communications we were very clear that there were many IF’s, so here is the Good News.
As you may remember from our earlier video and letter dated January 19th within hours of the fire Bishop Serratelli offered our neighboring John Paul II Center classroom space for our use. We learned, after investigation, that because sections of the building were not used as a school for 10 years we needed to gain approval to meet 2018 code requirements. Approvals were needed at every step, for each room and section, before children could be allowed to enter. The city of Clifton has been cooperative and extremely helpful during this process.
Work began immediately and is ongoing at this moment to prepare this space to receive our children.

We are approved effective January 31st to use the John Paul II Center for in-classroom instruction for all of our children except sixth, seventh and eighth grades who will go, as previously planned, to Mary Help of Christians Academy.
There will be no in-classroom instruction available for grades Pre-K3 through 5 on Monday, January 29th or Tuesday January 30th.
To be clear about what will happen:

Grades 6, 7 and 8 classroom instruction will resume on Monday, January 29th at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon.
Grades Pre-K3 through 5 classroom instruction will resume on Wednesday, January 31st at the John Paul II Center. As I speak things are being moved and readied for class to begin on Wednesday.
The duration for this plan is projected to be in place for 90 days.


Restoration is in process for the Molloy Center which includes Cerullo and Marion Halls. The contents are unsalvageable and have been removed. The timeline for the work in the Molloy Center is 90 days.

I recognize that parish organizations are experiencing hardship without space to gather. We are very grateful to the Veterans of Foreign Wars – Post 7165, 491 Valley Rd., Clifton for hosting many of our Parish organizations so graciously.

You can help with your prayer for wisdom, patience and endurance.
Thank you for your support and be assured of our continued prayer for you.

We are Blessed with God’s presence and with the gifts and talents of all, as we continue our mission of doing Christ’s work.

As the beautiful and appropriate Serenity Prayer asks,
God grant us the serenity,
to accept the things that we cannot change,
the courage to change the things we can and
the wisdom to know the difference. Amen

-Reinhold Niebuhr

Rev. Joseph J. Garbarino