Kolbe Academy, nation’s first Catholic recovery school, to move to Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Bath

Kolbe Academy, the Diocese of Allentown’s high school for students recovering from substance abuse, will move this summer to Bath from Bethlehem.

The school, based now at the St. Francis Center in Bethlehem, will move to the former Sacred Heart School in Bath, according to a joint announcement made by John Petruzzelli, Kolbe’s principal, and Father Christopher Butera, pastor of Sacred Heart.

“I know we will be mutually supportive and uplifting to each other,” Father Butera said in the statement. “The mission of Kolbe Academy is one that I not only strongly believe in and our parish welcomes, but I believe also conforms in a very beautiful way with Our Lord’s Sacred Heart that always provides hope, comfort and healing for those who trust in Him.”

Petruzzelli told 69 News last year that Kolbe was seeking a new home. Another school will move into the St. Francis Center. Kolbe checked several sites before choosing Bath.

“The relocation committee wanted to make sure we did our due diligence to secure a location that would meet our needs and share in our ministry,” Petruzzelli said. “We believe Sacred Heart in Bath will do just that.”

Father Butera has invited Kolbe to hold its June graduation at Sacred Heart Church.

Petruzelli said in December that Kolbe has had about 10 students or more each year since opening in 2019, with a goal of 30. The school’s tuition is about $15,000 per year but fundraising and donations allow Kolbe to offer financial aid.

Kolbe, the nation’s first Catholic faith-based high school, started from scratch, with no building, no money and no students, Petruzzelli said earlier. Generous donors and the support of parishes and the Knights of Columbus have helped the program grow.

Kolbe students will tour the new location soon, and the process of preparing for classes in the fall begins immediately.

Jeff Ward Mar 21, 2022 Updated Mar 21, 2022


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