Christopher Keavy - Head of Schools

Christopher Keavy
Head of School

St. John Paul II
High School

St. Francis Xavier
Preparatory School

Feb 23, 2016

A Man Worth Noticing

Typically, institutions’ part-time, evening custodians go unnoticed. JPII & SFXP’s Mike McManus has a quiet, unassuming demeanor that virtually guarantees this. He doesn’t make speeches, deliver lectures, win games, or write blog posts. He cleans the restrooms, hallways, and locker rooms in our buildings.

Yet Mike McManus is a man I respect and admire and worthy of our notice.

Mike had worked for over thirty years in public schools when his “brother,” Mr. Ernie, recruited him to come to JPII. Since then, Mike has found the JPII & SFXP atmosphere to be “night and day” in comparison with other settings. “It’s so different here. Students have respect for the school and for you as a person. These kids are great. People recognize you here and you matter. I love coming to this school,” he said.

You may not know Mike’s deep faith and positive attitude — traits that I admire and the source of his strength and humility. Mike’s wife, Donna, suffers from advanced stages of MS. Through this struggle, they have grown closer and share their faith with one another even more deeply. Mike and Donna pray with the gospel of the day each morning and were able to share a pilgrimage to Lourdes several years ago. “God never gives us more that we can handle. He is part of my life, Donna’s life, and our marriage. He gives us our strength.”

I asked Mike how he feels about being less known as evening custodian. “I’m here to serve. That’s what our Lord wants us to do. In my job, I help to keep the school clean so that the teachers and students can have a healthy experience. That’s fine with me.”

Plus, the quiet of evening hours has one more benefit: “I love the Chapel. I feel like He’s there for me. I sit in the Chapel, when the building is empty, and say ‘thank you’.”

Mike McManus is a man worth noticing.

Feb 3, 2016

Lessons from 1796 to 1996 to 2016

Parents able to attend our SFXP Second Quarter Honors Breakfast were richly rewarded by the inspiring words of SFXP founding Pastor, Rev. Edward Byington.

Rev. Byington’s visit commemorates the twenty year anniversary of our 1996 founding. Yet while no one would fault Rev. Byington had he taken a trip down memory lane; instead, he took the occasion to challenge and inspire students to lead the type of life that forms the vision of the best Catholic schools. Rev. Byington focused on Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signatory of the Declaration of Independence and longest survivor. While telling Carroll’s story, Rev. Byington highlighted three simple, powerful habits of body, mind and spirit that we might emulate —

  1. Exercise every day. Run, walk, play with vigor.
  2. Read, read, read, read. Cultivate your mind through reading.
  3. Pray, meditate, receive the sacraments. Nourish your soul every day.

Wise words in Carroll’s day, in 1996, 2016, or anytime. Thank you, Rev. Byington.

Jan 14, 2013

Man (or Woman) the Stations

IMG_0303In the short history of the Our Lady of Fatima Chapel, three sets of ‘Stations of the Cross’ have adorned the walls.

In our first year, a set rescued from another Diocesan entity was installed, then, nearly as quickly, taken away. Second, a generous donor and JPII family purchased stations which have held us in good stead since 2009. Now, a second JPII family has secured and repaired full-sized stations, which were installed over the weekend. Arrangements are being made for the previous stations to make their way to Ecuador.

Next time you’re in the building, check ’em out. JPII families are good!

Several people have asked after Dr. Francesco Cesareo’s excellent remarks at the National Honor Society Induction Ceremony last Thursday. Read Dr. Cesareo’s Address here.


Jan 3, 2013

Words that Challenge and Inspire

Next week, JPII will hold the fourth Induction Ceremonies of the Our Lady, Star of the Sea Chapter of the National Honor Society. With this event, we strive for a thoughtful exercise not only meaningful for those inducted and their families but meaningful for all students, staff, and guests. To accomplish this, we seek guest speakers from the larger community whose seriousness of purpose and engagement with the issues of the day provide good example and can challenge and inspire students and staff. Last year’s speaker was Mr. Paul Niedzwiecki, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission.

This year, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Francesco Cesareo, Ph.D, President of Assumption College (Worcester, Mass.). Dr. Cesareo will share perspective on liberal education, serious Catholic intellectual life, and authentic living.

View additional information on Dr. Cesareo here.

Read Mr. Keavy’s 2011 remarks: CWK NHS remarks 2011.

This event is open to the public. Please consider joining us on Thursday, January 10 at 10 AM.

Feb 16, 2011

JPII Loses A Friend

Cross Talk

Rev. George O'Brien, a priest of the Diocese of Worcester, former Development Director at the College of the Holy Cross, Cape resident, and early and ardent supporter of Pope John Paul II High School, died on Tuesday afternoon after a battle with cancer.

