Catholic Culture Updates

Renewing the Promise - A Pastoral Letter

Religious Education

Hope, Gratitude and Solidarity

This message is also part of a 10-page PDF.

A Message to Canadians from Religious Leaders in Canada in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Canadians are experiencing the devastating impact of COVID-19 in what has become a rapidly evolving crisis.

Understandably, this crisis has brought about feelings of anxiety, apprehension and fear. Critical elements of our daily lives are being thrown into uncertainty: health, employment, financial security, recreational activities, as well as our ability to gather as worshiping communities.

In view of these difficulties, we as religious leaders wish to bring forward a message of hope, gratitude and solidarity to all people who call Canada home.

In spite of present sufferings, which can seem overwhelming at times, the flames of hope cannot be extinguished.
Let us witness hope to each other and so become beacons of light during these uncertain times.

A Message of Hope

We draw hope from a variety of sources: from our religious beliefs, the love of our families, the rela- tionships with friends and the work we do. Each of these, and others as well, provides rays of hope to our daily lives.

Likewise, hope provides cour- age to face the burdens we bear and the ability to look onwards toward the dawning of a new day. In spite of present sufferings, which can seem overwhelming at times, the flames of hope cannot be extinguished.

Love, which gives life its fullest meaning, continues to seek out the common good in spite of individual difficulties. Acts of kindness can bring us closer in spirit, despite the require- ments of physical distancing.

Let us witness hope to each other and so become beacons of light dur- ing these uncertain times.

Canada has gone through several difficult and painful experiences in its history. When current and former generations have responded to these challenges, many were empowered by unwaver- ing hope as well as human and spiritual resilience.

We draw hope from a variety of sources: from our religious beliefs, the love of our families, the relationships with friends and the work we do. Each of these, and others as well, provides rays of hope to our daily lives.

For religious believers, this hope takes on a special and unique dimension. It assures us of the caring embrace of the Creator, a sacred relationship sustained by prayer, and which flows into our human relationships whereby we care for one another and bear each other’s burden. Yet, hope brings for everyone a promise of renewal, even in the midst of human suffering. Hope assures us that this affliction too shall pass.

A Message of Gratitude

During this time of crisis, we as religious leaders wish to offer words of appreciation and grati- tude. Health care professionals are providing unfailing and dedicated service under stressful and difficult circumstances.

They provide for us a powerful witness of care, expertise and service in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is also the increased risk of exposure to infec- tion along with other hardships being experi- enced by so many others.

For instance, while the rest of society rightly heeds the precautions of physical distancing, many remain at work in grocery stores, pharmacies and factories.

Students, the middle-aged, and those close to retirement are fulfilling a variety of essential front-line jobs in the supply chain, ensuring that stores remain open, shelves remain stocked, and goods are delivered so that others can have food, medicines and other essentials for their families and communities.

We express a deep appreciation and gratitude for these workers.

Governments across Canada as well as religious leaders are bearing particularly heavy burdens in steering our communities through this calamity.

It is comforting to see that in such demanding times, political differences are being set aside to serve the common good.

This too is a witness of hope for Canadians. For all these acts of generos- ity and dedication, let us add our expressions of gratitude for the important work of the diverse leaders of our country.

As religious leaders, we raise our collective voices to highlight the necessity for greater attention to the needs of the homeless, the incarcerated, the elderly and those already suffering from social isolation.

A Message of Solidarity

We urge all people in Canada to listen and follow attentively the directions of our public health officials and government leaders.

We, as religious leaders, pledge to lead by example. We all must act together in confronting this virus.

While everyone is vulnerable during this crisis, let us not forget those in our society who, prior to COVID-19, were already vulnerable to health and social ailments.

As religious leaders, we raise our collective voices to highlight the necessity for greater attention to the needs of the homeless, the incarcerated, the elderly and those already suffering from social isolation.

We remember too those people, especially women and children who face abuse and violence, who are not safe at home and may suffer additional abuse and violence as stress increases.

