Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” – Matthew 1:23

As we prepare to go our separate ways, we anticipate all the moments which so characterize this season and which make us feel more in relationship with those we love.  As we journey to Bethlehem, I offer thanks for the year we have had, and in particular, for opening months of our 2018-19 school year.  There is so much that makes the various people who make up our board unique, and yet we are all held together by one remarkable thread – our support and advocacy for the children and schools we serve, and our faith which guides us.

As Director I have a privileged position to see a wide breadth of the goodness that happens in our board.  Consistently I am amazed by the gestures large and small that make such a difference to so many.  Whether it be through a thoughtful act for just one child in a challenging spot, to a school-wide charitable event, to dedication to extra-curriculars or support of our fellow colleagues.  You live out our vision, acting as the hands, feet and heart of Jesus in our various WCDSB communities.

A true highlight of the past year was our grounding in the new pastoral letter Renewing the Promise which has become a foundational cornerstone for our work in Catholic education, and specifically here at WCDSB.  As I reflected upon that I took pride in how strongly we reflect “a community that builds relationships”.  There are those we know who are suffering due to loss or personal circumstance, but we find ways to hold these people “in the palm of our hand”.  We create moments for families, empower children and youth, find the face of Jesus in those we serve and we make a difference.  Many will know a happy Christmas because of your efforts.

In the New Year we will transition from our current Pastoral Plan and Year of Faith to our new Pastoral Plan and The Year of Belonging.  The journey of the cross, which has been exemplified by the Pilgrimage Cross these past 14 months, begins with the nativity and now we slow our pace to remember the greatest gift ever given.  The promise of new hope and all that is possible.  We are called to belong to a community that forms joyful disciples – called to bear witness to the Good News.

So as we embark on this time with family and friends, let us not forget the reason for this season. Inundated with visits to make, gifts to wrap, parking spots to be had, decorations to perfect, dishes to prepare, then wash, and credit card balances that often leave an imbalance in our own lives, let us do our best to remember the hope, peace, joy and love that the season is really all about.

We are a system with a difference and as we hasten toward the manger, let us quiet our hearts and open our minds to the joy that is Christmas, to the simple pleasures that delight and to the miracles of the season.  If we do so, perhaps we will be fortunate to return in 2019 with a renewed spirit, called to our vocation of service and faith formation.

May we look to forward to 2019 with anticipation and hope.  May it bring a year of health, happiness, wisdom and  peace.   On behalf of the senior team, may each of you encounter the love of the Christ Child now and throughout the coming year.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten
Director of Education