Catholic Education Week is celebrated annually in our province. This year it is being held from May 10th to May 14thin and the theme is, “Those who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength” from the Book of Isaiah (40:31). It is during this week that we recognize the critical role that Catholic schools play in providing a publicly funded faith-based education to Alberta students.
Like residents in Ontario and Saskatchewan, Alberta’s families have the constitutional right to choose a publicly funded Catholic education for their children. Today, more than 180,000 Alberta students are blessed to be educated in Catholic schools. Catholic education remains revolutionary on both individual and societal levels, and strong as a result of the support and participation of our families and communities. Choose it for you. Choose it for the world.
Catholic education endeavours to achieve many goals, among them being to provide students with personal and social spiritual formation while fostering high academic achievement. It invites our youth to see each other, and all those around them, as their sisters and brothers in Christ. The unity resulting from this common lens calls all students to respond to those in need. This outlook of compassion helps young people to search for the common good and to bring Christ’s love and hope to others, locally and globally.
To guide and instruct our direction as a faith community, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division creates an overarching Three-Year Faith Plan. Not that anyone would have anticipated this worldly context when the current Three-Year Faith Plan was developed and written a few years ago, but our theme for this year, Transformed by the Journey, could not have been more fitting and appropriately identified. This past year has caused each of us to be transformed in our own faith journey, while simultaneously calling us to be grateful and gracious in all that we do. It is often during times of challenge that we are forced to be mindful of the many blessings and graces that have been given to us unconditionally. As a result, among many things, it demands that we:
- provide opportunities to creatively engage our learners,
- examine our instructional practices, and
- find new and innovative ways to collaborate with colleagues.
As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, stated in August of last year, “The pandemic has given us a chance to develop new ways of living.” How about that for a profound, yet simplified, statement of purpose? We will not be returning to the days of old, or to what has become known as a hopeful restoration to a ‘NEW-NORMAL’ — for many things will never be the same. We need to continue to look for opportunities in this ‘NEW-NOW’ environment. There are certainly challenges ahead on many levels, but equally there are many golden opportunities waiting to be explored. Let us graciously embrace them with a grateful heart and, in doing so, never cease to see the face of Christ in everyone we meet.
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