Cardinal occasion as Egan visits Village academy


Cardinal Edward Egan blew out the candle on his cake while celebrating his 78th birthday at the Academy of St. Joseph on Washington Place at Sixth Ave. Friday afternoon. (Actually, his birthday is in April, so they observed it just a little early in honor of his visit.) Right before, Egan had led Mass in St. Joseph’s Church for the schoolchildren and the St. Joseph’s parish community. In addition to Egan’s birthday, Friday was the Feast Day of St. Joseph, the academy’s namesake. The small West Village school, which focuses on instilling its students with the three “C” ’s — character, competence and compassion — holds a special place in Egan’s heart. Two years ago, the cardinal resolved that there should be a private, independent Catholic school within the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. The Academy of St. Joseph was founded, providing students with a gifted-level, humanities-based education. Unlike a typical parochial school, the academy is not subsidized by the local parish. In addition to having lunch at the school and celebrating his birthday, Egan blessed the academy’s library, which was dedicated in his name as the school’s founder, as the Edward Cardinal Egan Library. The school’s enrollment has been slowly growing, with a new class added each year, and the goal of going up through eighth grade. In fall 2007, when the Academy of St. Joseph opened, it had just three students. Now with the school in its third year, there are 25 students, ranging from pre-kindergarten to second grade. Next year the academy will expand to third grade. Reflecting on Egan’s visit, Angela Coombs, the head of school, said, “One of the focuses of the school is to study the great men and women of all time, in order to understand that because of the choices these men and women have made, they have had a lasting impact on the world.  Cardinal Egan is one of these men. How fortunate it is that the children will actually have met him. Cardinal Egan is someone who exemplifies our motto of character, competence and compassion. Not only our founder, but a wonderful role model for our children.”