Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
September 10, 2001
Schools start year with the Eucharist
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Catholic education should be taught and lived in the context of the vision of the coming of the Lord, in the context of the Absolute.
This is the challenge that Archbishop Thomas Collins gave to nearly 3,000 teachers and staff who attended the annual school opening liturgy of the Edmonton Catholic Schools at Winspear Centre, Aug. 30.
"You are teaching your students so that they may be prepared for 'The Exam' but not only for the exam," emphasized Collins, who presided at the Eucharistic celebration.
"We all know 'The Question' and that's why we have to live our lives in joyful hope of the coming of the Lord," Collins emphasized.
"Living the absolute is the sacrament of the present moment," Collins said.
"We do not know the day or the hour of the Lord's coming, so we must be prepared," he said.
Bishop Lawrence Huculak of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton proclaimed the Gospel and was also a major concelebrant along with two priests from the eparchy and 13 from the archdiocese.
In his welcome speech, Superintendent Dale Ripley said "to be authentically Catholic, teachers not only need to quote the Gospel and the words of Jesus Christ, but to do, live and teach as Jesus did."
"Jesus must inform our vision and direct our policy, to make a difference," Ripley said.
After the archbishop's homily, teachers and staff renewed their commitment to Catholic education and to the students they will serve.
In particular, they renewed their commitment to live according to the Gospel and to honour and respect the trust given to them by parents of the students.
Teachers and staff agreed that it is important to start the school year by sharing in the Eucharist.
"This reminds us that our community shares one faith," Pat Clancy-Novosel, president of the Edmonton Catholic Teachers, told the WCR.
Clancy-Novosel, an English teacher at Holy Trinity High School, noted that not only the present employees of the Catholic schools were present but a good number of retired teachers and staff.
Ron Zacharko, chaplain at St. Francis Xavier, said liturgical celebrations like this gives them the chance to express themselves in a spiritual way other than in the classroom.
"I was absolutely amazed at the amount of participation and willingness to share their talents for this event," said Zacharko, who chaired the organizing committee for this liturgy.
Commenting on Collins' homily, teacher Norma Jani of St. Kevin, said, "what (the archbishop) said are things that we know but needed to be reinforced."
"And I think it is important that the archbishop mentioned about the World Youth Day, because teachers deal with the youth all the time," Jani said.
Assistant Principal Stephen Goss of St. Joseph agreed and said, "It is important that we are reminded that we do not know when Jesus is coming and so we must live our Christianity everyday."
A 28-piece orchestra with a choir of 25 provided music for the liturgy. In the same celebration the district's pop song, which will be used for all upcoming district-wide gatherings and promotions, was launched.
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