For our students . . .
"The light of faith will illumine truth and values that the students will gradually come to learn about the world, about life and about the human person."
For our teachers . . .
"By their witness and their behavior teachers are of the first importance to impart a distinctive character to Catholic schools."
"Teachers are filled with a deep conviction and joy in the knowledge that they are offering young people the opportunity of growing in faith, of accepting and living its precious principles of love, charity and hope."
In our programs . . .
"A Catholic school conforms to the generally accepted school programming of today but implements these programs within an overall religious perspective."
"The special character of Catholic school and the underlying reason for its existence, the reason why Catholic parents should prefer it, is precisely the Gospel message integrated into the overall education of the students."
In our schools . . .
"The Gospel spirit should be evident in a Christian way of thought and life which permeates all facets of the educational environment."
At the school division level . . .
"Our first challenge is to develop further and to articulate a Catholic philosophy of education for our times so that our distinctive vision of education will permeate every aspect of our curriculum and all dimensions of the learning process."
"Our schools are open to families and students, of different faiths and religions, who choose our Catholic schools because they appreciate the value of an education where instruction is enhanced by our religious dimension."
In our parishes . . .
"Cooperation of all, given in the spirit of the Gospel, is by its very nature a witness not only to Christ as the corner-stone of the community, but also as the light Who shines far beyond it."
"The climate must be one in which families are welcomed and the local Church is an active participant."
Who Attends Catholic Schools
Sometimes in the past only Catholics attended Catholic Schools. This situation has changed since the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960's. In Catholic Schools in Alberta today, you will find students of all religious background. The Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome published a document in 1982 stating the following:
There are students in Catholic Schools who do not profess the Catholic faith, or perhaps are without any religious faith at all. Faith does not admit to violence; it is a free response of the human person to God as He reveals Himself. Therefore, while Catholic Educators will teach doctrine in conformity with their own religious convictions and in accord with the identity of the school, they must at the same time have the greatest respect for those students who are not Catholics. They should be open at all time to the authentic dialogue, convinced that in these circumstances the best testimony that they can give of their own faith is a warm and sincere appreciation for anyone who is honestly seeking God according to his or her own conscience. In keeping with the teaching of the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, we believe a school tath opens its doors only to Catholics may be a school for Catholics but is not fully a Catholic School. Catholic Schools have an obligation and desire to accept any student so that they may share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The population of Catholic Schools then consists of the following groups; children of practicing Catholics; children of Catholics who no longer regularly practice their faith; children of members of other Christian churches or religions; children of people who do not profess to be a member of any organized religion; and children from families who belong to non-Christian religions or churches.
Why Do We Have Catholic Schools
Catholic schools exist to make God known. The Catholic people of the community establish a Catholic school because they desire the education of their children to be nurtured in Catholic Christian values. Catholic schools operate according to the laws of the Province of Alberta. The Catholic school system of Alberta has been part of education in Alberta since it became a Province of Canada.
Catholic schools are instruments of the Church, reaching out to the young people of our communities with Christ's teachings about life, death and resurrection. Next to the family, schools are the most important institutions in the development of the child. catholic schools are designed not only to develop the intellectual abilities of children but also to teach them to love others, to make good judgments, and to develop good work habits and skills for getting along with other people. Catholic school activities, policies, discipline, and rule should be based on the gospel message of Jesus Christ, a message of unconditional love.
East Central Alberta Catholic Schools are places where children can be exposed to the invitation which Christ extends to us to love one another as God loves His children. Our schools are places of hope arising from our belief that Jesus lived, died and rose from the dead. His life is a model for lives. Jesus wished people to love their neighbor so they would reach out to those in need. Following His teaching will lead us to a full life here on earth, and His resurrection provides us with hope for our own everlasting life. Generally Catholic schools reflect the following beliefs in religion classes and in the daily life of the school:
God is presently active in our lives;
We attempt to see God's work on earth through the actions of others;
We talk of personal faith journey;
Teachers attempt to be living examples of God's influence;
We view young people not as empty vessels to be filled, but as candles to be lit.
Any person, regardless of church affiliation who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ and in His life, death and resurrection, should feel comfortable in our Catholic Schools as will others who value His message in our curriculum, teaching and example.