MISSION STATEMENT The mission of Saint Matthias Catholic Academy in Ridgewood, Queens, is to empower our students, through formal education, to reach the fullness of their potential as children made in God’s image, and to encourage them to direct their talents toward the building of a more just society.
OUR PHILOSOPHY Saint Matthias Catholic Academy, recognizing Jesus as the “Master Teacher”, bases its philosophy on the Gospel message. As a school community we strive to further develop our Catholic identity by recognizing each child entrusted to us as a unique gift from God. Providing an environment filled with love and understanding, which is consistent with the educational mission of the Church, we impart the Good News of salvation proclaimed by Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
The religious nature of St. Matthias Catholic Academy can be identified by these four components – WORD, WORSHIP, COMMUNITY, and SERVICE. We strive to assist the students in their relationship with Jesus by teaching Scripture and by instilling Christian moral values and beliefs in the way we live our lives. We celebrate the relationship between God and the St. Matthias Catholic Academy community through daily experiences in prayer, monthly liturgies, weekly paraliturgies, and preparation for the sacraments.
The school community of St. Matthias provides a loving and caring environment in which families from diverse cultures can grow in their love of Christ and each other without discrimination in our administration policies or educational programs. The St. Matthias faculty believes service is sharing of time, resources, and energy for God and community. We enable, encourage, and challenge our students to serve as Jesus did.
We commit ourselves to academic excellence, which fosters the intellectual development of faculty and students. Rooted in our faith we enable our students to live out their Christian values in an ever-changing world.
St. Matthias Church and St. Matthias Catholic Academy occupies land that was once part of the Meyerose farm, purchased by Jacob Meyerose in 1856. In its early history, the school shared a common building with the church, eventually becoming home to the school alone.
On October 4, 1909, St. Matthias School opened its door to 150 students and 4 teachers, one of whom was Father Nicholas Wagner, the church’s first pastor. On August 29, 1910 four members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame arrived, beginning a rich tradition of Catholic education, which has continued through to the present time. By the end of 1922, 900 children were enrolled in the school. In 1966, a building addition created five additional class rooms.
St. Matthias School transitioned to an Academy as of September 1, 2017. Today, St. Matthias continues its mission to provide an academically challenging environment to students in Grades Pre-K through 8. Our more than 7,000 graduates are testimony to the school’s success and commitment to academic excellence.
Saint Matthias Catholic Academy owes its excellent reputation to the dedication, commitment, and vision of the following individuals, who have shepherded the school’s faculty and students for decades.
1910 – 1911 Sister Simplicia Kimer
1911 – 1917 Sister Gallus Schnerettgen
1917 – 1919 Sister Asteria Rau
1919 – 1933 Sister Mary Alcantara Dietrich
1933 – 1935 Sister Mary Canice
1935 – 1937 Sister Mary Alphius
1937 – 1942 Sister Mary Anna
1942 – 1948 Sister Mary Alphonsa
1948 – 1954 Sister Mary Rosanna
1954 – 1955 Sister Mary Francis
1955 – 1961 Sister Mary Theodoric Becker
1961 – 1964 Sister Mary Mercedes
1964 – 1969 Sister Jeromita
1969 – 1970 Sister Marie Anna Moltz
1970 – 1977 Sister Anthony Mary Cillo
1977 – 1981 Sister Mariano Pardo
1981 – 1987 Sister Ruth Stahl
1987 – 2000 Sister Serafine Della Croce
2000 – 2019 Miss Barbara Wehnes
2019 – 2021 Ms. Maria Cuomo
2021– present Mr. Neil Gering
OUR PATRON SAINT
St. Matthias was a long-time disciple of Jesus, having been with Him from the time of His Baptism, and witness to His Resurrection. After Jesus ascended into heaven, Peter announced the necessity of choosing a new Apostle to fill the position held by the traitor, Judas Iscariot. Matthias and another long-time disciple, Barsabbas, were proposed. When lots were drawn, Matthias was selected. Matthias was a traveling Apostle, visiting many distant places to preach God’s Word. Although he was martyred, as were the other Apostles, the exact method of martyrdom is not certain. Some sources indicate that he was crucified, while others claim that he was beheaded. It is believed that some of his relics rest in Rome; others may be in a German church, which bears his name.
The feast day of St. Matthias is celebrated on May 14th. This date was chosen because it is between the feasts of Pentecost and Christ’s Ascension, and coincides with the time-period of Matthias’ selection as an Apostle. The story of St. Matthias focuses on the theme of election. It is a reminder that God chooses us to be modern apostles, to receive and proclaim the apostolic faith in our daily lives.
In the early 1900’s, in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, it was the plan of Bishop Charles McDonnell to name a church after each Apostle. When construction of a church in the community of Ridgewood was planned, the name of St. Matthias was selected.
Acts of the Apostles 1:12-26
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
15 During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said, 16 "My brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry.
18 He bought a parcel of land with the wages of his iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all his insides spilled out. [a] 19 This became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem, so that the parcel of land was called in their language ‘Akeldama,’ that is, Field of Blood.
20 For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
‘Let his encampment become desolate.
May no one dwell in it.’
‘May another take his office.’
21 Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection." 23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place." 26 [b] Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles.
a Luke records a popular tradition about the death of Judas that differs from the one in Matthew 27:5, according to which Judas hanged himself. Here, although the text is not certain, Judas is depicted as purchasing a piece of property with the betrayal money and being killed on it in a fall.
b The need to replace Judas was probably dictated by the symbolism of the number twelve, recalling the twelve tribes of Israel. This symbolism also indicates that for Luke (see Luke 22:30) the Christian church is a reconstituted Israel.
Image of Saint Matthias the Apostle is public domain. The image was found online at Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church of Picayune, MS and we thank them for allowing us to copy the image from their website. The St. Charles Borromeo site also offers a Second Edition English Translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church free online.
Acts of the Apostles republished with permission of the New American Bible, Copyright © 1991, 1986, 1970, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. All rights reserved.
On May 2, 1908, Bishop Charles E. McDonnell of the Diocese of Brooklyn, desiring to establish a new Roman Catholic parish for the faithful in the Evergreen and Ridgewood sections of Long Island, appointed Reverend Nicholas M. Wagner as the first Pastor of St. Matthias R.C. Church. Holy Mass was offered within the parish boundaries for the first time on Sunday, August 30, 1908 at a nearby restaurant on the grounds then known as Ridgewood Park, which would today be the vicinity of Myrtle and Seneca Avenue, The very next week Father Wagner negotiated the purchase of twenty lots on Elm Avenue (now Catalpa Avenue) from the Meyerose Estate. Ground was broken on the new property the following March 19 for a building that was to house the first Church and School of St. Matthias. The combination building was subsequently developed into what is now St. Matthias School.
At the conclusion of World War I, in the Spring of 1918, ground was broken for a new church building and the first phase, a basement church, was completed in August of 1919. The next few years were spent raising funds for the construction of the current superstructure, and the cornerstone of the current St. Matthias Church building was laid on October 5, 1924.
The intent was to build a church that would accommodate the spiritual needs of the growing parish, and like many churches throughout history, the building was designed to teach the faith through visual story-telling using murals, shrines and stained glass windows to depict various Catholic themes and imagery. Not only educational, it was also intended to offer historic value to future generations. The resulting structure, an Italian Renaissance Revival masterpiece, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012, and is an important part of the Ridgewood South Historic District of New York City.