After a long, faithful, and dedicated career as a passionate defender of Catholic Education, Bonaventure Fagan is finally stepping down from his role at the CCSTA. His tireless advocacy, humble attitude, and respectful nature helped make him an extremely effective and inspiring leader in the Catholic Education community.
In 2015, Mr. Fagan was selected to receive the Justice James Higgins Award — the highest honour the CCSTA bestows. He truly dedicated his life to Catholic Education, beginning his career as a teacher in Newfoundland & Labrador before moving into administration, leadership, and advocacy roles.
“Catholic Education provides students with a moral guide, establishing a proper relationship between us as people and the God who created us,” says Mr. Fagan. “So many people today just keep God out of our lives directly — it’s the privatization of our relationship with God. And Catholic education says, no, that’s not right. There is a God, He’s a loving God, and he requires us to be active, and active collectively.”
Among his myriad of contributions and accomplishments, Mr. Fagan is perhaps best known as a high-profile supporter of Catholic Education in Newfoundland throughout the 1990s, when the government began a movement to take away the constitutionally protected right to Catholic Education. As Executive Officer of the Catholic Education Council of Newfoundland, he challenged the government for the retention of denominational education in the province and worked tirelessly and effectively to put forth clear defence arguments.
CCSTA Vice President Patrick Daly first met Mr. Fagan during this time, and he was instantly struck by Mr. Fagan’s passion.
“I was absolutely inspired by his commitment to Catholic Education, his dedication, and his goodness. He was always willing to give whatever time, talents, and gifts he had to fight the good fight,” says Mr. Daly. “And ever since then, he has continued to be a source of hope for Catholic Education in Newfoundland & Labrador and across the country. I think many people like me have admired and learned a great deal from him.”
Mr. Fagan says that his passion and commitment to Catholic Education stems from his belief that it makes great contributions to both individuals and society.
“Catholic students learn, from day one, they learn to reach out to others, because that’s what the Good Lord has asked us to do,” he says. “And when you reach out in faith, it’s so much more than just dropping a coin in the collection box, or giving money to somebody in need. There is a reason for it, and the reason is our commitment to Jesus. And to me that’s important. Education isn’t simply for the individual’s own progress in life. It’s much more than that. It’s about creating a better society for all.”
Catherine Burnham will be taking over Mr. Fagan’s role at the CCSTA, and he is very confident in her ability to succeed and excel in the position.
“Catherine is young and dynamic,” says Mr. Fagan. “She has the ability to see things from a national point of view, due to her experience as the Atlantic representative on the CCSTA Board of Directors. I believe that’s very important. It’s too easy to focus on our own narrow little corner of the world, and we all need to understand that we’re part of a worldwide mission.”
Mr. Fagan’s passion and dedication will be missed as he steps away from his role. We wish him all the best.