{mosimage}TORONTO - It’s touted as the first “national conversation” on Catholic education in Canada.

The Catholic Education: A National Conversation conference is expected to draw 400 parents, students, teachers, school administrators, clergy and trustees to Ottawa Sept. 26-27 for the inaugural conference.

Our schools are communities of faith

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Dear Readers,

{mosimage}Among Pope Benedict’s many thought-provoking speeches during his spring visit to the United States was a particularly important one on Catholic education. Though it received some coverage, the Pope’s insights into the role of Catholic schools were too often lost among the attention given to the most visual and spectacular aspects of his visit.

Catholic schools top public counterparts 

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{mosimage}TORONTO - In separate research, two economists with ties to the C.D. Howe Institute have found Catholic schools are outperforming public schools in Ontario on standardized tests.

The economists believe competition between the two publicly funded systems may, in part, explain higher success rates for Grade 3 and 6 pupils in Catholic schools when compared with their public school counterparts.

African AIDS orphans to get a new school

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{mosimage}A Catholic high school in which every student has lost at least one parent to AIDS has turned the sod on a new permanent home on the edge of Africa’s second largest slum.

Education integral to church

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{mosimage}Editor’s note: The following is the complete text of Pope Benedict XVI’s speech to American Catholic educators in Washington, DC, on April 17.

“How beautiful are the footsteps of those who bring good news” (Rom 10:15-17). With these words of Isaiah quoted by St. Paul, I warmly greet each of you — bearers of wisdom — and through you the staff, students and families of the many and varied institutions of learning that you represent. It is my great pleasure to meet you and to share with you some thoughts regarding the nature and identity of Catholic education today.

Catholics schools threatened by hostile secularism, bishop says

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - The threat to the existence of publicly funded Catholic schools in Ontario is a symptom of an even greater and growing hostility to religion in the public square, warns Bishop Paul-André Durocher.

“If we want to save our Catholic schools, what we have to save is the place of religion in Canadian society,” the bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall diocese said Sept. 28.

Virtues should trump values in character education

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 {sidebar id=2}TORONTO - Catholic school programs on character development should focus on virtues instead of values, says a new document by the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The August paper by the OCCB’s Education Commission led by Alexandria-Cornwall Bishop Paul Andre Durocher, entitled Character Development and the Virtuous Life, said a focus on virtues “helps us re-acquire a valuable concept in our tradition, compels us to recognize God’s role in the character development of our students and helps us focus on specific habits that foster and protect the freedoms to which we are called.”

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.

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.