The former St. Gertrude School in Vandergrift, which was established in 1922, served students in kindergarten through sixth grade, until it officially transitioned to a regional school with a new name in fall 2005.
The formal annoucement and dedication of The Cardinal Maida Academy took place with a special Mass Nov. 27, 2005 at St. Gertrude Parish, and Cardinal Adam J. Maida, whose episcopal motto is “To Make All Things New,” returned to his roots in the Diocese of Greensburg to help a small Catholic school celebrate a new beginning.
Cardinal Adam J. Maida, born in 1930 in East Vandergrift, returned to the borough of Vandergrift to celebrate the blessing and dedication of the school. He was joined by Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt; Benedictine Father Chad Ficorilli, former pastor of St. Gertrude Parish; Benedictine Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki of Saint Vincent College, Seminary and Archabbey near Latrobe; and other priests.
The decree establishing the academy was read by Msgr. Lawrence T. Persico, vicar general and chancellor for the diocese after the distribution of communion. The decree cited Cardinal Maida’s “faithful service and dedication to the Archdiocese of Detroit and to the Universal Church” and recognized him as an “illustrious native son of Polish ancestry from East Vandergrift who has gifted the church with his formidable intellectual accomplishments as well as visionary pastoral leadership … ”
Cardinal Maida, who has not allowed his name to be attached to a building in his archdiocese, is proud to have his name associated with the Vandergrift school.
“I hope this school will produce people who are caring and loving and formed in a way they focus on themselves, but on ‘What can I do for others?’ ‘What can I do to transform the culture?’”
Cardinal Maida Academy, serves students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and is under the pastoral care and direction of five parishes: St. Gertrude; Our Lady, Queen of Peace, East Vandergrift; St. James the Greater, Apollo; and Christ the King, Leechburg; and St. Ambrose, Avonmore.