Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Catholic education takes its lead from Jesus Himself: “Go therefore and make  disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have  commanded you.” (Mt 28.19-20) Simply, this means announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ and helping one another to become His disciples.

We do this by first listening to the proclamation of the Gospel. Then, after having received the Word, we begin to integrate it into our lives. We let Jesus’ words  and  actions shape us and form us to be his disciples, his witnesses to others. Then,  as Jesus’ disciples, we can be his hands and feet and eyes to spread the Good News.

Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world
.… Christ has no body now on earth but yours
. (St. Teresa of Avila)

As an integral part of the Church, Catholic schools have been given the responsibility to deliver Catholic education.  They are  part of the Church’s evangelizing mission in the world and are “the privileged environment in which Christian education is carried out.” (The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, Congregation for Catholic Education, 1997, n. 11)

They form a community to spread and deepen the faith; to form the human person with an outlook to his or her final end as well as the common good of society. In developing their physical, moral, and intellectual talents, they help their students acquire a more perfect sense of responsibility and the right use of freedom. (cf. Gravissimum educationis, n.1) Fidelity to the truth of Christ ensures the effectiveness of their mission.

As we celebrate Catholic Education Sunday, it is good to reflect on the importance and the need of Catholic education, not only for our students, but also for the good of our communities and society as a whole.

May Christ the Teacher inspire us and guide us in the coming year to be his disciples, his hands and feet and his eyes to all those we encounter. God bless you.

Catholic Bishops of Alberta and NWT
Most Reverend Richard W. Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton

Most Reverend Gregory J. Bittman
Auxiliary Bishop of Edmonton

Most Reverend David Motiuk
Bishop of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton

Most Reverend Paul Terrio
Bishop of St. Paul
Most Reverend Frederick Henry
Bishop of Calgary
Most Reverend Gerard Pettipas CSsR
Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan

Most Reverend Mark Hagemoen
Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith

November 2016

Download the letter for print (PDF)

Download the letter in French (PDF)