When the Most Rev. Peter L. Ireton, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, decided to open a new all-male Catholic high school in Alexandria, he asked the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales to staff it. The Oblates agreed, and a rich, shared history was created. Oblate priests and brothers both worked and lived at Bishop Ireton, and their dedication to the school made a significant impact on the community. In 1974, Bishop Ireton became a part of the newly created Diocese of Arlington and 16 years later became co-educational when St. Mary's Academy
closed its doors in 1990. In 2008, the sole remaining Oblate – Fr. Matthew Hillyard, OSFS – was transferred, and Bishop Ireton became an Oblate Affiliated School.
The first lay principal, Mr. Timothy Hamer, along with teachers and staff, formed the Salesian Discipleship Team. Comprised of administrators, teachers, alumni, parents, and students, the team forged a new relationship with the Oblates. They also wrote the Live Jesus Charter as a guide to maintaining the charism of the Oblates at Bishop Ireton.Salesian Activities
- Maintain an ongoing relationship with the Oblates – invite them to various events included Masses, reconciliation services, alumni events, and graduation
- Award the Salesian Medal to faculty and students
- Send students to DeSales Service Works in Camden, New Jersey for service retreats each year
- Send students to Salesian Leadership Camp in Michigan and to Annecy, France during the summer
- Support the Oblates through dress-out-days and the annual Golf Classic