Former Feehan Chaplain Rev. David Costa to be honored with Sister Patricia M. Harrington, RSM Hero of Catholic Education Award
ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Bishop Feehan High School is proud to announce that Rev. David Costa will be honored with the school’s Sister Patricia M. Harrington, RSM Hero of Catholic Education Award during its “Setting Our Hearts” Gala on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
A priest of the Diocese of Fall River since 1985, “Fr. Dave” served Feehan as chaplain for 14 years across two assignments (1991-95, 2011-19). His deep faith and joyful spirit have been a wonderful example for a generation of Feehan students. He invigorated school liturgies, supported an ever-evolving campus ministry effort, counseled school leaders and served as a spiritual guide for faculty and students through joys and sorrows.
In addition, Fr. Dave served as a wonderful Feehan ambassador in Greater Attleboro, particularly during his 24 years serving in what is now the Transfiguration of the Lord Parish (formerly the Catholic Community of North Attleboro). First at St. Mark’s Parish in the 1990s, and then leading three North Attleboro parishes and St. Mary-Sacred Heart School, his charisma and passion for Catholic schools was obvious to all. It’s no coincidence that Catholic schools thrive when Fr. Dave and his passion for students, education and faith are all present.
“When we discussed at Feehan who might be our next Sister Pat honoree and Fr. Dave’s name came up -- everyone knew we had the right person,” recalls Feehan president Tim Sullivan. “To watch Fr. Dave connect with 1,100 students at a Mass, singing every note with all he has, is to watch our faith come alive. All of our Feehan families and the families at St. Mary-Sacred Heart in North Attleboro have been blessed to learn from and celebrate with Father for so long. ”
The Sister Patricia M. Harrington, RSM Hero of Catholic Education Award was established by Bishop Feehan High School in 2017 to honor a champion of Catholic education who makes significant contributions in service of Catholic schools and the Church. Sister Pat — who passed away in 2015 — was a legendary figure in the Feehan community: her example of faith, love and mercy set a standard at Feehan for nearly 40 years and will be remembered always. Sister Pat herself (posthumously) was the first recipient of the award.
Costa, who now serves as pastor of three parishes in Somerset and Swansea, will join Sister Pat, former Providence College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., and former Feehan President Christopher E. Servant ’66 on a permanent plaque of honorees that will be displayed prominently at the school. All honorees will be remembered at the Gala each year.
“The Sister Pat award is Feehan’s highest honor,” Sullivan said. “Our honorees each year embody the ideals that have allowed Catholic schools to thrive for decades and decades and remind us of the impact one person, like Sister Pat, can make. Father Dave certainly fits that tradition. Catholic schools everywhere will do well to keep the joyful spirit of Fr. Dave -- similar to the joyful spirit of Sister Pat -- central and alive for our students for the long-term, as hard as that will be without him here in our halls every day.”
The Gala itself has become the central annual community event of the Feehan year, welcoming more than 600 people to celebrate the Feehan community and support the school.
“The Setting Our Hearts Gala is a one-night event that celebrates all things Feehan – our students, our community, our mission, and our vision for the future,” Feehan Director of Advancement Dave Curtis said.
Besides the Hero of Catholic Education award, other highlights of the evening will include an elegant dinner, a limited live auction, a $10,000 cash raffle, a live band, dancing and a host of surprises. For more information and to purchase tickets or tables, visit BishopFeehan.com/SettingOurHearts or contact Dave Curtis at 508.226.7411 x 135.
Each year at Bishop Feehan High School’s Setting Our Hearts Gala, the school will honor a long-time Catholic education champion or servant as a:
Sister Patricia M Harrington, RSM
Hero of Catholic Education
Bishop Feehan’s highest honor represents the core values of faith, love and family that our beloved Sister Pat lived daily through her dedication to others and her Church. Recipients’ names will be listed on a permanent plaque at the school and remembered especially each year at our Gala.
Appropriately, at our first Gala, our very first honoree was Sister Pat herself, accepted by Sister Pat’s family.
A legend in the Feehan community, Sr. Pat was a math teacher by trade but a counselor, friend, role model, retreat leader, inspiration, lifesaver and so much more for generations of the school’s students. She loved and served all, but was especially drawn to students struggling with life’s many challenges. She had a gift for showing them their value in the eyes of God and challenged them to be defined by their response to adversity, not the adversity itself.
For many students, she was the personification of love and acceptance. Her example helps define what Feehan aims to be today and in the future for all our students.
Sister started her Feehan career as a math teacher in 1969 and served the school in that capacity and more through her passing in 2015. She brought the ECHO retreat to Feehan in the 1970s, a tradition that continues today as a special part of the Feehan experience.