Mass at the “Celebrating the Human Face of God” Catholic Principal’s Conference of Ontario conference

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Two cached articles from Catholic Principals Council of Ontario website cached 11/18/2010 (Father Jim Roth concelebrating Mass)

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Welcome to the 11th annual CPCO conference!

On behalf of the administrators of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, welcome to the city of Toronto and the 2009 CPCO annual conference. Our Director, John Kostoff and Chair of the Board, Mario Pascucci, as well as our very supportive senior administration and Board of Trustees, welcome all CPCO members from across the province. This year’s theme, Celebrating the Human Face of God is truly a reflection of our diverse community here in Dufferin-Peel. Our two-day conference will provide us with the strength to shepherd our community in faith, as well as provide spiritual hope to embrace and lead our diverse communities in this ever-changing world.

This is the 11th anniversary of the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario. On Thursday evening we open with the Liturgy of the Word, followed by dinner and our keynote speaker, Mr. Stephen Lewis. Mr. Lewis is one of the world’s most influential speakers on human rights, social justice and international development. This world renowned speaker will set the stage for our conference and help us to find within our school communities the reflection of God in the faces of each person that we encounter. He will also help us to embrace our work towards a campaign for social justice, equality and human dignity for each child that we touch.

On Friday morning the conference opens with our keynote speaker the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, minister of education. She will be speaking to us about the vision of leadership within the schools of Ontario. She will speak of some of the new initiatives that the Ministry introduced this year. This will be followed by a question period.

A number of excellent workshops have been arranged for this conference on a wide range of topics of professional and personal interest. There will be dynamic presentations on such topics as Aboriginal rights and education, differentiated learning, the welcoming and inclusion of English Language Learners (ELL students), the L’Arche community as diverse learners, conflict resolution, and many more. In addition to these professional and personal development workshops there will be time to ask questions and share new and innovative ideas with colleagues from across the province.

Throughout the day on Friday, you are encouraged to visit the vendor hall and meet the many exhibitors. Please remember to have your passports signed by each vendor that you visit and to enter the draws at the end of the day. Your generosity in purchasing the passports will go towards our ShareLife campaign for the Archdiocese of Toronto. ShareLife is one of the largest organizations that touches needy people throughout the province.

On Friday afternoon, we will celebrate the Eucharist with Bishop Peter J. Hundt who is the chair of the Ontario Conference of Bishops’ Social Affairs Commission and Father Jim Roth the chaplain of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. Our Gala Dinner will follow Mass.

The conference committee for 2009 is made up of elementary and secondary principals and vice-principals, some of whom worked on last year’s conference hospitality night. We thank them for their dedication and for the endless hours of work they have put in to make this conference the best it can be. We are excited to welcome you back to our Dufferin-Peel community as we Celebrate the Human Face of God, each with our own gifts and talents. Come together to proclaim Catholic education in the province of Ontario.

Silvana Gos and Sarah Russell
Conference Co-chairs

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

John 1:1,14

The “human face of God” is a recurring theme in the writings of Pope Benedict XVI. During a pastoral visit to South America he noted that “it is time to overcome the notable absence – in the political sphere, in the world of the media and in the universities – of the voices and initiatives of Catholic leaders with strong personalities and generous dedication, who are coherent in their ethical and religious convictions.” The Pope insisted that it is necessary for Christians who are active in these social and cultural roles to safeguard ethical values. Above all, he said, “Where God is absent – God with the human face of Jesus Christ – these values fail to show themselves with their full force.”

In John’s passage the word “flesh” refers to humanity in contrast to God. This Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. God’s presence was incarnated as a fully alive human being. It is in the mystery of the Incarnation that God chose to assume a human face. Jesus demonstrated for us that he is God’s Word. He revealed who God is and how God wants us to live by the way he lived for others.

One of the most amazing human qualities Jesus possessed was his concern and compassion for others. He felt the pain of the outcasts and wanted to ease their misery. He preferred the company of the downtrodden and sought out the tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes and sinners. He was harshly criticized for sharing meals with these people who were considered to be at the lower end of the social ladder. He dealt publicly with people who were blind, deaf, lame and diseased, healing their bodies and their spirits. He helped people to deal with life’s challenges, and thereby revealed God to them. I often wonder who Jesus would choose to be with if he were on earth today?

It is fitting that we gather to celebrate the human face of God at our annual conference in Toronto. We are reminded that as Catholic leaders we are called each day to be the human face of God to our students, staffs, parents and the broader community, and to see the human face of God in them. This is a huge responsibility and one that demands courage, determination and faith. It is our prophetic role to reach out to the marginalized, the estranged, and the “poor in spirit.”

This year’s conference is hosted by the principals and vice-principals of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, and like many other districts across Ontario, it is blessed with a diverse population. Dufferin-Peel also hosted the conference in 2002 and those who attended will remember the well-organized, professional conference it was. The CPCO academic and office staff have worked in collaboration with the Dufferin-Peel conference committee members to offer outstanding professional workshops and renowned keynote speakers.

The conference will begin with the Liturgy of the Word on Thursday evening and a keynote address from Stephen Lewis, one of the world’s most influential humanitarians. Friday’s line-up will include a keynote address from the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, minister of education, time to attend two workshop sessions, and the vendors’ display. The day’s events will culminate in a celebration of the Eucharist con-celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, the Most Rev. Peter J. Hundt and Father Jim Roth the chaplain of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. The evening’s festivities will include the Gala Dinner and awards celebration.

On behalf of the executive council I wish to thank Sarah Russell and Silvana Gos, the conference co-chairs and their organizing committee from the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board for working with the CPCO staff in order to make this conference an inspiring and enlightening learning experience.

Many thanks to Director of Education John Kostoff and the senior administration team of the Dufferin-Peel CDSB for their support.

Come and join us in Toronto April 30th to May 1st in Celebrating the Human Face of God!

Joan Duckitt
CPCO President
2008-2009

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