The Diocese of Trenton is merging two Jersey Shore Catholic elementary schools into one school that'll open its doors in September.

St. Aloysius School in Jackson and St. Veronica School in Howell (who sit three miles apart) will become Mother Seton Academy named in honor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who founded the Sisters of Charity.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is the first native born citizen to be canonized and opened the first Catholic parish school in the United States.

Father John Bambrick, pastor of St. Aloysius Parish, and Father Vincent Euk, pastor of St. Veronica Parish, announced the decision on Monday night in a joint meeting with parents from the two schools.

Both pastors say the reasoning was the similarities of their two parishes along with the foundations that both schools have achieved.

Father Bambrick and Father Euk felt that the time was right to bring St. Aloysius and St. Veronica Schools together, to strengthen Catholic education in their communities and to make sure it lasts.

The pastors requested and received approval for the planned merger and naming of the new school from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., in mid-December.

The school will still educate Pre-K through 8th grade students, which currently enrolls more than 350 children, while the merger will also come with a new administration, new teaching staff and new mission.

Some of the help will come from the Sisters of the Resurrection, who have served in St. Veronica School for 53 years, and officials say will benefit the new model and help to facilitate its success as a Christ-centered, academically excellent learning experience for students.

Mother Seton Academy will seek current teachers from both schools to be part of this new venture.

The new school will re-open on the grounds of the Howell site which Diocese officials say offers the advantage of being slightly larger (allowing for future growth), has an athletic field (which the St. Aloysius site lacks) and is easily accessible from major roads (195 and Rt. 9).

The designation of an Academy reflects the commitment to fulfill the robust and specific guidelines for a 21st Century Catholic Elementary School, which have been established by the Diocese’s Department of Catholic Schools.

JoAnn Tier, diocesan superintendent of schools, spoke on behalf of Bishop David O’Connell and pledged the support of the Department of Catholic Schools in the establishment and launch of the new Academy.

“It is both commendable and inspiring that these two parishes are going to work together to ensure the continued health of Catholic education for the children in their communities and those throughout the area," Tier said.

This is not the first school change within the last year plus in the Diocese of Trenton.

In December of 2017, Holy Cross Academy in Burlington County was forced to close after the Diocese dropped its financial support of the school.

In December of 2018, All Saints Regional Catholic School in Manahawkin announced that they will move away from being a regional school and will re-open in July as St. Mary Academy under the administration of St. Mary's Parish in Barnegat.

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