Bishop Estévez Blesses St. Clare Early Learning Center

Amid construction of new homes, St. Clare Early Learning Center’s bright red roof stands as a beacon. The center was built to give children ages 6 weeks to 4 years old living in Wildlight, a master-planned community, a high-quality, faith-based education.

The school officially opened on Monday, August 10, and currently, 23 students are enrolled. On Saturday, August 22, Bishop Felipe J. Estévez blessed the building as part of a well-attended dedication ceremony.

Deacon Scott Conway, superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese, expressed his gratitude for the hard work of Theresa Little, coordinator of early learning centers, Rhonda Rose, assistant superintendent, Lester Del Rosario, director of real estate planning & property development, Kasper Architects + Associates, Scherer Construction, Abbie Johnson, director, and the staff of St. Clare Early Learning Center, to make this project possible.

“We are here, open and ready to serve the people of Yulee,” he said.

Clergy in attendance included Father Slawomir Bielasiewicz, Deacon Tom Healy and Deacon Brian Campbell of St. Francis Mission, which oversees the early learning center at Wildlight, and Father Jose Kulathinal, dean of the North Jacksonville Deanery.

In his homily, Bishop Estévez shared his vision to one day build an elementary school, parish church, and maybe even a high school in the area, calling it “a sign of my commitment to providing an evangelizing presence in western Nassau County.”

He called to attention the partnership between St. Clare Early Learning Center and St. Francis of Assisi Mission in Yulee, citing the deep connection and friendship between the two Italian saints. Finally, Bishop Estévez shared the positive impact the new early learning center will have on its students as a “community of faith, hope and love.”

“It is a place parents can trust bringing their children as they experience a true family spirit, a real safe and protected environment, a place to play, to enjoy, to make friends, and yes, to begin the necessary skills of learning,” he said. “By parents entrusting their children to the faculty and staff of the St. Clare Early Learning Center, the family will not be the same. Their children will grow, and their lives will be more joyful, and families will be satisfied that their choice was fruitful.”

Parents of children who attend St. Clare echoed the bishop’s sentiments. Brook and Jared Jones knew they wanted more for their daughter Charlotte than just a daycare. That’s why they chose St. Clare, which opened on August 10.

“We really like the warm atmosphere and the family values of St. Clare,” said Brook. “We want our daughter to be somewhere that teaches her and instills a Christian education.”

For more information, visit http://www.stclareelc.org or call (904) 849-9192.