The following message will be read at all masses this coming weekend in recognition and celebration of Catholic Education.
Holy Spirit 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 here in the province of Alberta.
Our Alberta Bishops have provided the theme for this Catholic Education Sunday as, “Rejoice and Be Glad,” and have linked their letter directly from the writings of Pope Francis. His Holiness acknowledges that Catholic schools play a critical role in helping children know Christ. For some of our students, their Catholic schools are an extension of the Church. But for many, their Catholic School is their only church. This may seem like a sad statement but it highlights the importance of Catholic schools in assisting students in their own faith journey.
While education quality, school improvement, program of studies and academics must always be part of a strong publicly funded education system, it is our division’s first goal that makes us unique: “Staff and students will grow in their faith and experience the richness of Catholic Education.” This is where our schools respond to the words of Pope Francis and nurture the call to holiness for our children and youth.
Holy Spirit is currently in the last year of our three year faith plan. Our year one theme, “Rooted in Christ,” called our staff and students to read and reflect on the weekly Gospels and increase the permeation of scripture into the program of studies, school programs and activities. In year 2, “Growing in Spirit,” we were called to know Jesus even better through scripture and to deepen our experience in prayer. Our faith theme for this year is, “Sharing our Bounty,” and it is one of gratitude. Pope Francis says, “Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, of acting, of living! It is possible to live differently in this world.” Schools will focus on the giving of their time, talents and treasures to the greater community since we understand that we serve God when we serve others.
What a wonderful gift Catholic Education provides for our staff, students, families and communities. Sadly, the threats to publicly funded Catholic Education continue to intensify. The Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta has recently begun a campaign that would see the amalgamation of public and Catholic school divisions into one. Some governments have called Catholic Education archaic and the secular world continues to see no value in faith based education or parental choice. This is not acceptable!
In today’s bulletin you will find an insert that showcases our school division’s work to bring Christ into the lives of our students and promote the richness of Catholic Education. You will also find information on GrACE, which is an advocacy group for Catholic Education. Please read these inserts and become involved in supporting the continuation of publicly funded Catholic Education in this province.
In years past we’ve always asked for your prayers for all those involved in Catholic Education. But today, we also ask for your vigilance in standing up and informing those around you of the importance of Catholic Education. Let us not lose the gift of Catholic Education because of external forces or apathy, but rather be committed to passionately supporting a system that places Christ, the witness of faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church at the center of all that we do! Have a wonderful Catholic Education Sunday and God Bless!