Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Journee pastorale; Jour du Seigneur; Catholic Education Week

Today was lived almost entirely in French with the Francophone Sector's Pastoral Day, some interviews with French-speaking priests and Confirmations this evening of some 25 members of Paroisse Saint-Claude in Blackburn Hamlet.

The Pastoral Day began with a presentation on the positive fruits of the introduction of Stewardship (intendance chretienne) in Paroisse Saint-Remi in Ottawa's West End; information by Manon Chevalier, the francophone youth office director on her ministry in Catholic secondary schools and the upcoming Montee Jeunesse/Youth Summit in Quebec City, May 15-18.

Following lunch, three members of the Neo-catechumenal Way (Fr. Isidoro, Donatella and Martino) spoke on the way this instrument of renewal had touched their lives and Catholics in the nearby Archdiocese of Gatineau. Finally, there were brief reports on missionary outreach and the Charismatic Renewal.

Finally, Episcopal Vicar Abbe Daniel Berniquez spoke about some options being considered by Radio-Canada's Jour du Seigneur, a weekly broadcast of Sunday Mass from francophone parishes across Canada. Recent budget cuts initially threatened the program with cancellation, but viewers' negative responses to this proposal has led to consideration of alternatives: such as having most of the broadcasts coming from the Ottawa region, perhaps by having a series of Masses from several parishes (for example with all Lenten or Advent Masses coming from a particular parish. While parishes have been known to pull out all the stops for a single broadcast, the implications of a particular parish being on view for an extended time remain to be explored.

This is Part 2

Gospel Values Part of School Life

Catholic education goes far beyond instruction since gospel values are embedded in every aspect of life and culture in a Catholic school. Many people say that they sense something different when they enter a Catholic school. The Gospel of life and love is an everyday reality. We see it in the way that staff and students treat each other with genuine respect. When things do not go well, there are opportunities for forgiveness, healing and redemption.

Catholic education is a profound expression of hope and love. Hope inspires a commitment to the growth of all students whatever their unique needs. Love is lived in respect, compassion and kindness. Love is most vividly expressed when we see our Catholic schools honouring the presence of special needs children, welcoming the children who are new to our country, respecting every person, no matter their faith tradition.

Catholic schools provide a rich and meaningful experience of Christian community, an education of the heart and soul.

Faith in Action

If you were to visit a Catholic school, you would see that:
• Prayer is an integral part of every school day.
• Grade 2 students are provided with instruction that will prepare them for the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation.
• Special needs children are welcomed, involved and befriended.
• High school students undertake a variety of social justice projects that lead them to a special appreciation of the poor and marginalized in society.
• Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation are celebrated in meaningful ways.
• Visits from parish priests give students a personal connection to their parishes.
• Teachers gather to engage in prayer and discussion that build their adult faith.
• High school chaplaincy leaders provide ongoing support for a wide variety of faith initiatives.

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