Ontario’s Catholic schools are both greenhouses for nurturing the faith and battlegrounds where all the problems of modern culture find a way to defy teachers and students. Despite all their challenges, for Catholics in this province they remain that pearl of great price.
It is worth remembering that as we celebrate Catholic Education Week, May 1-6, in Ontario. The theme this year is “Catholic Education: Opening Doors of Mercy,” dovetailing neatly with Pope Francis’ call for a Jubilee Year of Mercy.
During this week, Catholic schools hold open houses, special events and demonstrations to show how the faith continues to permeate all they do. All of us should take a moment to educate ourselves a little about their continuing importance to the faith community in Ontario’s largest province.
For more information on the week’s events go to the web site http://www.ocsta.on.ca/resources/catholic-education-week-resources/.
While Catholic parents in other provinces without Catholic schools struggle to find ways to pass on the faith to their children, Ontario (and Saskatchewan and Alberta) are blessed with publicly funded systems that allow children to be taught religion. And though they continue to be under attack from those who see no reason for a society to publicly support faith-based education, for the most part they remain well supported by the population.
At Novalis, Catholic schools occupy much of our thought and creativity. We continue to publish supplemental resources for religious instruction. In recent years we have also published a number of books for faith formation for teachers, knowing that even adults need to continue to nurture their faith if they are to be models for the students. Last year, we initiated a partnership with the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario to develop resources for leadership.
We have also increased our involvement in professional development for Catholic teachers, especially as sponsors for When Faith Meets Pedagogy in October and its counterpart conference in Eastern Ontario. Through such partnerships we have come to know more about the needs of the schools and develop new relationships with professionals who wish to become authors.
So may God bless our Catholic schools. Allow me to finish with the official prayer for Catholic Education Week:
God of Love and compassion,
help us to open the door of mercy in our school communities,
in our families and in the world.
Let mercy guide our living and bring us closer to the heart of the gospel.
May we live as Jesus with mercy that welcomes, loves, forgives
and calls us to live the gospel joyfully. Amen.
Joseph Sinasac –Publishing Director