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.

Video Transcript for Catholic Education Highlights.


Catholic Education News

Catholic Education Week

During the week of May 5 to May 10, 2019, the Superior North Catholic Catholic District School Board will celebrate the significant contribution that Catholic Education has made to the community, the province and to Canada. Our Catholic Graduate Expectations challenge students to articulate in society those fundamental values that underpin Catholic education.

The theme for this year’s Catholic Education Week is:

Catholic Education: Living as Joyful Disciples
L’éducation catholique: Vivre en disciples joyeux

The 2019 Catholic Education Week theme was inspired by three sources: Renewing the Promise, The Pastoral Letter on Catholic Education from the Bishops of Ontario; Gaudete et exsultate, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis on the Call to Holiness; and Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, the October 2018 Synod of Bishops. Mindful of the Synod on Youth, the theme and sub-themes are very much directed to the young people in our schools, especially in their growth in holiness and their formation as disciples of Christ through the discernment of their vocational pathways. In the section of Renewing the Promise entitled, “A Community that Forms Joyful Disciples,” we read, “Our Catholic schools help to form joyful disciples as hearts and minds are opened to the transforming love of God and to the flame of faith in action. On a daily basis, Catholic schools demonstrate the joy of believing and witness the Good News to the communities that they serve.”

There are five sub-themes, one for each day of Catholic Education Week and they are aimed at helping staff and students to reflect more fully on what Living as Joyful Disciples means to them.

The five sub-themes are:

  • Day 1:Rooted in Prayer / Enracinés dans la prière
  • Day 2:Living in Community / Vivre au coeur de la communauté
  • Day 3:Doing Justice & Creating Hope / Semer la justice et inspirer l’espérance
  • Day 4:Journeying Together in Faith / Cheminer ensemble dans la foi
  • Day 5:Sharing the Good News / Partager la bonne nouvelle

Catholic Education Week is marked by special activities at all grade levels, including prayer celebrations and service activities.

We invite you to visit our schools during this special week and to participate in any of our activities as we celebrate Catholic Education Week 2019.

Faith Day and Celebration of Excellence

April 27, 2018 was a professional development day for Superior North Catholic District School Board (SNCDSB) teachers, support and administrative staff and trustees.

Superior North Catholic District School Board staff celebrating mass
Superior North Catholic District School Board staff celebrating mass

The celebration began with a Mass led by Fr. Terry Sawchuk. Following mass, staff gathered at the Michael King Hall with opening remarks from Sister Stephanie Romiti, Faith Formation & Catholicity Lead at SNCDSB. Keynote speaker for the event was David Wells, world-renowned Catholic motivational speaker, and opening remarks from Acting Director of Education, Barbara Spadoni and Bishop Fred Colli who reflected on the importance of Catholic education.

picture of all staff listening to speaker David Wells at Faith Day 2018
David Wells speaks to the entire staff at the SNCDSB Professional Activity Day.

During the day, the Superior North Catholic District School Board also hosted its 22nd annual Celebration of Excellence event. Staff were recognized and received their pin for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years of service.

5 Years

  • Kayla Greco, Holy Saviour Catholic School
  • Jason Belisle, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
  • Aaron Baker, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
  • Ben Jewiss, St. Brigid Catholic School
  • Terry Ray, St. Edward Catholic School
  • Jennifer Ray, St. Edward Catholic School
  • Stacy McGuire, St. Edward Catholic School
  • Melissa Nystrom, St. Hilary Catholic School
  • Terri Nichols, St. Hilary Catholic School
  • Sonia Landry, St. Martin Catholic School
  • Pina Luomala, St. Joseph Catholic School
  • Julie Howe, St. Joseph Catholic School
  • Danielle Luby, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School
  • Samantha Brown, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School
  • Francine Batog, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School
Picture of recipients of five years of service pin
5 Years of Service SNCDSB Staff

10 Years

  • Paulette Godin, Holy Saviour Catholic School
  • Jessica Marcotte, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
  • Natalie Soos, St Edward Catholic School
  • Nina Merritt, St. Edward Catholic School
  • Carol Barnes, Trustee
Picture of 10 year pin recipient
10 Years of Service recipient Natalie Soos, St. Edward Catholic School pictured with Trustee Bill McKay and Rima Mounayer, Superintendent of Education

15 Years

  • Velvet Bouchard, Catholic Education Centre
  • Cara Figliomeni, Holy Angels Catholic School
  • Kelly Haliski, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
  • Claudette Abraham, St. Brigid Catholic School
  • Angela Gainer, St. Edward Catholic School
  • Susan Lemieux, St. Edward Catholic School
  • Mia Laframboise, St. Edward Catholic School
  • Courtney Currie, St. Edward Catholic School
  • Jerry Nardi, St. Hilary Catholic School
  • Joanne Camire, St. Joseph Catholic School
  • Debbie Gignac, St. Joseph Catholic School
  • Diane Trepanier, Our Lady of Fatima
picture of 15 year pin recipients for years of service at Superior North Catholic District School Board
15 Years of Service Pin Recipients

20 Years

  • Louise Zechner, St. Edward Catholic School
Trustee Jean with 20 years of service pin recipient Louise Zechner
Trustee Shirley Jean with 20 years of service pin recipient Louise Zechner

25 Years

  • Melanie Glaister, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
  • Betty-Jane Roman-Mercier, St. Hilary Catholic School
25 years of service recipient, BJ Roman-Mercier with Trustee McPherson
25 years of service recipient, BJ Roman-Mercier with Trustee Lilliana McPherson.

30 Years

  • Dana Allen, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School
30 years of service recipient Dana Allen with Trustee McPherson
30 years of service recipient Dana Allen with Trustee Lilliana McPherson

35 Years

  • Louise Wielgosch-Hawrish, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
35 years of service recipient Louise Wielgosch-Hawrish pictured with Trustee McPherson
35 years of service recipient Louise Wielgosch-Hawrish pictured with Trustee Lilliana McPherson

The Board acknowledged and celebrated the contributions of retirees:

  • Scott Adams, Catholic Education Centre
  • Lise Hachey, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
  • Joanne Hoffman, St. Brigid Catholic School
  • Debbie Kuruliak, St. Hilary Catholic School
  • Nancy Ritch, St. Joseph Catholic School
Retiree Joanne Hoffman with Superintendent of Education, Kerry Desjardins
Retiree Joanne Hoffman with Superintendent of Education, Kerry Desjardins

The Superior North Catholic District School Board feels strongly that it is important to acknowledge the wonderful, dedicated and talented individuals that make a difference in the lives of our students. Thank you for supporting 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