By Glen Argan
Edmonton Catholic Schools faces two major challenges at this point in its history.
The first challenge is represented by the temptation to react to criticism by becoming defensive and withdrawing into a cocoon. Being Catholic can be the most exciting and liberating experience in this world. Through our life in Jesus Christ, we can experience the fullness of humanity.
This experience should lead us to share our gifts, to be a field hospital for a hurting world. It is not that Catholics have their lives totally together or that we want to impose our views on society. Rather, Catholic education makes an enormous contribution to the well-being of Albertans.
So, while we want to humbly defend the constitutional right to Catholic education, our priority is not the protection of our own turf. Instead, we will strive to educate students so they mature into being the leaven in the dough. By living Catholic values, they inject the taste of the Transcendent into the banquet of life in our world.
Catholics do not impose their values; they witness to their spiritual power.
The second challenge faced by Edmonton Catholic Schools is to demonstrate by our actions that Catholic schools are different. They are different because of our faith in the Trinitarian God whose essence is love.
This is a challenge above all for the board of trustees whose actions should be characterized by justice, mercy and reconciliation. If the trustees cannot work together in harmony, they cannot expect staff and students to do so either. The trustees and top administrators must set the tone they expect others to follow.
These are our two challenges. First, we must avoid defensiveness and insularity, and reach out to serve Alberta society. Second, we ourselves must set an example of love and harmony.
(Glen Argan is a candidate for the Edmonton Catholic school board in Ward 75.)