By Editor

May 4, 2020

A Province in Need of Catholic Education Week

The annual Catholic Education Week program developed by OCSTA for students in Ontario’s Catholic District School Boards has a different feel this year given that school buildings are closed as a result of the pandemic. Students will be taught the curriculum through virtual or online connections with their teachers.

But perhaps what is more important about this year’s Catholic Education Week is the theme – “Igniting Hope.” After more than 6 weeks of quarantine and self isolation, communities are vocalizing a need for hope, and as a Christ-centred school system, Ontario’s Catholic schools have always been about hope.

The 2020 Catholic Education Week promotion is an opportunity to share this message of hope, the goodness of Catholic education and the stories of service that punctuate the daily life of students, staff, families and parisioners in our Catholic school communities.

The curriculum, prayers,  reflections, CDSB highlights, video messages and the official Catholic Education Week song – Hope – by Brant Haldimand CDSB Educator Chris Rait are all located on the  Catholic Education Week Page.

The five sub-themes for Catholic Education Week this year are:

Day 1: Our Hope in Christ / Notre espérance, c’est le Christ
Day 2: The Hope Within Us / L’espérance en nous
Day 3: The Hope Among Us / L’espérance au milieu de nous
Day 4: Hope for the World / L’espérance pour le monde
Day 5: A Future Full of Hope / Un avenir rempli d’espérance

OCSTA would like to express our sincere gratitude to the teachers and religious education consultants who have kindly given their time and expertise to develop this year’s Catholic Education Resources:

Paul Beaudette, Hamilton-Wentworth CDSB

Janet Bentham, Ottawa CSB

Sister Pat Carter, Huron-Superior CDSB

Nancy Davie, York CDSB

Laura Hughes, Office provincial de l’éducation de la foi catholique de l’Ontario

Sébastien Lacroix, Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir

Amy LaFroy, Toronto CDSB

Stephanie Maher, Simcoe Muskoka CDSB

Michael Nerino, Northwest CDSB

Katharine Stevenson, Halton CDSB

Murray Watson, Simcoe Muskoka CDSB

We also wish to thank all staff and parents for supporting our young people throughout this period of distance learning and additionally share our appreciation for all the clergy, bishops and the Cardinal who sent out beautiful messages and celebrated Mass for our families and Catholic Education Week.

Please enjoy this event and share and promote in your networks, especially social media. Our hashtags are #IgnitingHope and #CEW2020.


CEW Board Highlights

Around the province CDSB students and staff are making a difference in lives through their countless acts of Christian service. Below are a few “Good News” highlights reflecting these stories:

York CDSB: The Hope Street Initiative
CDSB of Eastern Ontario: Helping Families in Perth


Catholic Education Week Provincial Mass

We are pleased to announce that we will be welcoming His Eminence, Cardinal Collins to celebrate a provincial Mass for Catholic Education Week on Wednesday, May 6th at 10 a.m.  Due to current restrictions on gatherings, this provincial Mass will be broadcast live and made accessible online. To participate please click on the following link at 10 a.m. on May 6:



CEW Song – Igniting Hope

We would like to acknowledge and thank composer and performer of this year’s inspiring theme song for Catholic Education Week – Educator Chris Rait of the Brant Haldimand Norfolk CDSB. The song Chris composed is called “Hope” and the audio file can be downloaded and enjoyed by clicking here.


OCSTA’s 90th Anniversary

As explained in a recent memo to all trustees and directors of education, OCSTA’s planned 90th Anniversary celebration event has been tentatively postponed until January. While the in-person celebration will hopefully take place in the coming months, we have created an online centre to currently recognize the important role of democratically elected Catholic trustees in the history, advocacy and protection of publicly funded Catholic education in Ontario.

We invite all OCSTA members and supporters of Catholic education across Canada to visit, view and share the information and resources presented on the Association’s 90th Anniversary website at:

On this page you will see links to the various brief statements on the local Catholic trustee experience submitted by Catholic Trustees from across Ontario under the section “Catholic Trustee Voices Today”. We would like to thank the following trustees for sharing their unique experiences:

PVNC CDSB Vice-Chair David Bernier

The Northwest CDSB Vice-Chair Kathy Bryck

Huron-Superior Trustee Leslie Cassidy-Amadio

Ottawa CSB Trustee John Curry

Wellington CDSB Trustee Andrew Finoro

Wellington CDSB Chair Marino Gazzola

Superior North CDSB Trustee Shirley Jean

Superior North CDSB Trustee Lawrence McParland

Ottawa CSB Vice-Chair Sandra Moore

Durham CDSB Chair Janice Oldman

Wellington CDSB Trustee Joe Tersigni

St. Clair CDSB Chair John Van Heck

The Board of Directors of the Sudbury CDSB

We greatly appreciate the letters of recognition and congratulations received from government officials and education partners including: His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins; Premier of Ontario, The Hon. Doug Ford; His Excellency, Terrance Prendergast, Archbishop of Ottawa; The Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson; His Excellency Bishop Fabbro, President, ACBO; Liz Stuart, President, OECTA; Ontario Association for Parents in Catholic Education; Paula Scott, President, CCSTA, and; Cathy Abraham, President, OPSBA. All letters can be viewed on the OCSTA 90th Anniversary web page.


Brief Submission

OCSTA recently submitted a brief to the Ontario Human Rights Commission in response to the current Right to Read Inquiry. The submission was developed with substantial input from our Catholic school boards and represents a detailed response to the Terms of Reference to the Right to Read Inquiry. The brief articulates how Catholic school boards effectively works with students who have learning and reading disabilities, their families, and various experts and professionals to develop programs and services that strive to meet the individual needs of students. Learning to read is a foundational goal for student achievement and a driving force for educational programs in Catholic Schools.

Read the OCSTA Brief



CDSB Innovation Centre

Recognizing the distinctive nature of Catholic education and both the challenges and opportunities of online learning, CDSBs have and continue to develop resources to support the virtual learning framework in ways that are aligned to the Catholic education focus on the development of the whole child (academic, spiritual, physical and social aspects).


To help promote and share the best practices of our Catholic School boards, OCSTA has established on the provincial website a center for CDSB Innovation with respect to current virtual learning initiatives.

To view the current CDSB Innovation page please visit:




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