We must never overlook or exclude these groups from our plan- ning, preparedness and response to this pandemic. We are particularly mindful of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, including isolated Northern communities, who were already facing pre-existing challenges and for whom the COVID- 19 outbreak could prove singularly devastating.

Likewise, we need to remember the needs and vulnerabilities of the many refugees and migrant workers who have come to Canada seeking safety and security.

Charitable organizations in Canada will face greater challenges during this time of crisis and will need greater assistance from governments so as to continue their vital work. This is a time for human solidarity.

We all need to pull together. It is essential to carry out the practical requirements to limit the spread of this virus. It is also important to maintain a posture of attentive caring towards our neighbour.

This is a time for human solidarity. We all need to pull together.

This includes care and solidarity for the global community who face this crisis with far fewer resources than those accessible to Canada. This is a time for us to draw closer to God.

Religion and spirituality can indeed contribute to building people up, to providing a sense of meaning, inner strength, new horizons and openness of hearts.

As religious leaders, we wish to emphasize, especially in times like these, the power and importance of prayer. We earnestly pray for healing, for the continued efforts to relieve human suffering, and for perseverance throughout these challenging times.

As history records these moments for our country’s future, let us pray that, in the face of COVID-19, we respond with an abundance of hope, gratitude and solidarity, trusting in the loving and ever merciful God, the source of all hope.

Let us pray that, in the face of COVID-19, we respond with an abundance of hope, gratitude and solidarity, trusting in the loving and ever merciful
God, the source of all hope.

Catholic Education Highlights

Time: 1 minutes 52 seconds

Highlights of Catholic Education at the Superior North Catholic District School Board.


Catholic Education News

Catholic Parent Involvement Committee Survey

The Superior North Catholic District School Board (SNCDSB) values and encourages parent involvement and voice. Parents are encouraged to actively participate in their child’s education and wellbeing by joining the SNCDSB Catholic Parent Involvement Committee (CPIC).

The Catholic Parent Involvement Committee (CPIC) is an important advisory body that operates as a direct link between parents and a School Board's Director of Education and its Trustees. Where school councils focus on the local school and community, the Catholic Parent Involvement Committee participates at the board level and focuses on things that affect more than one school.

CPIC members meet 4 times a school year. The committee is run by parents for parents. There are no expectations for parents. The parents' role is in an advisory capacity. The Board will share initiatives and information that are occurring Board-wide. There are no expectations of how many meetings parents should attend and parents can attend at their leisure. All parents are encouraged to attend all CPIC meetings.

Superior North Catholic District School Board would like to facilitate parent involvement in our Catholic Parent Involvement Committee. Parents are asked to complete the SNCDSB Catholic Parent Involvement Survey by November 24, 2020. This five-question short survey will help us better accommodate you, so you may be able to attend our CPIC meetings.

"Together We Educate Heart, Mind and Soul."

Faith Day and Celebration of Excellence 2020

On October 23, 2020, all staff from the Superior North Catholic District School Board gathered together virtually for our annual Faith Development Day. It was an opportunity for our team to reflect on their faith and nurture hope to bring back to our classrooms to inspire our students. Young people are the hope for the future, and as teachers and leaders, it is our responsibility to support their dreams for a better world.

The day was co-facilitated by Paul Tsekouras, Superintendent of Education and Ben Jewiss, Principal of Remote Learning, as well as Catholicity and Special Projects Lead. Trustees, Senior Administration, Principals, System Support Team, Teachers, Early Childhood Educators, Educational Assistants, Administrative Assistants, Custodians, Cleaners and Catholic Education Centre Staff united together to participate in liturgical celebration and professional reflection. The day was an opportunity to identify supports we need to continue to support our Catholic Education program and system.

