Monday, October 20, 2008

The Face of Christ Recognized and Reflected

Because of a busy week, I missed last week's post. However, the Saskatchewan Catholic School Boards Association (SCSBA) held its fall convention in Prince Albert on Oct. 17 - 19 . Its theme was "The Face of Christ Recognized and Reflected." It was a wonderful weekend and I am very pleased to have been able to attend. I had the opportunity to meet those dedicated people who serve as Directors of Education and Chair of the Boards and members of the School Boards in our Archdiocese and spend some time getting to know them.

Here are some of the people from the five Catholic School Boards within the Archdiocese of Regina.
The Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division serves Weyburn, Estevan and Radville. On the left is the Director, Shelly Rowein and third from the right is Board Chair Bruno Tuchscherer. Also in this group are members of the newest School Division, St. Augustine's in Wilcox. Rob Kreuger on the far right and Board Chair Kate MacLean.

The Chair of the Regina R.C.S.S.D., Paul Malone is seated on the left and the Director, Rob Currie is third from the left with other members from the Regina Board.

Christ the Teacher R.C.S.S.D. serves Yorkton and Melville. The Board chair Jerome Niezgoda is facing us on the left and next to him is the Director, Rrian Boechler.
And in the far west of the province we have Holy Trinity R.C.S.S.D. The Board Chair, Julie Randall is on the far right with other members of the board. The Director, Delme Wagner was off at another table.
Our sessions were opened by prayer and we were blessed with the presence of two children's groups who sang for the opening prayers. This was a wonderful beginning for those days. It certainly reminded us of why we were gathered for this convention and toward whom our efforts are directed.

The opening key note address was given by Bishop Albert Thevenot. He welcomed us all and spoke of education being about teachin what people need to know. Using his experience in Africa as a missionary there he told of the nomadic peoples of Tanzania who needed fire, food and water. That meant someone had to carry the coals as they moved about. Catholic education is about carrying the faith so that children get what they need: education in their faith by communicating the message of Jesus and a living witness to Christ. This education is best communicated by people who are committed to what they believe and to the future of the world.

The keynote speaker the next day was Fr. George Smith, CSB, President of St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon. Fr. Smith talked about the Convention's theme: "The Face of Christ: Recognized and Reflected," using Icons of Jesus. He led us in a very effective reflection on the face of Christ the Child in Bethlehem, the face of Jesus Transfigured and the face of Christ Crucified. As catholic educators we see the face of the Child Jesus refleceted in the face of each of our children. As disciples, we go beyond the demands of justice to see the face of Jesus among the suffering, the marginalized and the frightened. It was a good reminder to us of the presence of Jesus in the "little ones" who are in most need of our love.

The face of Christ Transfigured remins us that in our rebirth through the Holy Spirit into the life of God at our Baptism we are transformed into "other Christs", into the One who is transfigured before us in the Gospel. This belief gives us great strength and the understanding that need not be afraid of the challenges which face us.

The face of Jesus Crucified is a face looking into our faces where Christ sees our broken, sinful selves who seek to be loved and to love. The face of Jesus Crucified is a face full of love for us.

At the close of business, we gathered at St. Joseph Church to celebrate the Eucharist. Bishop Albert presided and myself and Bishop Brian Bayda of the Eparchy of Saskatoon concelebrated along with Fr. Smith and Fr. Matthew Nguyen, the pastor.

Some of the young people of the parish performed liturgical dance during the celebration. It was beautifully and tastefully done.

Of course a very important part of the Celebration were the Altar Servers who fulilled their duties as Acolytes with great expertise. Here they are with us at the end of Mass along with Fr. Francis Agbezuge and I believe Fr. Ivan Nahachewski who also concelebrated.

I was pleased to have a picture with the Regina Archdiocese Chairs of the Board and Directors of Education for our different school divisions. We are blessed with very dedicated and faith filled people.
And I will share with you some of the scenery of this beautiful province that made up my drive back to Regina on Sunday.

This last is the town of Holdfast seen from the highway with Fr. Neil Osiowy and his parishioner's church on the left and book-ended by the grain elevator on the right.

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