The following message will be read at all parishes within the boundary of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division. during the weekend of November 5 and 6 to celebrate Catholic Education Sunday!
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.
Many of us sitting in the pews today probably think that Catholic Education has changed dramatically since we attended a Catholic School – and there’s some truth to that. We don’t have priests and nuns teaching in our schools anymore, not all of our students are Catholic, and many of our students and their families don’t attend Mass on a regular basis. And while that may be frightening or alarming to some, it is important to remember that the essence of Catholic Education has not changed. We are still an integral part of the Church, called to minister and evangelize, to spread and deepen our faith, and to develop our students to become the best versions of themselves. Our methods or structures may have evolved, but our lead has and will always come from Jesus, himself!
With this in mind, the first theme of our three year faith plan, Growing In Faith Together, is “Rooted in Christ.” Pope Francis invites, “all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them.” To aid this call to action, the schools across our division have committed to:
- Reading and pondering the Gospels, especially prior to each Sunday
- Increasing the permeation of the Gospel in our program of studies, our school activities, our community messaging, and in all that we do.
Catholic Education will likely continue to be a target from outside forces advocating for the elimination of Catholic schools and internal forces of apathy. But in Holy Spirit, Catholic Education continues to grow and prosper. This year we opened a brand new elementary school in north Lethbridge, St. Teresa of Calcutta; we are in the final year of a major renovation at St. Michael’s in Pincher Creek; and we are in the design phase of a modernization project at St. Patrick’s in Taber. During the last five years our student population has grown by roughly 500, nearly 12%, to a total of over 5000 students.
Even with our strength, it is imperative that we recognize the gift of Catholic Education in our area and in our province and continually pray for our staff and students, our families and communities, who flourish in a system that is faith filled and committed to letting the words and actions of Jesus shape and form ourselves and our ways!
Have a wonderful Catholic Education Sunday and God Bless!