Nancy Bodsworth Photo courtesy of Nancy Bodsworth

Celebrating Catholic education in song

  • May 5, 2013

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. Singing is faith in action, says Nancy Bodsworth, writer and performer of “Together in Faith,” the theme song for Catholic Education Week 2013.  

Running May 5 to 10, this year’s theme is Growing Together in Faith.

Bodsworth, who is set to release her second album this year, has been teaching for about a decade and has written the annual education week song since 2009, when she pitched the idea of a song to accompany the week.

“Music is a big part of my faith life and I know it’s a great way to get young people involved in their faith and celebrating Catholic education,” she said.

For Bodsworth, this is important because “it’s putting to action what they’re learning. It gives kids in Catholic school a way to talk about it with their friends on the playground.”

She likes to question her students on what they believe makes them different from their public school counterparts.

“What do we do that’s different?” she said. “So let’s put our faith in action. And I think by doing something outwardly like singing, it’s in action and you’re saying these words, you’re singing these words, you’re giving a voice to what Catholic education is.”

For Bodsworth, the most meaningful lyrics of her song are “We grow in faith that is witnessed — Rise up and take a stand/ Observe, behold and testify Good News to all the land.”

She chose this phrase as the most personally meaningful “because for me as a Catholic teacher, this is what we do every day. No matter what subject I am teaching or the age group of the students, we need to walk the talk in the classroom, in the staff room, at home, at the parking lot at the mall,” she said. “It’s not easy sometimes, but a big part of my faith is to try and share it with others in my actions and in my music.”

Catholic Education Week is organized by the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association. Catholic school boards across the province will celebrate the contribution of publicly funded Catholic education to the wider community during the week.

Each day of the week has a sub-theme: faith that is rooted, nurtured, discerned, witnessed and celebrated. Schools will be integrating these themes into their curriculum for those five days, so that they can reflect more fully on what it means to grow together in faith.

“All of those themes are spoken about in the verses,” said Bodsworth, who teaches music at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont., though she is currently on maternity leave. “The kids in elementary school and high school, when they’re hearing it, are like, ‘oh yeah, we talked about that today.’ ”

When she was younger, Bodsworth sang at a local church and took piano lessons. She attended a high school for the performing arts, studying vocal music in a range of genres such as jazz, musical theatre and classical. Now she holds bachelor degrees in vocal music and education.

Over the years Bodsworth has had students from non-Christian backgrounds, such as Muslim and Hindu. She wants all her students to walk away from music class with a “confidence to share and feel good in their shoes,” she said.

“I want kids to walk away feeling good about themselves and them as individuals... (and to) just to be nice and to be kind. And the one thing that I want them to walk away with, when they graduate from Grade 12, is just to look out for each other and to be confident in who they are.”

The OCSTA is recognizing Bodsworth with an award for her contribution to Catholic Education Week through music.

“Together in Faith” can be found at, along with lyrics and sheet music.

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