By: Alison Bradish
“We are all children of God!”, will be the new motto of the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division (HTCSD). The quote is based on Galatians 3:26 and staff of the HTCSD were presented the theme at the annual Faith Day retreat in Moose Jaw August 28th.
Fr. George Thattuparampil, presider for the opening Mass and pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish in Moose Jaw, said teachers are called to be like Christ, pouring themselves out for their students. He acknowledged how important it was for staff to gather before they go out and serve, “Once in awhile we have to come together like this, to sing like this. ‘Our soul is thirsting for God.”
“Teachers, you are the visible sign of God,” said Thattuparampil. He said the high calling of the teacher is that of unconditional love like Jesus. “You can love me or not, but I will love you.”
The Faith Day also included a retreat by the renowned Catholic composer and musician Steve Angrisano who has performed at the last six World Youth Days. The division will use his song “Love is What We Need” as their theme song this year.
Jodie Bzdel, Religion Coordinator and Learning Consultant for HTCSD, had been trying for the last couple of years to book Angrisano to speak to HTCSD staff after hearing one of his sessions at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.
One quote of Angrisano’s that stood out for Bzdel, was “Be alert to the differences between coincidences and God-incidents.” Bzdel said Angrisano challenged staff to think about who they were going to be this year, how they were going to model love and compassion.
Bzdel emphasized the HTCSD Faith Day is for all staff, because when it comes to the permeation of the faith everyone has a role. “It’s not just the teachers who are teaching the faith, it’s our bus drivers who see our kids first, they are the first face of our school division. I see kids talking to our caretakers if they have had a bad day or something, all the way up from Kindergarten to grade 12. They know they are all part of this. It’s not just what is happening in the classroom it is a whole school environment.”
Sean Chase, Director of Education for HTCSD, agrees saying he is often inspired by the examples set by his staff who are meeting students where they are at, and he says this is a powerful testimony to the spirit of the HTCSD.
This will be Chase’s second year as director, “What really has been impressed on me is the sense of family and community. …I have had the opportunity to observe our staff, regardless of what their field is, really create that sense of community. They have fabulous partnerships with our parishes which is a real strength of our school division.”
Chase noted how meaningful those connections with parishes were for students, many of whom may not have those opportunities otherwise.
HTCSD includes nine schools situated within the communities of Moose Jaw, Shaunavon and Swift Current.
Alison Bradish lives in Moose Jaw with her husband and two children. They attend St. Joseph’s Parish. She earned Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at the University of Regina. She is naturally curious about local and world events. She writes from her home where she strives to bloom where she is planted. She often feels pulled to the topics of religion, education and politics.
Page URL: http://archregina.sk.ca/news/2019/09/10/holy-trinity-school-district-faith-day-makes-meaningful-connections