Blueprints starts on Tuesday evening but today and tomorrow morning, Catholic senior administrators are attending our regular meeting. We always begin with mass and today we were honoured to have Bishop McGrattan celebrate the Eucharist with us. He then joined us in our meeting to give all of us a better understanding of his leadership and direction for Catholic Education. While his approaches may be categorically different from his predecessor Bishop Henry, his commitment and support of Catholic Education is similarly, unwavering.
So let’s begin with a conversation about Catholic Education as it certainly has dominated the news of late. The rhetoric of only one publicly funded system is again becoming popular. The news out of Theodore, Saskatchewan where non-Catholic students will not be funded if attending Catholic schools beginning in 2018 adds fuel to the fire. But let us not push the panic button just this yet. The Theodore case has been in the courts for 12 years and already the Saskatchewan government is arguing it. Appeals are probable and so the question of non-Catholic families needing to leave Catholic schools is premature to say the least.
But with Catholic Education under such scrutiny, merely applying the “wait and see” strategy is likely ill-advised. Lawyers will be involved, so let them handle the legal dilemma and quite honestly we need to let the politicians deal in that arena. Our role, for those of us in the system, is simply to do what we should be doing all the time- offering the highest quality of Catholic Education in our schools each and every day! Demonstrate our uniqueness! Showcase how our faith is permeated in all that we do! Find the face of Christ in every child we serve, and in every parent and adult we meet. Be proud of how Catholic schools are fabrics of our communities and how all of us in Catholic Education play a part in God’s plan. This is not a wait and see approach but rather an intentional practice to solidify not just our constitutional right but more importantly our responsibility to the children entrusted to our care. If there is ever a time for our Catholic community to come together, it is now!
I’ve served in Catholic Education since I began my career in 1985 and there has always been a perceived threat. Maybe this threat is the same as always or maybe it is more intense. Regardless, all of us in Catholic Education, regardless of denomination need to be prepared to stand up if required. I’ve long argued that Alberta has one of the best education systems in the world in part because of publicly funded school choice and because of that, it is worth protecting!
Enjoy some spring weather and have a great May!