Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario are the only three provinces remaining in Canada that still offer publicly funded Catholic education. If you are a new Canadian, or maybe just new to Alberta, your experience of Catholic education has probably been that it is not very accessible to the general Catholic population because it is private and involves high tuition costs. So, I’m sure you can appreciate what a gift we have here; a gift that often is either not known about or simply taken for granted.
In last year’s message, we asked all parishioners and all those connected to our Catholic schools to be aware of the modern Catholic school and to be more vigilant in their support of publicly funded Catholic education. In the bulletin, you will read the Alberta Bishops’ commitment to Catholic education and the work of GrACE, Grateful Advocates for Catholic Education, a provincial grassroots initiative that calls for proactive advocacy and engagement. Please speak to any of our trustees to learn more about our own GrACE group here in Holy Spirit.
This year, staff and students have begun the implementation of our new 3-Year faith plan entitled, “Making Our Mark: Journey of an Intentional Disciple.” Intentionality is a lost skill in today’s world but we are called, not to be passive people, but rather intentional disciples. We have been asked to make our mark, not through superficial means, but to truly live the life God imagined for us. Catholic education is not about a series of activities or events, but rather is about a way of life that transforms us to intentional discipleship.
Year 1, Beginning the Journey, has a faith focus on seeing God’s presence and being in relationship with Him. Our calls to action are to be mindful of God’s presence and to be prayerful. In this secular world that we live in, it is important for our students to always be recognizing the presence of God in their own lives. We want to help our students learn to trust God, be mindful of the gifts God has provided to each of us and create holy moments in our lives.
We also want to develop a prayerful sense in our students, where they feel welcome to talk to God, listen to God and sometimes just rest in His presence. Time for prayer, personal or communal, cannot be lost in our fast paced world, but without that experience in our Catholic schools, many students will grow up and not ever know the power of being prayerful.
This is Catholic education and specifically Catholic education in Holy Spirit. It is hard work to be counter cultural, but it is the right work. Our youth, the students in our schools, deserve an education that speaks not only to the head but the heart and soul too!
On this Catholic Education Sunday, we ask that you help our staff, students and schools as they become more intentional disciples through your prayers and petitions. Much strength will be felt by our schools in knowing that you, our parishioners, will be praying for our staff and students each and every day. May God bless you and have a wonderful Catholic Education Sunday!