Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Catholic School Trustees Association Convention

Following the Canadian Bishops' Plenary sessions in Cornwall, I was able to attend part of the Canadian Catholic School Trustees Association convention in Ottawa on September 26 & 27th. The ability to have Catholic Schools in our province of Saskatchewan is an imporant and valuable right for our Catholic people.

Below I had the chance to meet some of the Saskatchewan delegates to the convention. It was a pleasure to be able to support their generous and important work for Catholic education.

People were pleased with the convention and appreciated the principal speakers. Kevin P. Feehan, Q.C. spoke on the Canadian Constitution and the Catholic Community, giving a history of the envents and government statements that have protectede Catholic Eduction in Canada since Confederation.

Here are some of his words concluding his presentation: "Catholic education has been with us since the first European settlements in North America, firstly in th form of missionary instruction, and later in the context of formal education, publicly or privately funded.

The ebb and flow of Catholic rights has been substantially stabilized in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan by constitutional protection and in the Yukon and Northwest Territories by territorial legislation , and stands on an essentially equal footing with public education in those provinces and territories. On the other hand, publicly funded education has been lost in the past decade in Quebec and Newfoundland/Labroado and the status of Catholic education in those provinces now stands on the same footing as in the Maritime provinces, Manitoba and British Columbia, where Catholic education is private education, with some degree of provincial support in some jurisdictions.

Regardless of the jurisdiction and the state of public funding of Catholic education, it is alive and well in all of the provinces and territories in Canada, and Catholic parents in each of these jurisdictions strive for a fully-permeated Catholic education system based upon gospel values, seeking to educate the whole child: intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Bishop Paul Andre Durocher, the Bishop of Alexandria Cornwall spoke in two sessions on Saturday: "How to keep Catholic Schools" and "How to keep Catholic Schools Catholic."

Here are some of the Saskatchewan delegates hard at work during the convention.


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