Serving Holy Spirit Catholic School Division as Superintendent of Schools, we are a regional division that serves students in Bow Island, Coaldale, Lethbridge, Picture Butte, Pincher Creek, Taber, and surrounding communities.
Catholic Education Sunday, traditionally acknowledged in early November, is an annual event that celebrates the importance of the truly remarkable gift of publicly funded Catholic Education. Alberta is only one of three remaining provinces in Canada which offers a Catholic education that is publicly funded. Our Catholic schools provide engaging educational learning opportunities for our students with a curriculum that is permeated by our Catholic faith. Each year, more than 180,000 students are blessed with the opportunity to be educated in our Catholic schools, where our faith is passed on to our students.
This year’s theme is grounded in scripture – Isaiah 40:31 where we learn that, “Those who hope in the LORD shall renew their strength.” Hope is a very impactful virtue. In the Alberta Bishops’ Pastoral Statement of the Impact of COVID-19 and the Call to Christian Renewal, this time is described as a “time for bold creativity and life-giving transformation for all.” In the context of our current pandemic, Catholic philosophies and practices offer students and staff hope, comfort and safety. There has never been a greater need to evangelize than now and Catholic education does that very thing.
Currently, Holy Spirit Catholic Schools has moved into year two of our Three Year Faith Plan – Making our Mark – the Journey of an Intentional Disciple. This year’s theme, Transformed by the Journey, draws our attention to our calls to action of being grateful and being gracious. While on this journey, our faith focus is to use the many gifts that God has bestowed upon us and to see the face of Christ in everyone. In the very context of our current reality, we have so much for which to be grateful and more so than ever before, we must be gracious towards each other. This creates and sustains the hope we each have.
Jesus is the author of our hope and He writes it in humility, kindness, poverty, forgiveness and compassion. He writes it in His Way, in the example He sets for us to follow. We grow in hopefulness when we follow Him, through discipleship. What the world needs now is hope. It is impossible not to have hope when you view the world from the Catholic perspective. Catholic Education is more relevant today than ever before because it offers the hope with which we need to be strengthened, as well as to live to sustain and improve our world. As noted by Pope Benedict in his encyclical in 2007, people who live in hope live differently.
On this Catholic Education Sunday, I ask for your continued prayers so that our students are energized with hope and become stronger intentional disciples of Jesus. Thanks to your prayers and support, millions of people learn about and appreciate the value of Catholic education, which is an evangelizer of the teaching of the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Thank you for being part of our family. Happy Catholic Education Sunday and may God continue to bless each and every one of you.