The following message was read by trustees and administrators at all masses in parishes linked to Holy Spirit Catholic School Division. In addition, I’m including a short video message providing a supplementary statement from the Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
Holy Spirit Catholic School Division is a regional division that serves students in Bow Island, Coaldale, Lethbridge, Picture Butte, Pincher Creek, Taber, and surrounding communities. Today we celebrate Catholic Education Sunday, a special day that recognizes the gift of publicly funded Catholic Education in the province of Alberta.
Over the last number of years this annual message has highlighted the threat to publicly funded Catholic Education. That threat continues and, in fact, has intensified this past year. However, our message this year is not going to focus on fear, but rather on celebration and hope.
We celebrate Catholic Education because it stands for what is good in our world. It stands for the truth and is not seduced by secular thinking. It recognizes that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. In the words of Pope Francis, “All human persons, all of us, are important in God’s eyes.” Our faith tells us that God loves us unconditionally even though He knows we will sin tomorrow. The gift of Catholic Education is that it provides our students and families strength to wrestle with and combat against a world that wants to force God out of all things.
Our focus for year two of our faith plan is “Growing in Spirit.” We are called to deepen our experience with prayer. It is not enough to know about Jesus, we must know Jesus personally. Through the lens of truth, Jesus puts everything in its proper place, bringing order to every aspect of life, and thereby demonstrating the true value of things. We must allow God to put our lives in order. Catholic Education, in partnership with home, school, and parish, calls each one of us to know Jesus and to seek holiness. There is great beauty when, through that partnership, we become who God created us to be.
St. Paul tells us that hope has a name. Hope is Jesus. We have hope in Jesus, a person who is alive, that lives in the Eucharist, that is present in His word. Jesus gives us life. We are rooted in Him. It is that message of hope that we wish to carry into our schools and classrooms everyday.
We stand committed to offering high quality Catholic Education to over 5000 students in our care. We celebrate our educational and accountability results and, most importantly, we provide hope, in the name of Jesus, in all that we do. There will always be forces, both internal and external, that will challenge our existence. But we continue to be strong and continue to be relevant in our world today!
Please keep praying for all involved in Catholic Education as we strive to make a difference in the lives of our students through knowing Jesus. Have a wonderful Catholic Education Sunday and God Bless!