 Fr. George celebrated the first Mass ever at Pope John Paul II High School, on the anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II in April 2007, and ultimately celebrated three all-school liturgies with us (Read Fr. George's 2008 homily here). He was generous, helpful and supportive from the days prior to the school's opening into the young life of the school. In the spring we will again see the "Pope John Paul II" roses bloom at the school's entrance, lovingly donated by Fr. George.

 Most of all, I will miss Fr. George's sincere, wise, and generous support for all the good that we attempt to achieve with this high school. A good man, a good priest. Rev. George O'Brien, may he rest in peace.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Jan 31, 2011

Nice Party!

Saturday’s NEASC accreditation celebration was a warm, wonderful evening.

Many thanks to Elaine McCarthy, her corps of volunteers and donors, and Corpus Christi Church for the gracious use of the Skylight Room. The space was beautiful, food abundant, and  good cheer and sincere congratulations for a school milestone prevailed.

View the handsome Celebration Booklet here.

Mr. Keavy’s remarks posted here.


Dec 4, 2010

These Are The People That Teach JPII Students

Allow me to brag about something that strikes me, truthfully, on a regular basis — that the JPII experience is one of unusually high teacher quality. Sounds kind of formal when put that way, though. Instead, here’s something about two JPII teachers that you may not know.

Mr. Alan Lynch, Campus Minister & Theology (and Spanish!) Teacher, recently led a student group in a week-long service trip to Duran, Ecuador. Student participants reported that it was a powerful experience and something that will be with them in the years ahead. I expected this, and probably you would, too. What I didn’t expect to learn is that there’s a school in Ecuador named after Mr. Lynch in recognition of his work over the years to the people of Ecuador. Wow. Read Mr. Lynch’s Lenten message about Ecuador here.

DSCI0040Ms. Jennifer Kelley, new Visual Arts teacher, recently completed the Lion athletic logo mural in the Fitness Center. No surprise there. But that’s not the only mural work that Ms. Kelley, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, has done — check out for an eyeful of why I say that the JPII experience is one of unusually high teacher quality. I bet you’ll agree.

Oct 1, 2010

Give and Take

Cross Talk

Getting ready to serve as Assistant Chairperson visiting Arlington Catholic High School for the school's NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation visit. While I'm not eager to be away from JPII for three full school days (esp. my Philosophy students!), the experience will provide a helpful vantage point for the NEASC visit to JPII just two weeks later. This is the right stuff in this busy, NEASC-laden month. Stay tuned!

Sep 19, 2010

Your Shot At Immortality

Cross Talk

your pencils and stoke your creativity for this once in a (school)
lifetime opportunity — This year, JPII will hold a contest to write
the lyrics to the school's Alma Mater Hymn.

to accompany lyrics will be written by Mr. Mark Girardin. The contest
is open to anyone who has a connection to Pope John Paul II High
School whether as a student, faculty or staff member, or friend.
Please submit a typed copy of the proposed lyrics by January 15,
2011. Attach a separate card with the author's name and address.


  •  Lyrics
    must be original.

  • The
    Alma Mater should sound like a hymn, or a dignified, ceremonial
    piece of music. Lyrics should reflect the school’s mission/vision
    and should not be longer than two (2) minutes.

  • Lyrics
    will be judged on the choice of “singable” words, metric
    fluidity, integrity, unity, and relevance to the theme.

  • Once
    the winning lyrics have been chosen, the school will compose
    appropriate music. Lyrics may be altered or amended at this point
    and are the property of the school. Multiple winning entries may be
    selected for the purpose of combination.

  • Appropriate
    recognition and prizes will be awarded to the winning author(s).

  • All
    entries will remain the property of the school. Lyric writers
    understand that their submissions may be altered or amended.

  • Anyone
    wishing more information may email

Mar 24, 2010

“If You Think You Can Change the World…You’re Wrong”

So began Dr. Jeremiah J. Lowney, President of the Haitian Health Foundation and 1954 graduate of Msgr. Coyle High School, to students at Coyle and Cassidy High School yesterday. He went on to add, however, that young people most certainly  can change a part of the world, as he has done in southern Haiti, and that it is our Christian call to do so. Dr. Lowney’s witness was powerful, distressing, and worthy of our attention.

JPII students Matthew Laird and Elizabeth Rossi (representing the Christian prayer and service group CrossWalk), Zach Niedzwiecki (President,   Class of 2012), and John Milligan (President, Class of 2013) traveled to Taunton to hear Dr. Lowney’s presentation and, on behalf of the entire students body and Parents Association, present a $1500 donation to the Haitian Health Foundation. It is gratifying to know that money raised will be so well spent.

At JPII, we don’t believe in one-time gifts. Speaking with the student-leaders in the car yesterday, I’m confident that we’ll be hearing about the Haitian Health Foundation again.

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