When it comes to education, September is often cited as a time of renewal. Following a summer break, educators and students are refreshed and excited to launch into the new academic year.
In good timing, Catholic Education in Canada will remain in the spotlight as hundreds of delegates from across the country will gather in Ottawa this October to reflect on Catholic education and its role in Canada.
The Canadian Catholic School Trustees’ Association (CCSTA) will host the third rendition of the Catholic Education: A National Conversation conference, which is intended to bring educators, trustees and clergy together for a three-day spiritual journey. From Oct. 3-5, 2013, the conference will take place at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel in the heart of the city.
First introduced in 2008, the conference theme, “A Sower Went out to Sow”, brought delegates together in the nation’s capital to have in-depth conversations about how and why Catholic education plays a role in our country today. Along with its successes, Catholic education’s challenges are also a topic of conversation and forces conference attendees to think about and discuss our past, present and potential future.
In 2011, the gathering centred around “Nurturing the Seed”. Now, two years later, the 2013 conversation will focus on “Witnessing to the Hope that is Within Us”, particularly in relation to the New Evangelization.
“In this time of the New Evangelization, we are called to renew our witness to the world through our vocation in Catholic education,” says CCSTA President Ted Paszek. “Through the experiences of liturgy, conversation and celebration, we will further explore our diverse ministries to Catholic education in light of the parable of the sower.”
The New Evangelization
When asked to define the New Evangelization, a quick answer isn’t common. To discover and discuss the New Evangelization and the role it plays in our Catholic schools, CCSTA will bring it to center stage at this year’s conference.
“We want to explore what the New Evangelization means for all of us and how we can make it a part of our everyday lives,” says conference chair, Gerry Bibby.
CCSTA has developed a keynote speaker roster that exudes experience, faith and leadership. Each speaker will take the opportunity to highlight the New Evangelization in a different light.
Bishop of Edmundston, New Brunswick, the Most Reverend Claude Champagne, will ignite the conversation in his keynote address, “The New Evangelization: Our Common Responsibility.” Sister Maureen Sullivan will speak on “Vatican II and the New Evangelization: A Theology of Hope.” The final conference day will welcome Father James Mallon to the podium as he will speak about “The New Evangelization: Answering the Question”. At the same time, Fr. Gilles Routhier will deliver a keynote address in French, titled “Catholic Education: A Witness of the World to Come”.
In between each keynote address, attendees will have the opportunity to have roundtable discussions about what they just heard and how it relates to their own educational experiences and opportunities.
Conference highlights also include the youth panel and vignettes, whereby delegates share their story about how Catholic education has played a vital role in their lives.
“From East to West, we have every type of representation at this national conference,” says Bibby. “We invite anyone interested in Catholic education to join us this October and continue the conversation.”
To learn more and to register for the Catholic Education: A National Conversation conference, please visit the conference website or call the CCSTA office at 613-224-4455 extension 2521.