49 Catholic Faith Formation in 2023


In a recent announcement by Miguel Cardona, Ed.D., Secretary of the United States Department of Education, it was revealed that three Catholic schools in Pennsylvania have been selected as part of the prestigious 2023 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools. Saint Philip Neri Catholic School in Lafayette Hill (Montgomery County), Saint Mary Interparochial School in the Society Hill Section of Philadelphia, and Saints Philip and James School in Exton (Chester County) were among the 353 total schools chosen for this honor. Furthermore, out of the 353 schools, only 40 were private schools.

Exemplary Performance Recognized

These three schools were selected based on their exemplary high performance, making them stand out among their peers. It is worth noting that all three schools have received this recognition in the past. Saint Philip Neri and Saint Mary Interparochial were first-time recipients in 2016, while Saints Philip and James received the award back in 1989. This shows the consistent dedication to excellence that these schools have demonstrated over the years.

A Message from Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez

Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, in a video message to the Saint Philip Neri, Saint Mary Interparochial, and Saints Philip and James School Communities, expressed his joy and congratulations to the honorees. He emphasized the significance of this distinguished honor, not only for the schools but also for the entire community. He urged everyone to be proud of this achievement and to continue supporting the mission of Catholic education.

Catholic Education in the National Spotlight

The selection of these three schools for the National Blue Ribbon Schools program puts them in the national spotlight as examples of excellence. This recognition reflects the commitment and dedication of the educators, staff, students, and families in these schools. It is truly an outstanding accomplishment that deserves celebration and admiration.

Blue Ribbon Status in the Archdiocese

With the addition of the 2023 cohort, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has now had 51 parish and regional elementary schools awarded Blue Ribbon status since the program’s inception in 1982. Among these schools, Saint Genevieve Catholic School in Flourtown (Montgomery County) holds the record for receiving this honor the most times. They were recognized in 2000, 2006, and 2016, showcasing their consistent commitment to excellence in education.

Recognition Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The United States Department of Education will hold a recognition ceremony for the 2023 Blue Ribbon Schools on November 16 and 17, 2023, in Washington, D.C. This ceremony will formally acknowledge the achievements of the selected schools, including Saint Philip Neri, Saint Mary Interparochial, and Saints Philip and James. It will be an opportunity for the schools to be honored on a national level and to showcase the exceptional work they have done.

Archdiocesan Schools of Distinguished Instruction

In addition to being selected as National Blue Ribbon Schools, all three schools were recently recognized by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Catholic Education as 2023 Archdiocesan Schools of Distinguished Instruction. This honor was bestowed upon 62 parish and regional elementary schools in total, reflecting the commitment to excellence in Catholic education across the Archdiocese. The award ceremony was held in early September to celebrate these schools’ exceptional achievements.


The selection of Saint Philip Neri Catholic School, Saint Mary Interparochial School, and Saints Philip and James School for the 2023 cohort of National Blue Ribbon Schools is a testament to their commitment to excellence in education. These schools have consistently demonstrated exemplary high performance and have become shining examples of what Catholic education can achieve. As they are recognized on a national level, the entire community should take pride in their achievements and continue to support the mission of Catholic education.