February 2, 2016
Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord
Glory be to Jesus Christ!
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Re: Catholic Education – A Call to Action
I am writing to you today as a call to action. Over the past many months, Alberta has been moving towards formally addressing discrimination based specifically on sexual orientation and gender identity. Beginning with the reform of the educational system, we have been inundated with information and opinion from both news media and social media.
As a Catholic community, one of the greatest dangers we see in this ongoing public debate is the potential loss of the sanctity of Catholic education as a gift for our children, and thus a reduced hope for the future of a just and loving society. The great work that is being done with children of many faiths in our Alberta Catholic schools is being overshadowed, obscured and undermined by political and personal interests.
I have been both privileged and blessed in my visits to minister in many Catholic schools in Alberta. My experiences there have been genuine encounters with Christ. I have witnessed first-hand the loving care that school-based staff bring to their students, regardless of their circumstances. I have witnessed staff and students being the hands, feet and heart of Jesus as they engage in learning, playing, and praying with one another. That is the beauty of Catholic education.
Contrary to what many loud voices would have you believe, Catholic schools are, and have been, places of inclusivity regarding the broad spectrum of diversities that all students bring to our educational communities, including sexual diversity.
The word catholic, itself, means universal and all-inclusive. We welcome all children and meet their needs as individuals, and have successfully done so for many years, so that they may reach the fullness of their God-given potential. We will continue to do so, for that is the mission of Catholic education.
Herein lies my call to action. Now is the time for us to share the good news of Catholic education. Now is the time for us to share the profound stories of students who are loved and cared for as unique and sacred members of the family of God. After all, students are our primary concern. It is time for us to bear witness to the trust and confidence that we have in Catholic schools as centres of their human, intellectual, and spiritual formation.
I encourage you to share your important stories widely so that the mission of Catholic education is no longer distorted in the public’s eyes.
I encourage you to share the intrinsic beauty and love that is found at the heart of each and every Catholic School – the beauty of Jesus Christ.
May this Jubilee Year of Mercy, as proclaimed by Pope Francis, guide our path as we share God’s love and mercy with others.
Most Rev. David Motiuk
Eparchy of Edmonton