Catholic Education

The following is the address by Douglas Roche, O.C., to the St. Jerome’s University convocation in Waterloo, Ont., June 14. The university honoured Roche, a former Canadian Senator, MP and Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament, with an honorary degree in recognition of his 35-year public career that specialized in peace and human security issues.

School gets literacy grant for its ‘love of reading’ [w/ audio]

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TORONTO - Blessed John XXIII Catholic School students will no longer struggle with an outdated, under stocked and inadequate library thanks to a $119,000 Literacy Grant from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

“We are looking forward to restocking the library with recent, relevant and leveled reading material,” said Jacqueline Puri, the school’s vice-principal who spearheaded the application process this winter. “It feels great.”

Bill-13 implementation still a work in progress

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TORONTO - The potential introduction of gay-straight alliances in Catholic schools has angered many Catholics, but several Catholic educators expect such clubs will closely resemble Respecting Difference groups already in operation.

“Our expectation is that the content will still mirror the Respecting Difference groups and that the Catholic content will be ensured and so will our denominational rights,” said Bob Murray, director of legislative and political affairs for the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA).

Graduation trip brings together students from two different realities

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TORONTO - Alex Morlando finally met Nathan Louttit, the Attawapiskat native he’s been communicating with through letters, the Internet and Xbox since they were both in Grade 7.

“Our teacher assigned us pen pals and (said) we would have to communicate through letters,” said Morlando, now in Grade 8 at Toronto’s Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School. “We started off like that and then we started communicating a little more through Xbox and the Internet. That’s how I really got to know Nathan.”

Bill-13 passed into law

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TORONTO - Bill-13 is now the law in Ontario, which means Catholic schools must allow gay-straight alliance clubs if requested by students.

The controversial bill, supported by the Liberals and NDP, easily passed by a vote of 65 to 36 in the Ontario legislature on Tuesday.

Immediately following its passage, Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins issued a brief statement in which he said Catholic schools should respect the law.

OECTA supports students’ rights to form GSAs in Catholic schools

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TORONTO - Despite concerns expressed by Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) says it supports students’ rights to form gay-straight alliances (GSA) in Catholic schools.

In a May 29 news release, OECTA president Kevin O’Dwyer said, “Providing safe, inclusive environments and eliminating bullying wherever we can is paramount. If the students feel that a club should be called a GSA — that it makes a difference to them — then, we respect and accept that choice.”

Catholic boards’ hands tied by Bill-13

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TORONTO - Catholic schools will remain welcoming places for all students in full accord with the Accepting Schools Act and Catholic teaching and tradition, said Cardinal Thomas Collins in a statement released June 5 after Bill-13 passed third reading to become law.

Passage of the bill means Catholic schools must allow gay-straight alliance clubs if requested by students.

Residential schools are relevant to all Canadians

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TORONTO - “Canadians from before have done a great disservice to Canadians who are new by not telling the story, the true story of this country,” said Estella Muyinda.

Muyinda was born in Uganda. Today she is a lawyer and just as thoroughly Canadian as everybody else in line at Tim Horton’s — and more than some. She’s spent time in Inuvik and Tuktoyuktuk in the Northwest Territories. In travelling the country she has learned about the first of Canada’s three founding nations.

Broten affirms constitutional rights of Catholic education

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The Ontario government respects the constitutional rights of Catholic education and is committed to its continuation, said Education Minister Laurel Broten.

Speaking to The Catholic Register in the wake of Cardinal Thomas Collins calling the Liberal's amended version of Bill 13 an infringement on religious freedom, Broten also rejected calls from some politicians and media for a single, secular education system.

"I've been very clear," she said. "The premier's been very clear. We respect the constitutional protection of Catholic education and that conversation is not on the table."

Martin Sheen’s activism is all in the family

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Martin Sheen grew up in a home where rights were something you fought for.

The actor’s activism was inspired by his immigrant father who risked his factory job fighting for the right to unionize despite having 10 children and a wife at home relying on the wage he earned.

“It was an introduction into the real world,” said Sheen, recalling his father’s teachings of pride against prejudice. “My father was my hero, he struggled against prejudice (and) against the system basically.”