Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 8, 2003
Elk Island schools must be places of faith - - archbishop
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Catholic schools must be places of faith and action, Archbishop Thomas Collins said at the opening Mass of the Elk Island Catholic School Division.
"We are called to seek God's will and to become actively engaged in the world," the archbishop said in his homily at the Aug. 28 Mass. "We need to know and we need to do."
If things are not the way they should be, we must take action to correct them, he said. Wherever there is evil and hatred, we must bring peace and harmony. "We as Christians need to take risks and act."
Some 700 staff from 15 schools in Sherwood Park, Camrose, Vegreville and Fort Saskatchewan attended the Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Church.
"We need conscientious engagement," the archbishop said. "That means to know where we are going so we can set the course in that direction."
When we pray, we must pray will full knowledge of the reality around us, Collins told his audience. "In the reality of our daily lives we need to see what is God's will and then become engaged and involved."
In his homily, Collins urged educators to journey together with the students entrusted to their care and to teach them how to transform the world.
"Catholic education is a transforming force in our society" and should become an instrument to transform society and make the kingdom of God a reality, he said.
During the Mass, division staff offered prayers of the faithful in several languages, including French, Ukrainian, and Spanish.
After the Mass, superintendent Doug Aitkenhead and board chair John Convey presented school principals with a book by former WCR reporter Renato Gandia - Living the Rosary, the Rosary Lived.
In an interview, Aitkenhead said Collins' message is appropriate for all those who work in the Catholic school system.
"As he said, we can't hide, we can't be secure, we have to go out and become engaged," he said. "We have to be the evangelists. We are the ones that have to bring the children to God. So this was a very appropriate message for our staff.
"When we see wrong we have to make it right.
"When we see injustice, we have to act."
The Elk Island Catholic School Division opened the school year Sept. 2 with more than 6,000 students from kindergarten to Grade 12.