Brampton school named after Cardinal Ambrozic

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  • September 11, 2009
{mosimage}BRAMPTON, Ont. - More than 300 students celebrated the opening of the first Canadian high school named after former Toronto archbishop Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic on Sept. 8.

Principal Tim Lariviere said the Brampton school is honouring Ambrozic in a number of ways. Its coat of arms includes many of Ambrozic’s own coat of arms, complete with the cardinal’s hat, cross and the picture of the lion representing the Gospel of Mark, the topic of Ambrozic’s doctoral thesis.

Lariviere also said the school’s outreach to newly arrived families to Canada echoes one of Ambrozic’s ministries with new immigrants.

At the school’s opening ceremony, students were joined by Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board trustees and Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell. Students also filled two canvasses with their handprints which will form part of the artwork at the school’s entrance. This artwork will also feature the St. Teresa of Avila’s “hands prayer” which highlights one of the school’s mottos: “We are God’s hands.”

Cardinal Ambrozic High School is starting with 325 Grade 9 students. In the coming years, it will welcome up to 1,300 students from Grades 9 to 12. It brings the number of Dufferin-Peel Catholic schools to 145 — 120 elementary and 25 high schools. St. Roch Catholic High School also opened on the same day as Cardinal Ambrozic.

Neil MacCarthy, head of communications for the Toronto archdiocese, said Ambrozic’s life and witness are an inspiration to students, especially since the cardinal completed some of his courses in a displaced person’s camp in Austria during the Second World War.

“Cardinal Ambrozic is someone who had a passion for education in terms of studies, reading and knowledge,” MacCarthy said. “It’s fitting that an institution would be named after him.”

MacCarthy said Ambrozic, who was unable to attend the opening, was humbled by the news that a school would be named after him. This quality of humility was evident during the 15 years MacCarthy had worked with the cardinal. Ambrozic wanted to “empower those around him” and for people to use their talents and gifts to the best of their abilities, encouraged new ideas and gave others the freedom to try new things, he said.

“Any good teacher is able to do that,” he said. “It’s nice to see that his legacy will continue to live on in every student who walks through the doors of Cardinal Ambrozic High School.”

Ambrozic was born on Jan. 27, 1930, in Gabrje, Slovenia. His family moved to Austria in 1945 and then to Canada in 1948. He was ordained as a priest on June 4, 1955. Ambrozic earned degrees in theology from the Angelicum and in Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and earned a doctorate in theology at the University of Würzburg.

On May 26, 1976, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Toronto and coadjutor archbishop of Toronto on May 22, 1986. He became archbishop of Toronto on May 17, 1990, and was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

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