In switching on the light of the Nativity scene, we wish for the light of Christ to be in us. A Christmas without light is not Christmas. Let there be light in the soul, in the heart; let there be forgiveness to others; let there be no hostilities, which are dark. Let there be the beautiful light of Jesus. This is my wish for all of you, when you turn on the light of the crib.” 

~~ Pope Francis

As the snow drifts downward to blanket our homes, 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 the opening months of our 2017-18 school year.  I have reflected on the many valued folks who have given so much to the communities they serve – through Advent and Christmas festivities, through extra-curriculars, by acts of kindness and charity, of fellowship and community, but also through their daily dedication and acts of service.  We are a People of Love, of Hope and of Faith at Waterloo Catholic, and so many of you give generously so that others may know a happy Christmas.

A true highlight of the past months was our shared celebration of our Spiritual Development Day, and the days that have followed that have launched our Waterloo Catholic Pilgrimage Cross.  The inspirational encounters of Jesus that have taken place have been genuine food for the soul and give testament to the power of the cross, when we invite it into our hurried lives.  It is indeed gratifying to see the varied members of our extended Waterloo Catholic family both joining in and taking note of our celebrations.  The journey of the cross begins with the nativity however, and now we slow our pace to remember the greatest gift ever given.  The promise of new hope and all that is possible.

At this time of year when many suffer due to losses or personal circumstance, it is heartening to realize that our schools offer so much to so many.  In virtually all of our schools we see hampers being assembled, awareness campaigns that are launched, fundraising for and participation in causes such as Toonies for Tuition, The Working Centre and The House of Friendship, along with careful support for those experiencing loss.  Thank you for all you do in this regard.

Our students are brought to a greater fulfillment of the Catholic Graduate Expectations by the activities noted above, as well as the varied and diverse ways they are called to their learning.  I am consistently humbled by the range of artistic, theatrical and musical productions, the athletics, the classroom experiences – all of which are assembled and brought to life by the good will of so many of our staff.  Our “Faith in Action” profiles on the board website are amazing testament to all that happens daily in our schools.  Pride is the overwhelming emotion one experiences as you review the images, stories and videos assembled.

Earlier this fall the Renewing the Promise Symposium was held in Toronto and it was a time for representatives of Catholic Education to gather and reflect upon our collective calling.  To discern how our mission and vision has to evolve.  We must take time to personally reflect on that vocation – to discern the truth of our calling in Catholic education.  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 2018 with a renewed spirit, called to our vocation of service and faith formation.

May we look to forward to 2018 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.

~~ Loretta Notten, Director of Education