Dear Teacher, Thank you…

Out for summer, Out till fall, We might not come back at all, School’s out forever, School’s out for summer, School’s out with fever, School’s out completely…” Alice Cooper, “School’s Out

The start of June, normally a time of excitement as we look forward to the beginning of summer and the end of school, this year it brings more uncertainty.  The past month started in Ontario with the celebration of Catholic Education Week (May 3rd to May 8th, 2020).  The week was dedicated to the theme “Igniting Hope”, emphasizing the role of our schools as places of hope, community building, and social justice advocacy.  The month ended with the announcement by Ontario Premier Doug Ford on May 19th, 2020, that all publicly funded schools will stay closed for the remainder of the school year.

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The theme of the 2020 Catholic Education Week was “Igniting Hope”, emphasizing the role of our schools as places of hope, community building, and social justice advocacy

As parents struggle to balance the many demands of life during the pandemic, another month (at least!?) of homeschooling can seem like a daunting challenge.  The value of schools and the important role of all those working within them, has become abundantly clear.  While it might feel like “school’s out forever”, the efforts of our educators to provide resources and online learning opportunities, delivers hope and maintains a sense of community.  Their expertise and creativity is a much needed source of strength, structure, and encouragement.

1 -Bishop John Farrell

Bishop John Farrell, first Ordinary of the Diocese of Hamilton, was committed to supporting the development of schools, colleges, and libraries.

Since the establishment of the Diocese of Hamilton in 1856, fostering excellence in education has been a foundational role of diocesan initiatives.  Our Bishop Farrell Library & Archives is named for our first Ordinary, Bishop John Farrell, who was dedicated to establishing a solid Catholic school system.  By the end of his tenure (1856 – 1863) twenty-six separate schools were functioning in the Diocese of Hamilton.  Bishop Farrell also encouraged the founding of what has become St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo and established the first Catholic library in the City of Hamilton.  The Diocese of Hamilton has continued to worked toward promoting quality education for all, through the efforts of our Bishops, clergy, religious communities, and layity.  There are currently seven Catholic School Boards within our boundaries (Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board, Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board, Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir, Halton Catholic District School Board, Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board, Waterloo Catholic District School Board, and Wellington Catholic District School Board). St. Jerome’s University endures as a public Roman Catholic university, federated with the University of Waterloo in 1960 and the Diocese of Hamilton supports the pastoral care of students at McMaster University in Hamilton, The University of Guelph, The University of Waterloo and Laurier University in Waterloo.  The Diocese of Hamilton is committed to supporting education at all levels, “from kindergarten to university and beyond” (Vicar for Education, Diocese of Hamilton https://hamiltondiocese.com/vicar-for-education.php).

In honour of all educators, below are a few photographs showcasing the history of education within the Diocese of Hamilton.  Thank you for your knowledge, dedication, and hope!