Fr. Paul MacNeil

Our Lady of the Scapular Church
6557 Thorold Stone Road
Niagara Falls, ON
L2J 1B2
Bus:  905.358.7611
Res:  905.933.9386


Annual Organizational Meeting
of the Niagara Catholic District School Board
December 5, 2017

Vice-chair Vernal, 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. I also ask for your continued prayers for us as a board of trustees as we continue to lead this board into our final year of our tenure as trustees for the 2014-2018 term.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said that the structure of change is the same in every instance: something old passes away, something new comes into existence, but in order for there to be a genuine change, something must remain throughout. So here we stand, together, at the beginning of a new year, as we let go of the past and move confidently toward the future celebrating with renewed faith this moment of promise that is today, it is what remains unchanged that is most important.

So, what is it that is passing away? We are saying goodbye to the previous year, with all its blessings and opportunities, its victories and its successes, with its retirements and its job changes, with the ending of old policies and the creation of new ones. We are also saying goodbye to last year with all its challenges as well, to all the pain that comes from an organization that continues to grow, to learn, and to be alive.

What new comes into existence? We look forward in hope to a new year, a new start. We take the lessons that we have learned from last year and we apply them in new situations this year, hopefully recreating the victories we shared. It’s like seeing a blank page in which we, through the freedom of our own thoughts and the courage of expression, create our collective dreams, our hopes, or write a beautiful story, moving symphony or an in inspiring prayer.

But the most important aspect of any change is not what dies, and not even what we create, but what remains the same throughout the change. These things that remain the same throughout a change are the things that define us as human beings, and as an organization. Allow me to point out some things that haven’t changed: Our core mission to be the best board we can be by focusing on student achievement for all. Our dedication to the value of catholic education here in Niagara. Our Commitment to faith in Jesus Christ and his love and his mercy; and our own ability as a board of trustees, the 8 of us, to work together to learn from the past, to hope for the future, and to celebrate with renewed faith and energy, this moment of promise.

Not only do these values persist from year to year, but they persist across every aspect of our organization. All this is grounded in one thing: The unchanging love of Jesus for each one of us. Let us share that love by becoming, as our mission statement says, living witnesses of Christ. May God bless you tonight and always.