Two Seniors Awarded the Bishop Romeo Blanchette Award

Two seniors at Providence Catholic High School were awarded the Bishop Romeo Blanchette Award at graduation. This award was established in memory of Bishop Romeo Blanchette and all he did to help Providence prosper in the 1960s and 1970s. It recognizes a young man and young woman of the senior class who model in an exceptional way the message of Jesus Christ.

This year’s recipients are Meara Barry (New Lenox) and Ryan Gade (Monee).

“While Providence opened on its present site in 1962, by 1969 it was in grave financial difficulty,” explains Father John Merkelis, President of Providence Catholic High School. “The Bishop of the Diocese of Joliet, Romeo Blanchette, boldly followed the spirit of God and rejected the Diocesan Board of Education’s unanimous recommendation to close Providence. A man of vision, he wanted a Catholic high school to meet the needs of the Catholic population on the east side of Joliet. Because of his foresight, courage, and pastoral concern, we add the Class of 2023 to the heritage and history that is Providence Catholic.”

Bishop Blanchette was seriously ill for the last three years of his life, and he offered up his suffering for the people of the Diocese. His deep love of God and God’s people was inspiring, and it is kept alive in the spirituality of the Providence Family.

“Meara Barry is a Sacristan, Eucharistic Minister, and Kairos leader. She is kind, genuine, and a friend to everyone, always willing to volunteer to help,” says Annie Persicketti, Assistant Director of the Pastoral Office at Providence Catholic. “Ryan Gade is a Sacristan, Eucharistic Minister, and Kairos leader as well. He is compassionate, caring, thoughtful and truly lives out his faith.”

To learn more about faith and spirituality at Providence Catholic High School, visit us online at


Photos courtesy of Burns Photography.

About Providence Catholic

Providence Catholic is a co-educational, college preparatory high school, based in the Augustinian tradition. It is located on 75 acres in New Lenox, Illinois. A dedicated and caring faculty and staff integrate the core Augustinian values of truth, unity, and love into all dimensions of student life. A demanding curriculum, inclusive service programs, competitive athletics, and comprehensive extracurricular offerings challenge students in a safe and nurturing environment. Our proven success is reflected in our most recent graduates who’ve earned scholarships valued at nearly $52 million dollars. In addition, Providence Catholic has 31 state championship titles. For more information about PCHS, please visit



Allie Rios
Director of Communications at Providence Catholic High School
(815) 717-3163

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