Catholic education occurs all day
By Madeleine Marchildon
PRINCE ALBERT — For the 125th year, the school year began for the school administration, trustees, board members, teachers and staff members of the Prince Albert Catholic School Division with mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral followed by a time of fellowship which marked the importance of the theme for this significant year, On Holy Ground.
Director of Religious Education, Deacon Harrold Salahub of the Ukrainian Catholic eparchy, welcomed all to the celebration, including Bishop Albert Thévenot, M. Afr., Rev. Maurice Fiolleau, vicar-general and rector to the cathedral; and Revs. Matthew Nguyen, Tuan Doan, D.J. Vu, Travis Myrheim and Roque Concepcion with a message reminding the congregation that Jesus is in our hearts. The Gospel was proclaimed by Deacon Michael Fahlman.
Thévenot expressed during his homily that children are formed and moulded by teachers; they are the future generation, “and that’s what makes the ground holy.”
He asked them which teacher or principal it was that helped them during their early years of formation. “Is it good literature and poems that you remember? Or was it the teacher who had patience, would listen or perhaps gave you a comment that lit you on fire for learning? As that person helped you realize your dream, so, too, you will help them realize theirs. That’s a teacher. Help them realize the dream that God has put into their heart.”
Thévenot invited all Catholic school division staff to stand together to make their commitment to Catholic education, asking them, “Are you willing to proclaim that word to the students and staff to whom you will minister? Are you willing to be an example of Catholic Christian living by allowing God’s word and sacrament to nourish your own life?”
As a reminder of this year’s focus, director of education Lorel Trumier, as well as school-based and central office administration, were given a Children of the World Candle to remind them that “all children who come into our schools are the children of God who stand on holy ground. Let us remember the blessing of children and the blessings from God.”
After mass, the day continued with presentations from board chair, George Bolduc and director of education Lorel Trumier, who conveyed appreciation and recognized the continued support for the last 125 years from students, families, teachers and volunteers.
After a moment of silence for the tragic summer which took the lives of two local students, Trumier thanked the board of education for their presence in helping to advocate and preserve the catholicity within schools, remarking, “This ground we walk on, let us lead our children to Christ.”
She asked, “Are we relevant? After all this time in history, will we be relevant in the future? You bet we are! Being a teacher in this Catholic school system essentially describes something more than we will ever know, it transforms the world around us.”
Teachers and staff put together a slide show giving homage to the last 125 years of Catholic education in Prince Albert, showing photos of schools and carriages transporting children back and forth from home dating as far back as 1887. Several parents, teachers and staff shared their responses on video to the questions: What makes a Catholic education unique? What is special about the Prince Albert schools? What does Catholic education mean to me?
A parent from St. Michael’s Community School commented, “There’s a whole support staff behind these children,” while observations from teachers were, “When we work and pray together, it makes us a stronger teacher,” “the opportunity to pray with my kids makes us thankful for what we have and the children see it,” while another felt that the children “share their beliefs with their friends.”
Trumier acknowledges they are blessed to have staff and trustees dedicated to schools and that through every action and word, Catholic education occurs all day. “God is here in this school. Through our efforts and the grace of God, we will be able to make a strong faith learning environment for our children.”