Students of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School in Ashland decorated envelopes for a Christmas display requesting donations to help the school meet a significant budget shortfall. (Submitted photo)

For 140 years, “God bless you” is a short and powerful prayer that has been uttered countless times at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School in Ashland. In a letter penned by Fr. Jerome D’Souza, parochial administrator for the Ashland cluster of parishes, the priest requests that those who have been blessed by the school consider returning that blessing.

In announcements made through the letter and on the school’s website and social media pages, the school is facing a critical budget shortfall. Fr. D’Souza states that the total amount needed was $200,000, with only $50,000 remaining to come up with.

The priest writes, “If we are to keep our school in its current format of preschool through eighth grade, we need help for this year and into the future.”

He also encourages parents of current students to “enroll their children for the upcoming school year promptly and contact your friends who might want to enroll. Let them know what you love about OLL School.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is cited as the primary reason for the reason for the budget crunch.

Information on how to donate can be found at or their Facebook page – Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School. Checks can also be mailed to the school, Attn: School Deficit Fund, 215 Lake Shore Drive East, Ashland, WI 54806.