Message for Catholic Education Week
For over 170 years, Catholic schools in Ontario have been educating students in “mind, body and spirit.” Today, Catholic schools in Ontario educate over 600,000 students in 37 school boards which employ approximately 60,000 teachers and staff. Catholic Education Week gives us an opportunity to consider the past, present and future our educational system.
This year’s theme, “Walking Forward Together” is based on a scripture passage from the Book of the Prophet Micah: “Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God” (6:8). This passage allows us to acknowledge “the important role of justice and solidarity with our Indigenous peoples, our environment, the poor and marginalized, and all those who work to protect our common global future” (Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association).
The five sub-themes for each day of Catholic Education Week are:
- Walking Forward Together with God;
- Walking Forward Together with Our Families;
- Walking Forward Together with Others;
- Walking Forward Together with Creation;
- and Walking Forward Together in Hope.
Our Catholic school system is grounded in the conviction that an encounter with the risen Christ makes it possible for us to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Like the wise men in scripture who, after their encounter with the Christ Child, returned home “by another road” (Matthew 12:12), we too are challenged in faith to walk in a distinct and different way.
When there is such pressure to walk in godlessness, individualism, unbridled consumerism, and indifference, how important it is for us to discover and learn a distinct way of walking – of walking forward together in faith, in solidarity, courage and compassion. Jesus Christ can change the course of life. This is the heart of what we celebrate.
Fr. Terry Sawchuk