Catholic Education Week this year was a celebration of joy for students at Renfrew County Catholic District School Board. The week-long event, from May 5 to 10, included a variety of activities ranging from specially written daily classroom lessons, music, prayer services, reflections, Living Rosaries and special Masses to serving meals at a soup kitchen, garden planting, music performances, talent shows, and community artwork displays. A unique RCCDSB Mental Health-Safe Schools-Indigenous Education package was also written and made available to each school in hard copy and electronic form through the board website. Several RCCDSB schools also held open houses for prospective kindergarten students and their families.
The CEW theme this year was “Living as Joyful Disciples,” inspired by the Ontario Catholic Bishops’ pastoral letter on Catholic education, Renewing the Promise, as well as Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation on the call to holiness, Gaudete et Exsultate, and the final report of the 2018 Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.
Each day of the week had a separate sub-theme, says Tony Cosentino, the Religious and Family Life Education Resource Teacher at RCCDSB. “The five daily sub-themes were: Rooted in Prayer, Living in Community, Doing Justice and Creating Hope, Journeying Together in Faith, and Sharing the Good News. All of these sub-themes were aimed at helping staff and students to reflect more fully on what it means to be Living as Joyful Disciples.”
Schools throughout the Board held special events intended to put their faith into action. Students from Bishop Smith Catholic High School (BSCHS) in Pembroke and St. Joseph’s High School (SJHS) in Renfrew joined the National March for Life in Ottawa on Thursday, May 9. On Friday, BSCHS also provided hands-on activities and crafts to help special education students explore the week’s themes.
Meanwhile, SJHS students gave presentations about their participation in the Dominican Republic mission experience to students at St. Joseph’s Elementary School in Calabogie and St. John XXIII in Arnprior. In addition, St. Joseph’s High School students prepared and served a Community Friendship Meal at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Renfrew.
St. Anthony’s in Chalk River and Cathedral in Pembroke, like many RCCDSB schools, had Mass and the Living Rosary to highlight their activities. St. Francis in Petawawa used the special daily lesson plans and put special effort into the CEW theme song for a Thursday prayer service. Our Lady of Lourdes elementary school in Pembroke celebrated Music Monday, coming together for an afternoon prayer service and assembly with virtues awards, as well as a talent show on Thursday. Holy Name Elementary School set up a Prayer Wall with the theme, Walking with the Two Feet of Justice. Students also planted a flower garden in front of the building, around the Holy Name school sign.
St. Michael’s in Douglas held a “Saints Among Us” presentation that focused on St. Isidore, patron saint of farmers. They also participated in a Hike for Hospice. Meanwhile, Our Lady of Fatima School in Renfrew began CEW with Mass and held an open house and book fair during the week. St. James Catholic Elementary in Eganville began the week with a prayer service and Mass and hosted an annual fun fair to welcome families and community members to the school. St. Joseph’s in Calabogie held special art activities, while students at St. Andrew’s in Killaloe participated in a school and community clean-up during the week, which culminated in a special ‘Spring Fling’ family dance.
Jaimie Perry, RCCDSB’s Director of Education, congratulated students and staff on the wide variety of joyful events that were planned for Catholic Education Week. “Our Board’s students and staff are truly living our faith as witnesses to God’s goodness and they are sharing the joy of God’s love within our communities.”
Dave Howard, Chair of RCCDSB, agreed. “As a faith-based education system, we are dedicated to making our schools a fertile ground for faith-based learning and character formation,” Howard said. “Our schools work to provide a Christian world-view that our graduates can carry with them to impact our local communities, province and nation.”
May 10, 2019
For further information, please contact:
Jaimie Perry, Director of Education
Renfrew County Catholic District School Board
499 Pembroke Street West
Pembroke, ON K8A 5P1
Phone: 613-735-1031 or 1-800-267-0191