It is a sad day when an institution dedicated to serving the families of rural western Fresno County for 40 years is forced to shut its doors. Saint Joseph's School in Firebaugh announced it is closing indefinitely, done in by the drought's impact on the west side economy and years of diocesan neglect.
No longer will families in Firebaugh, Mendota, Dos Palos and other small communities have a place to educate their children in their faith, a place where the sons and daughters of farmers and farmworkers came together to learn values and create memories that would last a lifetime.
I want to know why the Diocese of Fresno has seemingly abandoned this school that serves a poor swath of Fresno County when funds pour into the coffers of wealthy parishes and schools like Saint Anthony's in Fresno and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Clovis. Can't funds be shared? Is a Catholic education for the well-to-do and suburban only? Can't something be done?
God calls all Christians to serve the least of his people. That is what Saint Joseph's School has done for 40 years. Now it's time for the powers that be in Fresno to step up and do the same.
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Mateo J. Carrillo
Class of '94