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Catholic schools are distinguished by faith

Joyful Disciples
Posted on 05/02/2019
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Ask most people what comes to mind when they think of the word “disciple,” and they’ll probably imagine one of the 12 apostles who followed Jesus.

In a more modern context however, thousands of people throughout our school board community are acting as disciples every day – sometimes without even realizing it, according to Director of Education Terry Lyons.

“Every time one of our teachers or other staff members imparts some wisdom to a student that inspires them to make the world a better place, they’re acting as a disciple,” Lyons said. “Every time one of our students puts their faith into action by helping someone less fortunate, they’re acting as a disciple. Every time one of our parents volunteers to help improve their Catholic school community, they’re acting as a disciple.”

May 5-10 is Catholic Education Week in Ontario and this year’s theme is Living as Joyful Disciples. Schools throughout the WECDSB community have a number of activities planned, all of them geared towards celebrating what distinguishes them as Catholic schools.

“What is distinctive about our Catholic schools is that they are communities of faith,” said Bishop Ronald Fabbro. “Our Catholic schools, working together with parents and our parishes, help our students to know Jesus; to grow in their faith through religious education; to pray and celebrate liturgies throughout the year; and to live their faith in action through kindness, generosity, and service to their sisters and brothers.   They demonstrate—every day—what it means to be a joyful disciple of Jesus.”

Catholic Education Week is a wonderful time to showcase how faith is practiced in our schools, added WECDSB Chair Fulvio Valentinis.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about what happens in Catholic schools,” he said, “Our faith is a major component of everything we do, from how our curriculum is taught and the values we try to instill in our students to the countless outreach initiatives they’re involved with intended to inspire them by the message of peace, justice and love that was taught by Jesus. This is what really happens in our schools each and every day.”

There are five sub-themes for Catholic Education Week, one for each day and they are aimed at helping staff and students to reflect more fully on what Living as Joyful Disciples means to them. The five sub-themes are:

Day 1:  Rooted in Prayer  /  Enracinés dans la prière

Day 2:  Living in Community  /  Vivre au coeur de la communauté

Day 3:  Doing Justice & Creating Hope  /  Semer la justice et inspirer l’espérance

Day 4:  Journeying Together in Faith  /  Cheminer ensemble dans la foi

Day 5:  Sharing the Good News  /  Partager la bonne nouvelle

“In our own way, each and every one of us is a disciple,” said Director Lyons, “and our schools, along with our parish partners, help form the foundation of that discipleship. I would encourage our staff, our students and their families to reflect on how we can all better incorporate the joy of discipleship into everything we do.”

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