In a move that portends the arrival of a new secular school in the St. Pancras School building in Glendale, St. Pancras Church hoisted down the statue of Jesus that topped the school’s entryway on Friday morning.
But after neighbors lamented the removal upon seeing pictures of the church strapping Jesus to a flatbed truck on Facebook, the religious statue ended up traveling across the street on the church’s lawn, where it will find a new home.
“We may be leasing the school to the Department of Education, and if that takes place any religious symbols, statues, iconography could not remain,” said Rev. Francis J. Hughes, the church pastor. “And so we have long planned to keep the statue by placing it one the rectory lawn. It is now in place and the parishioners who have seen it are already very happy with it.”
In the summer of 2018, the Catholic school closed its doors after 110 years of existence, citing low enrollment and resulting financial losses. The student population of St. Pancras dropped by 100 students from 2012-2018, according to the church.
More public school space is sorely needed in the Glendale-Ridgewood area. The school falls in Community School District 24, which has the fourth-highest level of overcrowding in the city, according to a report the City Council released in 2018.
Hughes said that the DOE is in the process of looking into the space for a new Queens public school. St. Pancras, which served kindergarten to eighth-grade students, had a student population of over 200 before its drop in enrollment.
As a result of ongoing negotiations between the School Construction Authority and the Diocese, the DOE declined to comment on the status of the project.