By Glen Argan
What does it mean – or should it mean – to be a Catholic school trustee?
Start with the basics, the precepts of the Church: Attend Mass on Sundays and holydays, confess your sins, make your Easter duty, fast and abstain from meat on prescribed days, and contribute financially to the Church. That is the rock-bottom minimum for being considered an active Catholic.
If you plan to assume a public role in the Church, such as school trustee, you had better push it further. Above all, know the teachings of the Church in detail, and witness your faith with action. Read and pray with Scripture. Ask, What would Jesus do? Be self-critical.
Maybe you are involved in liturgical ministries in your parish. More importantly, you should be a living witness to the Catholic faith in your home, workplace and recreational activities. Defend Catholic teachings in a quiet, non-confrontational manner.
If you’re doing all of the above, you’re doing very well.
Still, if you are going to take on a public lay leadership role in the Church, you need to be a builder of unity. For St. Paul, this was the acid test. If you are working to build unity, the Spirit is with you; if you are a source of division, the Spirit is definitely not in the picture.
A Catholic school trustee needs to be a listener more than a talker, a bridge-builder more than a self-proclaimed prophet. Be a leader, not a know-it-all expert.
If you think God has called you to be a trustee, check it out. Discern your calling through the events of your life and the counsel of others. Don’t presume that you know God’s will for yourself until the voters have spoken. The last thing a Catholic school board needs are trustees who think they have a direct pipeline to God.
Edmonton Catholic Schools, now more than ever, needs trustees who will lead by example and not disgrace our schools and our Church. Trustees who will quietly build bridges and not put themselves at the centre of a circus.
The education of our children and grandchildren depends on it.
(Glen Argan is a candidate for the Edmonton Catholic school board in Ward 75.)