In preparation for the October 21st municipal elections, the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have released a pastoral letter reflecting on the importance of Catholic education and the ministry of a Catholic school trustee.

"Our intention in doing so is to encourage your participation in the electoral process and to offer considerations to guide your discernment of the appropriate candidate," the Bishops said in the letter, which was read at September 28-29 masses in the Archdiocese of Edmonton.

"Catholics have the right to a publicly funded Catholic education. From this right arises the responsibility of the Catholic community to seek out and choose from among its members those with the gifts required to strengthen and protect our Catholic schools through the ministry of trustee.

"Christian leadership assumes various roles in our community. One such role is that of the Catholic school trustee. As the name indicates, the trustee is one to whom has been entrusted by the Church and the electorate the serious responsibility of governance. In the context of the Alberta educational system, the trustees who protect and govern our schools are in a unique position. “Catholic Separate” schools have two classes of rights, duties and responsibilities. There are those conferred by civil legislation (the provincial School Act) and shared with all other schools and those conferred by Canon Law (the universal law of the Church) upon the Catholic school. These two lines of accountability require of trustees that they be not only stewards with exceptional governance skills but also people of faith and commitment to the Church and her mission."

Read the full text of the Bishops' letter