Each year, the Light of Christ Catholic School Division strives to better represent who we are –the Light of Christ. We are proud to say that once again our light is shining bright!
Our theme for this year is- Illuminated by the Light of Christ, we pray in faith, educate in strength, and serve in love. Our theme embraces our three pillars – Pray, Educate, Serve; our uniqueness as a strengths-based organization; and what we strive to be each day to everyone we have the opportunity to be in the presence of – the Light of Christ.
“I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
So far, this year has been full of faith-filled education, actions, and activities, and with many more to come, we are very excited. Our opening day for all staff was about “reconnection”. It began with a gathering for all staff to enjoy a warm breakfast together. This was followed by a beautiful Mass at Notre Dame church, led by one of our schools, with Bishop Hero as our Celebrant and our local deanery priests as concelebrants. Our afternoon was filled with more opportunities for each of us to reconnect, grow in our faith, and be the Light of Christ as we welcomed Josh Blakesley and Grae McCollough, who guided us through song, prayer, and the Beatitudes as means to be the Light of Christ.
Embracing our theme, our schools, staff, and students have been doing a great job at being the Light of Christ. Highlighted are some of the actions and activities that have been happening in our schools that are based on our three pillars and our theme.
We pray in Faith- Prayer is an essential aspect of our faith and therefore we must engage in it as often as we can. We are so happy that our schools can again go to the Church for their monthly school Masses. Our schools are also having many school-based activities and liturgies that teach and encourage prayer, such as school-wide gatherings to participate in activities such as the living rosary, Advent wreath blessings, Jessie Tree liturgies, and prayers throughout the day. We were also excited to have our annual Staff Advent Family Mass once again.
“Prayer helps us to identify what matters most and strengthens our heart and minds to give priority to those things in our daily lives.” (Matthew Kelly)
Educate in Strength – As a Catholic School Division, we understand the importance and significance of providing a quality, faith-filled education for all students and the importance of our faith being permeated within our schools and beyond. As a strength-based organization, we are also invested in developing the strengths of our staff and students to encourage greater confidence and empowerment. Following our opening Faith Day, we had another half-day of Faith Development which included learning and community service projects. In addition to our religious curriculum instruction, our staff and students are provided with additional education opportunities to grow in their faith. To date this year, some of these active initiatives include providing and/or supporting Personal Faith Development opportunities, a Faith Mentorship program for new staff, the opportunity to be on our Division Faith Development Committee, our Faith Development Days, Sacramental preparation for our Grade 2 students, Feast Day celebrations, teaching about social justice issues and organizing and participating in activities and events around these issues. We are blessed to have our full-time clerical chaplain at our high school again this year and our community priests are active within our elementary schools, providing an enriched connection to our faith and the church. We hold Truth and Reconciliation at the forefront with the utmost importance and educate, organize, and participate in actions and activities that encourage healing as we walk together with our Indigenous brothers and sisters.
Yet, O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; we are all the work of thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
Serve in Love- Our schools have been actively involved in finding ways to serve others. Some of these actions of service include volunteering to help with various initiatives within the schools and out in our communities, collecting items and funds to help people and organizations in various capacities that are inclusive of local and global initiatives, spending time with residents in care homes, making and delivering cards to community members, helping at local food banks, helping with social justice initiatives, and participation and action towards bringing awareness to needs in our communities and beyond. As mentioned above, our staff, along with all they do with the school projects, were also out in our communities providing services. Some of these services included community clean-ups, painting, cleaning up the insides and outsides of churches, and baking cookies that were given to people in need. We are proud of all the care and compassion towards others and the desire of our staff and students to serve others.
“Each act of love is a work of peace, no matter how small.” (Mother Teresa)