‘Your Legacy Begins Today’
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
September 5, 2019

Rockford’s newest Catholic school exceeds projected student count for its first year. All Saints Catholic Academy opens doors Aug. 28 at its downtown campus at St. James Parish, with fresh colors and new backpacks.

ROCKFORD—The only thing brighter than the sun on Aug. 28 were the smiles on the faces of the 313 students waiting for All Saints Catholic Academy to open its doors for the first time.
All Saints Head of Schools Renee Payne welcomed the students, families, friends, teachers, City of Rockford dignitaries and benefactors gathered for the ribbon cutting and for Bishop David Malloy’s official blessing of the new school.
A brief history of All Saints 
All Saints Catholic Academy is a consolidation of the Cathedral of St. Peter, St. Bernadette, St. Edward and St. James parish schools. Spiritual and financial support is provided by those respective parishes along with St. Anthony of Padua, St. Patrick, SS. Peter and Paul and St. Stanislaus Kostka parishes.
The consolidation is the result of more than two years of discussion and planning, all part of an outgrowth of the Faith Forward Strategic Plan to strengthen Catholic schools in the diocese.
All Saints is the second such consolidation in the diocese. Last fall in Aurora, seven parishes and four schools came together to form Pope St. John Paul II Catholic Academy. 
— Penny Wiegert
Students in their new, crisp, maroon and gold uniforms stood in groups behind their respective teachers with their new backpacks proudly displaying a brilliant gold Phoenix—the mascot selected by the students themselves.
Executive pastor for All Saints, Father Stephen St.  Jules, joined in welcoming everyone and recognized all those who  helped make All Saints a reality. His remarks were followed by some from Bishop Malloy who briefly reflected on the name of the Academy. 
“All Saints. The name of our new academy.  That’s important for a couple of reasons,” Bishop Malloy said. 
Bishop Malloy said it brings to mind all the saints we celebrate on the Feast of All Saints. The saints and their lives, he said, “are the reasons we have this school … so that all of you should join all of the saints. That’s the point, to learn about God, to learn about this world, to learn how we can be great contributors to our families, to our beloved City of Rockford and to every place in time and situations we are going to find ourselves in.” 
Bishop Malloy recognized the students of the first eighth grade class at All Saints. 
“You are the big dogs,” the bishop said to a round of laughter. He told the class, “You are the ones who really set a tone here. But to all of you students and teachers, we are starting something new here and also continuing something that has gone on for decades.  Every one of you has an opportunity to be a part of the success and the pride of this institution.”
To begin that work, Bishop Malloy asked the crowd to “do a kind of a first right here. Let’s say the first Our Father, the first Hail Mary and the first Glory Be that we will say time and again here.”
After the prayers, Bishop Malloy imparted his blessing on the school and its students and joined pastors from the supporting parishes and other City of Rockford dignitaries for the ribbon cutting.
Michael Kagan, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Rockford thanked the task force made up of representatives and pastors of each of the schools and parishes that helped form All Saints Catholic Academy and told all gathered, “Your legacy begins today.