As we begin our Lenten journey, I want to offer my prayers for the people of Ukraine, and the HCDSB students, families and staff who belong to the Ukrainian community.
Our hearts are heavy as we read reports and see images in the media. As a Catholic school community, we are called to accompany our brothers and sisters, most especially during times of crisis. Pope Francis has appealed to Catholics across the world to designate Ash Wednesday as a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Ukraine. Praying can be a source of comfort, and a very meaningful way to offer support during times of crisis. I encourage all members of our Catholic community to join us as we offer our collective prayers for peace today on Ash Wednesday.
Lent is also a time when we are called to support others through charitable acts, and you may want to consider ways that you may be able to contribute to humanitarian efforts to support those directly impacted by this crisis, either through your school, your parish, or international relief organizations.
Resources and Supports
It has been a difficult two years – challenging in a variety of ways for many of us. The stress and anxiety we are already experiencing are compounded by global events – and certainly the news of war and violence around the world can shake our own sense of security, heightening feelings of fear, helplessness and vulnerability.
Student Mental Health Ontario have provided a resource for supporting students in response to world events: Ways to Support Students in Response to World Events
They also offer a number of resources to support families, school leaders and other staff:
- Supports for Parents and Families
- Supports for Educators
- Supports for School and System Leaders
- Supports for other School Staff
Finally, it is worth contemplating that in a world that is too often beset by darkness, pain and despair, we can take comfort knowing that our Catholic schools offer hope. I want to thank our staff for all they have done and continue to do to bring hope to the students and families we serve. Our schools are grounded in the truth of God’s unconditional love for each of us, and the promise of our Lenten journey – eternal life fulfilled through Christ’s death and resurrection.
As always, I keep all students, families and staff in my thoughts and prayers as we hold close the people of Ukraine, and all who have been devastated by war and violence in other parts of the world.
Director of Education
Halton Catholic District School Board