In 1998, after 142 years of operation, it appeared that the long history of St. Bonaventure’s College was coming to an end. After a referendum ended denominational education, and thus Catholic education, in the Newfoundland and Labrador public school system, St. Bonaventure’s College was slated to closed. A group of parents and community members, who still wanted Catholic education to be accessible for students in St. John’s, began plans for opening an independent Jesuit, Catholic school. After many meetings, and a lot of volunteer hours to prepare the school for opening, St. Bonaventure’s College reopened on September 7, 1999. During our opening mass on September 5th, we celebrated our 20th Anniversary as a Jesuit school and held a reception after the mass for guests.
For our opening mass, on September 5th, we celebrated the last 20 years in St. Bonaventure’s College long history. Archbishop Peter Hundt celebrated the mass. Father Smith, Father Browne and Father Schuck from the St. John’s Jesuit community co-celebrated. We were also happy to have Jesuits of Canada Provincial, Fr. Eric Oland, and retired Archbishop, Martin Currie as co-celebrants. There were some special touches added to the mass to celebrate the 20th Anniversary. Ms. Coffin, who was part of the first teaching staff in 1999, participated as a reader, and the Baustista Family, who brought up the gifts in our first opening mass, brought up the gifts in this mass as well. A reception followed the mass where guests reminisced about the last 20 years.