By Marianne Salza
Malden Catholic High School (MC) celebrated its new chapel with a dedication ceremony in honor of Brother Thomas Puccio, Director of Mission Integration, on March 19. Brother Puccio has ministered at MC for 36 years, and has been involved in all aspects of the school, from serving as Assistant Headmaster of Academics, to 26 years as the principal.
“It was a lovely ceremony,” Brother Puccio said humbly. “It was very moving for me. It was a great gathering of friends and supporters of Malden Catholic.”
A soft spoken leader, Brother Puccio is devoted to the institution and his Xaverian brothers, and participates at the school in every capacity. He photographed the recent Rolling Rally for incoming students, and prepared cheese for refreshments before a new teachers’ meeting.
“Brother’s hand is on all aspects of the school community,” exalted Senior Director of Advancement Bob McCarthy, who performed opening and closing songs during the ceremony. “The level of dedication and commitment is unmatched. We are truly blessed by his presence every day.”
Father Paul Coughlin, pastor of St. Raphael Parish, Medford, presided over the dedication and blessed the sacred space. Malden Catholic has had small, temporary chapels for the past six years as the school had been renovating and expanding to accommodate a division for girls. Now Malden Catholic has 765 students and a chapel that sits 50.
“The chapel is in the main corridor of the building, which is terrific,” described Brother Puccio. “It gives the chapel great visibility.”
Brother Puccio currently teaches two theology classes and hopes to soon bring students into the chapel for prayer and reflection.
“The chapel is a space that’s open during the day for people to drop in if they’d like to have quiet moments,” said Brother Puccio. “The Theology Department will make use of it during various liturgical seasons throughout the year. Classes can come in for the Sacrament of Penance and team blessings. It will be a comfortable space for many uses.”
Funds for the chapel were generously donated by Paul and Margaret Chisholm, major benefactors who support the school annually. Brother Puccio was serving as principal when the Chisholm’s sons attended Malden Catholic in the 1990s. They developed professional and personal relationships with Brother Puccio, and appreciated their children’s experience at the school.
“The dedication of Brother Puccio, and the benefits of a Catholic education create young men and women of character, leadership, and purpose. It’s not just academics; Catholic education is building the person,” McCarthy explained. “The Chisholms recognize and support that.”
During the ceremony, Margaret Chisholm shared her admiration and appreciation for Brother Puccio, who she believes demonstrates his Xaverian virtues with integrity every day.
“Brother Tom grounded his life in the belief that each person is unique, gifted, and loved by God. He has treated every student with endless patience and kindness, empathy and respect, and, at times, with firmness,” Chisholm reflected. “This beautiful chapel is peaceful and calming – a symbol for Brother Tom’s life of selfless service. It offers the MC community a serene place of welcome for all who seek guidance, solace, support, or encouragement.”
Brother Puccio was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in New Jersey, where he attended an Xaverian high school that began his interest in the consecrated community of laymen. Brother Puccio joined the Congregation of the Brothers of Saint Francis Xavier in 1968. When Brother Puccio is not teaching, he enjoys photography, playing guitar, and attending school athletic events.
“I try to model good behaviors,” said Brother Puccio, who has been a Xaverian brother for 53 years. “We speak of five values that are important to us as a school community: humility, simplicity, compassion, trust, and zeal. I try to live that lifestyle.”
Brother Puccio has taught English and chaired the English Department at St. John’s Preparatory School from 1972-1986. He was the recipient of the Boston Archdiocese’s Cheverus Medal for service to the church, and Malden Catholic’s Theodore James Ryken Award for commitment to gospel values. Brother Puccio has been on the Board of Trustees at St. Joseph Regional High School, St. John’s Preparatory School, Xaverian Brothers High School, and Nazareth Regional High School.
“We are all grateful for Brother Tom and what he has done for the school in many different roles, every minute of the day,” expressed Dianne James, Chief Marketing Officer. “It [the ceremony] was a perfect celebration of him, his life, and his work. It is a venue for the school to enjoy a new, sacred space.”