The following message was read at all masses in the parishes within Holy Spirit Catholic School Division during the weekend of November 8th and 9th to celebrate Catholic Education Sunday in Alberta.
Holy Spirit is a regional division that serves students in Coaldale, Lethbridge, Picture Butte, Pincher Creek, Taber, and our newest community of Bow Island. Today, we celebrate Catholic Education Sunday. Each year we set aside this special day to celebrate the gift of publicly funded Catholic Education here in the province of Alberta. As there are only three Canadian provinces that still fully provide publicly funded Catholic Education: Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, we recognize that Catholic education is precious, and something that must be nurtured and supported by our communities.
The theme chosen by the Alberta Bishops for this year’s Catholic Education Sunday is, “Sharing the Good News about our Human Nature.” In their letter, the Alberta Bishops speak of the importance of the relationship that exists between home, school and parish and how that bond impacts the education of our children. If one of the triad is not strong, our children suffer.
Our division’s faith theme for this year, “Walking Together,” highlights the importance of all partners – home, school, parish, and even the larger community – working together to proclaim our faith and assist in the spiritual, academic, social, emotional and physical development of our children. Pope Francis, in his Installation Mass, said, “I want to ask you a favour…I want to ask you to walk together, and take care of one another.”
The words of Pope Francis are a call to action for all of us. Our students; the future leaders in our churches, our schools, and our homes; require all of us to commit to taking care of them, serving as models of Christ’s love. We are a faith community, a family of believers, called to walk together. We can ill afford to work in isolation, but must be willing, in the words of Pope Francis, “…to walk in front in order to guide the community, in the middle in order to encourage and support, and at the back so that no one lags too far behind, to keep them united.”
Walking together, taking care of one another, will only strengthen our resolve and ensure that our Catholic Education system remains vibrant and continues to be world class. During this past year, Holy Spirit has been recognized as a high performing school division; one that other school divisions from across the nation are taking note of and wanting to learn more about. This can only occur when we walk together.
And so, as we celebrate Catholic Education Sunday this weekend, I would ask that you pray for the division…our students and our staff… as we journey in faith, and pray for our families and parishes as they continue to walk with us in our ministry of Catholic Education. Have a wonderful Catholic Education Sunday and God Bless!