Features

{mosimage}An article in the Oct. 12 issue begins with the headline, “Silence will doom Catholic schools.” It describes the view of an Alberta constitutional lawyer, Kevin Feehan. As one who has been involved in the Ontario school question since 1962, I say, “It depends.”

If, in a year or two, Ontario Catholics get worked up so that even a few shout, “We’ll show them that Catholics won’t be pushed around,” it will make headlines and we lose our own schools. They enrol 660,000 students today. The entire system will disappear just as it did in Newfoundland in 1998.

Split-grade system needs to be reworked

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The provincial cap on primary class sizes needs to be more flexible to avoid having too many split-grade classes that can cause disruptions in classrooms, say some Ontario Catholic school boards.

The Hamilton-Wentworth, London and Toronto Catholic school boards are calling for more flexibility to the policy.

Parent group calls for trustee resignations

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{mosimage}TORONTO - In the wake of a long-awaited audit report of Toronto’s Catholic school board, at least six school trustees who will be repaying the  board for “inappropriate expenses” should resign, according to a Catholic parents’ group.

The Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network also says that the twice-delayed provincial audit won’t restore public trust and confidence in the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Catholic education has value of a pearl

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic education is like a “pearl of great price” which must be treasured and protected, says Hamilton Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Bergie.

“If we believe that Catholic education is a pearl of great wisdom, we need to guard it,” Bergie said in a keynote address to a packed auditorium of more than 1,300 teachers Oct. 24 at the 13th annual When Faith Meets Pedagogy conference that ran Oct. 23 to 25. The conference at Toronto’s DoubleTree Hilton was organized by the Catholic Curriculum Co-operative, which includes 17 Ontario school boards, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association and the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario.

Project offers poor students equal chance

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{mosimage}TORONTO - When one of her Grade 1 students didn’t bring a lunch to school one day, Hamilton, Ont., principal Dorothy Spence says she started thinking about whether other students also went hungry.

Spence called the six-year-old’s mother to ask why he didn’t bring a lunch and the angry mother’s response was that she expected the child to pack his own lunch.

The evolution of Heaven and Hell

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{mosimage}In the 14th century the Italian writer and scholar Dante Alighieri wrote his famous poem, the “Divine Comedy,” in which he presented a Catholic vision of the Inferno, the Purgatorio and the Paradiso — Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. But the Christian doctrine of the afterlife did not start with Dante. It predates the poet by more than 2,000 years and has its roots in ancient Jewish thought.  

The Old Testament speaks of the deceased descending to a subterranean place of the dead called Sheol. Part of Sheol was reserved for the righteous, who found rest and comfort there; another part, however, was set aside for those who did not keep God’s Covenant. This dark side of Sheol was identified with Hell or Gehenna.  

School boards going green

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic school boards in Ontario and Alberta are going green.

At least 10 environmentally friendly schools are being planned within the next two years to accommodate new students, although concerns about declining enrolment are still on the horizon.

Voicing Catholic education concerns for 70 years

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Parents need a provincial voice to speak up for Catholic education, says the president of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education.

And that, says Brian Evoy, is what the OAPCE has been doing on behalf of Catholic parents for the past seven decades. The organization celebrates its 70th anniversary next year.

Eucharistic procession a first at SFU

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{mosimage}BURNABY, B.C. - Students, faculty, staff and visitors to Simon Fraser University (SFU) braved the light rain on a chilly Oct. 16 morning to make history for the university and the archdiocese of Vancouver.

Marking the centennial of the archdiocese, Archbishop Raymond Roussin made his first visit to the Burnaby campus to lead the very first eucharistic procession from the interfaith centre to the hub of the campus in the Academic Quadrangle. Singing hymns throughout the procession, the elaborate entourage included a Knights of Columbus colour guard, several altar servers with incense and candles and more than 80 Catholics eager to give witness to the faith.

The great Catholic leadership search

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{mosimage}TORONTO - There’s a job opening at the University of St. Michael’s College. The college’s board of governors has tried to replace retired president Richard Alway before, but this time he’s really gone and the governors don’t have the option of extending Alway one more time.

There’s a similar story brewing at Ottawa’s bilingual Saint Paul University, where attempts to replace rector Fr. Dale Schlitt have foundered, again.

Rethinking papal infallibility

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{mosimage}TORONTO - For 138 years the dogma of papal infallibility has inspired waves of harsh condemnation and deep suspicion from other Christians. The irony is that the church approved this teaching in the name of church unity.

Margaret O’Gara, president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Michael’s College, has been thinking about papal infallibility more than 30 years. She thinks it’s time to rethink what the dogma means, and how Catholics put it into practice.