Opening Address to Staff

Good morning everyone and welcome back. Before I begin my opening comments, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire staff of Ecole St. Mary, Dan, and Lise for organizing our opening mass today, to the administration and staff of CCH for always being so welcoming to us and a big shout out to our music ministry. Thank you to Joann Bartley, our Director of Religious Education for her leadership of this day. And finally, a special thanks to Bishop Henry for leading our Eucharistic Celebration and to all our clergy and religious for attending and sharing in our day.

On Monday, we met as a Learning Leadership Team and I provided my opening presentation that spoke of our three goals and the need to be focused in our work. I’ve provided my presentation to our LLT and they have the ability to share it, all or in part with their own staffs. Like last year’s address, I will focus on our faith component and leave the education comments to our administrators and through my monthly blog posts.

I want to begin with a quote that I read yesterday from Fr. Richard Rohr: “We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.” Let me repeat that once more. “We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.” Whether we want to call it our job, our work, our vocation, bringing the awareness of the presence of God to our students is what we do. In that one quote, is the essence of our work in Catholic education, in Holy Spirit Catholic Schools. This is why we exist as a separate school division; it is what makes us unique and different. Bringing that awareness requires us to be passionate about our faith understanding that our first priority must be God. Education prepares for future society and society can ill afford to have more people who are apathetic to the presence of God in the world and concerned more about personal success and wealth. Be passionate and committed to the right priority, which is faith.

This year we begin our new 3-Year Faith Plan, GIFT Growing In Faith Together. It was developed in a collaborative environment which involved staff, students, clergy, trustees and community. It builds on our previous faith plans but challenges us even more to find hope in others and recognize it in ourselves.

St. Paul tells us that hope has a name. Hope is Jesus and he renews everything. But we also know that in order to have hope we must have a relationship with Christ. Our relationship with Christ begins with increasing our knowledge of the spiritual and social teachings of Jesus. Our Year 1 theme, Rooted in Christ invites all of us to explore the Gospels to get to know Jesus and bring awareness of the presence of God into our own lives and the lives of our students.

Working in a Catholic education system is a great honor but it also comes with great responsibility. Each day, remind yourself of the honor and responsibility you carry into every interaction with your students, the parents, guardians and caregivers, and each other. Be passionate about your faith in order to bring that awareness to our students. You carry a torch- pass it on to bring a bright light of hope to all.

May God bless you in your work this year and on behalf of myself and all the children you will bring awareness to, I offer sincere thanks. God Bless & Thank You!

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