Fr. Paul MacNeil
Our Lady of the Scapular Church
6557 Thorold Stone Road
Niagara Falls, ON
December 6, 2016
Bishop Bergie, Vice-Chair Burtnik, fellow trustees, Director Crocco, superintendents, administration and honoured guests. I would like once again to thank the Board of Trustees for their confidence in me in my continued role as Board Chair.
In my role as Chair for the past several years, I have learned three things about us as a Board: First, I have learned first-hand of our unwavering commitment to Catholic education in Niagara and Ontario. If I may point out one particularly positive initiative, the new religion curriculum developed by the Bishops of Ontario is stunning in its depth and breadth. I must commend the bishops of Ontario and all those who have worked so hard at making this a reality. I foresee over time that this will have an incredibly positive impact on our board.
Secondly, I have learned first-hand of the value of a board of trustees working together to guide and protect our Board. Now, more so than ever, we are a group of eight individuals with strong and passionate ideals, but we come together as one body, sharing a deep concern for the spiritual well-being of our children. Scott Peck, in his book The Road Less Travelled, had a name for this care for the spiritual well-being of another: He called it love. It is the foundation of our organization.
Thirdly, as we face the future with all its challenges and opportunities, we must face that future together, not just as a board of eight trustees, but all 25,000 of us. And here I turn to our Mission Statement: “The Niagara Catholic District School Board, through the charisms of faith, social justice, support and leadership, nurtures an enriching Catholic learning community for all to reach their full potential and become living witnesses of Christ.”
This statement is anchored in another statement, which comes first in every way: Our mission to love one another as Christ has loved us. So I conclude with a quotation from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:
“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4: 1-6)
May God bless you tonight and always.
View Father Paul MacNeil’s remarks here.