During her opening remarks, Director of Education, Maria Vasanelli, shared with staff that although we face many challenges there are signs of hope everywhere around us such as supporting each other during a crisis – like the one we are living through now – COVID, teachers welcoming our students back with open arms this past September, taking care of the elderly who once took care of us, working as a team to better achieve our goals as a school board, having our students participate in events that highlight injustices so they may be corrected, growing environmental consciousness and the awareness of climate science, maintaining civility and integrity in our relationships and much more. She thanked all Superior North Catholic District School Board staff for their contributions and day to day efforts to ensure authentic Catholic education for all and make a difference in the lives of our students!

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” – Thomas Merton OCSO

Participants took part in a virtual mass officiated by Father Terry Sawchuk. After the mass, Father Terry provided an inspiring message around hope.

The day also provided an opportunity for participants to discuss and share in like roles what they need to support Catholicity within and across schools. Input and feedback was collected to inform future planning and next steps.

The Board’s 25th Annual Celebration of Excellence was held to honour employees for their dedication and years of service to the Superior North Catholic District School Board and to recognize significant contributions of Educators to our Catholic school community.

The following staff were recognized and received their pin for 5, 10, 15, 25 and 30 years of service with Superior North Catholic District School Board:

5 Years

  • George Scott, Catholic Education Centre
  • Deana Figliomeni, Catholic Education Centre
  • Andrew Walsh, Holy Saviour School
  • Kristina Jankowski, Holy Saviour School
  • Nanette Rochon, Our Lady of Lourdes
  • Carolyn Williams, St. Edward Catholic School
  • Sarah Savage, Our Lady of Fatima
  • Amanda Monks, Trustee

10 Years

  • David Mauro, St. Martin Catholic School
  • Dorothy Shawayahamish, St. Joseph Catholic School

15 Years

  • Pamela Legree, St. Hilary Catholic School

25 Years

  • Johanne Bergeron, St. Martin Catholic School

30 Years

  • Christine Guignard, Holy Saviour
  • Denise Paris-Brown, Holy Saviour
Years of Service Recipient Celebration Video

The Board acknowledged and celebrated the contributions of Retirees:

  • Pina Luomala, St. Joseph Catholic School
  • Stephanie Romiti, Catholic Education Centre
  • Dauphine Campbell, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
  • Leah Vanderwey, Catholic Education Centre
  • Lynn Jankowski, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School
  • Christine Guignard, Holy Saviour School
Retiree Celebration Video

Good Shepherd Award

The Superior North Catholic District School Board Good Shepherd Award honours a person or group who models the qualities of a Good Shepherd and has made an outstanding contribution to Catholic Education through their dedication and devotion to our school communities. Any person within the Superior North Catholic District School Board community may nominate a person or group.

Good Shepherd Award Celebration Video
Congratulations to Marline Ilijow and Rita and Maurice Desroches— our 2020 Good Shepherd Award Recipients. Through the nominations received, it was evident that each of them has gone above and beyond to contribute to Catholic education enhancement!
Marline Ilijow
Marline Ilijow, 2020 Recipient of the Good Shepherd Award
Rita and Maurice Desroches
Rita and Maurice Desroches, 2020 Recipients of the Good Shepherd Award
According to Tsekouras, “the day was a Faith Day and Celebration of Excellence unlike any other that has been celebrated before in our system. It is a day that when we look back in the coming years, we’ll remember that no matter how physically and socially distanced we were asked to be - that we came together, through technology, as one system, united in faith and hope”.

The day was indeed a day of learning and strengthening our commitment to Catholic education.

"Together We Educate Heart, Mind and Soul."

Together in Faith

Join us to strengthen Catholic education in Ontario.

"Our [Catholic] communities celebrate what matters most – inclusivity, diversity, excellence and faith. Our schools produce graduates who are responsible citizens, caring family members and collaborative contributors to the common good of society. These are values that we celebrate and share with all Ontarians." from Together in Faith

Saint Edward's Students - What does Catholic mean to me?

Time: 4 minutes 32 seconds

St. Edwards on the News Blog

Saint Hilary - Catholic Education Week 2017

Time: 4 minutes 06 seconds

St. Hilary on the News Blog

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