Good afternoon everyone and welcome back. What a great start to the day with David Wells and I hope you are enjoying our combined Spiritual Development Day and opening celebration. Before I begin my opening comments, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire staff of Children of St. Martha, Kelsey, Kim and Lynn Saler who did much prep work this summer for their work on organizing today. Also, a big thank you to Joann Bartley, our new Director of Religious Education who ensured all the pieces of the day fit well and of course in the background, Sheri Schwark who just knows how to put things together like videos and inserts. I would also like to thank Chris Hartman and the entire music ministry. Finally, to Fr. Kevin who will be leading our Eucharistic Celebration later this afternoon and to all of our clergy for attending and sharing in our day today.
Amazingly, this is my 5th superintendent address at our opening day and each year I struggle with what I want to say and the message that I want to leave you with. This year I want to talk about the 3 keys to success as espoused by Seth Godin, one of my new favorite authors. In his short video, Godin says that the 3 keys are: patience, bravery and generosity. I also believe that each of these keys speaks to our three year faith plan as we Take Our Place at the Table.
Godin says in patience, that the shortest way to get to where you’re going is to take the long road. They say that patience is a virtue and it is one that we must model for our students, our colleagues and our community. The work in education is very hard and I’ve learned that change is seemingly on someone’s else’s timetable and rarely on your own. Patience reminds us that learning is a journey and not a destination, it is not linear but rather dynamic and it is not about just today but the many tomorrows that lie ahead of us.
Godin’s second key to success is that of bravery. In my mind it is better defined as courage or grit. The road less travelled is the road that we must continue to embark upon in our Division. Maintaining the status quo is the easiest path we can take but it takes great courage to step out of our comfort zones and face the path of greatest resistance in not only the education that we offer but more importantly the faith that we believe in. Our world has become far too secular and preaching, evangelizing and otherwise promoting Christian values is not popular. We must be brave and courageous to stand up against secular values that don’t hold faith at its core. As Jesus stood up against the Pharisees and said this is wrong, we too must be willing to stand up and reject the unjust attitudes and practices that surround us each and every day.
And finally, Godin talks about the need for generosity as a pre-condition to be successful. It is not what is good for me but rather what is good for the community. This is about being unselfish and looking at the greater good as opposed to our individual wants. We always shine in this area every year in our Division and I’m asking for your generosity again this year in supporting the schools in High River that were devastated by the flooding. In conversations with both superintendents and some staff living in the area, it is hard to imagine the devastation in that community and how so many are experiencing great losses and how grateful they are with our collection! Please be generous so that we as a faith community can show our support for those who are far less fortunate than us today.
As I enter my 5th year as Superintendent, I have been witness to the patience, bravery and generosity of our Division. I am proud and more importantly I feel blessed to be the leader of this excellent division. We continue to make great strides in the learning process and better meet the needs of all students. This excellence does not come from my leadership but rather it comes from the work of each and every one of you. For the work that you do with our students, our families, our community and with each other, I thank you. May God bless you this school year and May God continue to lead us in our journey with patience, bravery and generosity! Thank you and have a wonderful remainder of the day and best of luck this school year. God Bless!