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– The Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools has announced that Rev. Dominic J. Grassi of St. Gertrude Parish and Northside Catholic Academy in Chicago will receive the 2012 Distinguished Pastors Award from the National Catholic Educational Association. The award will be given at the Association’s annual Convention in Boston, Massachusetts on Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Fr. Grassi is the fifth consecutive pastor in the Archdiocese of Chicago to receive this distinction.

Fr. Grassi has been the pastor of St. Gertrude Parish and President of Northside Catholic Academy (NCA) for over six years. During this time, he has made a tremendous impact on the school, which has now grown its enrollment, cleared its debt and established an endowment to ensure its viability for years to come.

According to NCA Principal, Debra Sullivan, “He never takes credit for the school’s successes, always ensuring that my staff and I get the full limelight. He empowers the entire school community to take ownership for the success of our school. He encourages us to dream big and work hard to make those dreams a reality. He is a tireless cheerleader for anyone who is working to enrich the lives of the children – not just at NCA, but at any Catholic school.”

Fr. Grassi’s writing and story-telling talents are a blessing to the students of NCA. Rose Cancilla, parent of 5th and 8th grade boys, says “What I love most about Fr. Grassi, are his homilies at the Children’s Mass. He really talks to the children – not at them. He tells the children and the rest of us over and over that God loves each of each of us and all people unconditionally, no matter what color, size, or belief.”

The previous recipients of this award from the Archdiocese of Chicago are: Rev. Ronald Lewinski of St. Mary of the Annunciation in Fremont Center and Frassati Catholic Academy in Wauconda, Rev. Patrick Lee of Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph in Chicago, Rev. John Siemanowski of St. Agnes Parish in Chicago Heights and Rev. Carl Morello of St. Giles in Oak Park and previously of St. Paul of the Cross in Park Ridge when he received the award.

The Distinguished Pastor Award was established to honor pastors who have given outstanding support to Catholic elementary education. The NCEA acknowledges that in honoring these pastors, it also honors the many pastors who give their support to Catholic elementary schools throughout the United States.

The Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago, with over 86,000 students and more than 6,000 teachers and staff, play a critical role in the life of the community by instilling values, teaching discipline and achieving strong, consistent academic results for students of many faiths and backgrounds in the 216 elementary and 40 high schools in Cook and Lake counties. Parents or guardians seeking information about Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago are encouraged to visit and click on Catholic Schools.

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