It’s been a year of hope.
Hope for an end to the coronavirus pandemic and a return to normalcy.
Hope for a quick recovery for those affected by the illness.
Hope to once again hug our grandparents, friends and loved ones.
At a virtual Catholic Education Week Opening Liturgy, streamed from St. Ann Parish, this year’s theme for the week-long celebration of publicly funded Catholic Education, “Nurturing Hope,” was even more evident as the hope to gather as a faith-filled community was felt.
“We know this year isn't what you would have liked, and it’s been extremely challenging,” noted Chairperson of the Board Patrick Daly in bringing greetings on behalf of Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board’s Board the Trustees.
In thanking His Excellency, Bishop Crosby, for his presence and his strong support of Catholic Education, the organizing committee for their hard work during the gathering, and Father Paul Edmondstone and the St. Ann community for their wonderful hospitality, Daly gave a special shoutout to the heart of Catholic Education – the students, teachers, families, and parish communities.
“I want you to know that your strength and resilience has been a true inspiration to all of us,” he said to students.
“I also want to acknowledge the patience of parents throughout our system. Your understanding has meant a great deal to all of us and has been a huge support to staff in our schools. I most especially want to thank all of the staff in our Catholic school system. No matter your role, each of you have worked heroically in the last year.”
As Ontario shifted to accommodate COVID-19, a new dimension of learning tested every nook and cranny of education. But despite the unprecedented and complex challenges faced this past year, hope remained unscathed thanks to all that play a role in defining Catholic Education.
“That is what happens in Catholic schools across Ontario,” said Bishop Crosby, in his homily address. “Hope is nurtured. We are taught to hope for a better world, and we are taught the skills we need to make it happen. In Catholic schools, we are taught it’s a good thing to live in hope.”
Hope urges us to action, he added, remarking on the wonderful examples of hope seen over the year as staff and students adjusted to a new way of learning.
“If we live in hope, we learn that good things happen when we use the gifts and talents God gives us in ways that helps others.”
“My prayer for you, is that you will always live in hope. Our world will be a better place because of the Holy Spirit of hope that is nurtured in your schools. I believe in the blessing that is Catholic Education. And I believe that you will make a wonderful contribution to our world.
The mass concluded with a blessing of the new Catholic Education Week poster, designed by Grade 8 student Simona Beraldo from St. Ann (Hamilton) Catholic Elementary School.
“Her poster captures this year’s Nurturing Hope theme beautifully,” said Vice-Principal Anthony Macaluso.
“We are thankful for the opportunity to celebrate Catholic Education Week together. Let us go forward with a renewed sense of love and compassion for each other, and a belief in the awesome power of hope.”