Catholic Education Week is being celebrated from May 3 to 8, 2015 with the theme of Exploring Paths of Joy. Even though the event is almost three months away, the Ontario resource package has recently been sent out to provide optimal planning time for educators.
Brian O’Sullivan, Director of Catholic Education with the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, said the week is an opportunity to celebrate the many accomplishments of Catholic education – and to deepen the relationship with Catholic educational partners.
O’Sullivan said the resources are designed for parishes, administrators, teachers and other adult members of school communities. “Our goal for Catholic Education Week is to get the information and resources out now, so educators can build on the themes and plan accordingly,” said O’Sullivan.
The resource package is created by a team of about 10 people from across the province. The package includes special activities at all grade levels, such as prayer celebrations and service activities. While preliminary resources were available for the beginning of the school year, the main package was sent out earlier this month.
O’Sullivan said there are separate resources geared to primary, junior, intermediate and secondary for each day of the celebration week. He said participants are to be congratulated for the evangelizing work they accomplish in Catholic education in our journey of faith – trustees, students, parents, teachers, administrators and support staff.
There are five sub-themes, one for each day of Catholic Education Week and they are aimed at helping staff and students to reflect more fully on what Exploring Paths of Joy asks of them. This includes sub themes for the week of walking together and sharing our story; opening the scripture; welcoming others to the Table; recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread, and proclaiming the Good News.
“This year marks the first time the poster and music included in the resources is fully bilingual,” O’Sullivan said, noting that the OCSTA and Association franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques (AFOCSC) are collaborating for that aspect of the package.
Again this year, the week is highlighted by a province-wide Mass in Catholic schools throughout Ontario, being held on May 7, 2015. The event is organized by the Catholic Student Trustees, and celebrates youth leadership in Catholic education. Holding the unified Mass as one Catholic congregation, on the same day, is meant to showcase the strength of Catholic education in Ontario, while demonstrating a message of pride to Catholic students.
O’Sullivan said OCSTA is encouraging all Catholic boards of education to support the initiative in their local high schools. Along with the mass, the secondary school program encourages social justice initiatives. O’Sullivan acknowledged there are two Catholic school boards in Ontario that do not have high schools, so efforts were made to try and create a mass and social justice program appropriate for the elementary school audience, too.
Links to the 2015 Catholic Education Week Resource Kit can be found on the OCSTA website at www.ocsta.on.ca under the resources tab, or by visiting www.goodnewsforall.ca. The provincial organization has kindly allowed CCSTA to link to their resources to help others celebrate World Catholic Education Day on May 14, 2015.