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Catholic Education FAQ

In Alberta, public schools and Catholic schools are both publicly funded. Teachers in both systems follow the same Program of Studies with outcomes for core subjects - math, language arts, social studies, and science as well as complementary courses/options - physical education, music, art, drama, career and technology studies, second languages, and so on. Both Catholic and public schools provide bussing to students and have teachers who have earned at least a Bachelor of Education from an accredited college or university

Religious instruction, prayer, liturgies/celebrations of Christian feasts (e.g. feast day of school’s patron saint) and liturgical seasons (e.g. Advent, Lent, Christmas, Easter), a common belief/value system based on the Gospel values, understanding that all are made in God’s image and are to be treated with dignity and respect, and our connection with our local Catholic parishes. The principle of sacramentality is a guiding principle in Catholic schools. It is our belief that we live in a sacred world created by God, so every element of creation present in nature, including human beings, offers us the opportunity to encounter something of God’s presence. All that we learn can lead us to discover more and more about God’s presence in our world. Our daily activities, service to others, interactions with people and ideas, prayer and celebrations are opportunities to connect with God.

No. Our schools welcome Catholic students, students from other Christian denominations, students whose families practice other world religions, and students who have no religious affiliation. All that happens in our schools is guided and directed by Catholic principles.

Students will learn about the sacrament of baptism in our religion program. Students who express an interest in being baptized will be encouraged to talk with their parents and school staff can bridge the communication with the church if so desired by the parent.

You can expect that your child will be treated with respect and dignity as a beloved child of God. The Catholic faith is central to who we are and what we do in Catholic schools, and we are proud to profess it. We look for the face of Christ in every student and believe that each has inherent dignity because each is created in the image and likeness of God. Catholic schools are concerned with the intellectual, physical, spiritual, and emotional formation and education of students. 

We are disciples of Jesus Christ, grounded in Sacred Scripture and Tradition. With the blessing of our pope and bishops, we endeavour to provide Catholic education in our communities. Every subject is taught from a Catholic perspective and permeated or infused with our Catholic faith. Students have religion class regularly and are expected to attend religious celebrations during the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter, as well as other times throughout the school year.

Christianity is based on a relationship with Jesus, and Catholic schools value opportunities to present our needs to God and to listen to God’s voice. Each day begins with morning prayer. This may be led within the classroom, read over the intercom from the office, or shared digitally in the classroom. Grace before the lunch break, prayer at the beginning of classes, prayer at the end of the day, and prayer in times of special need are common. While we encourage parents, first educators of their children in faith, to teach their children to pray, we also teach fundamental prayers of our faith in the early grades.  Common Catholic prayers are the Our Father/Lord’s Prayer and Hail, Mary. Students are invited and encouraged to lead and participate in prayer throughout the day.

We teach all subjects from a Catholic perspective and make connections between subject matter and our Catholic faith whenever possible. This is known as faith permeation and integration. Because of the principle of sacramentality, we look to understand the world in which we live through the lens of our Catholic faith. Students in Catholic schools learn that faith and reason work hand in hand and not in opposition to each other. Here are just a few examples of what permeation or integration can look like:

  • In science, teachers help students understand that the complex patterns that exist in nature reflect God, who created them. 
  • In language arts or English class, teachers may draw connections between literature and biblical narratives and reflect on the actions of characters in novels in the light of biblical virtue. 
  • In social studies, students may be challenged to reflect on the morality of historical events in the light of Catholic social teaching, the Ten Commandments, and Christ’s two great commandments - to love God and to love one’s neighbour as one’s self.
  • In music class, teachers have the opportunity to choose repertoire that reflects our Christian heritage, such as Christmas Carols with sacred texts. 

Yes. Students participate in all faith assemblies according to their experience, knowledge, and faith tradition - as they are able. Students who have received First Communion at a Catholic parish are invited to receive the Eucharist at school Masses. All students are expected to attend all school celebrations, including Masses.

At religious assemblies for the whole school in the school gym or at the local parish church, family members are always welcome. Please check with your child’s teacher regarding class celebrations or liturgies, as space may be limited.

Our schools are closely connected with our Catholic parishes, as we believe that Catholic education is best achieved in a three-way partnership with home, school, and parish. Our schools take students to the church for Masses or liturgies for the whole school at least four times a year (e.g. start of the school year, Advent, Lent/Easter, year-end Mass).

Clergy from local parishes, priests and deacons, may visit schools to dialogue with students and staff or celebrate liturgies.  At the church, the priests may hear confessions (celebrate the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation). Pastoral associates and other parish team members may also visit classrooms from time to time or be present to assist with school celebrations.

The school religion program in all schools supports learning about sacraments in general. However, parents are asked to accompany their child(ren) to their local parish churches to be prepared to receive sacraments. These Catholic schools and their local parishes work closely to notify parents of sacramental preparation programs in the parish and registration deadlines. 

At school masses in the gym or local parish church, students and family members attending who have received First Communion and who are prepared are invited to receive the Eucharist. Both Catholic students and family members can receive. All other students are invited to come forward to receive a blessing from the priest or other adult distributing communion.

Religion teachers have a Catholic curriculum approved by the Catholic Bishops of Alberta. In Grades 1-8, students learn about faith through the Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ program.  This program includes an online portal through which students and their parents can access and explore for themselves.  Students in Grade 9 use a national program from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.  They learn about the Beatitudes, the 10 commandments and virtues. Our Catholic faith is integral to our identity. Our expectation is that students in our Catholic schools will be enrolled in religion each year that they attend our schools.

Our Catholic faith teaches us that all people are our brothers and sisters. Social justice and charity projects in Catholic schools are a reflection of the imperative to build the common good and to live out the works of mercy, which are tenets of our faith. Catholic schools collaborate with Catholic social agencies and community organizations to help those in need. Both local and global projects are common in Catholic schools.  Locally, our schools are committed to addressing needs in our areas as well as responding to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation report. On a global scale, we may work with organizations such as Development and Peace or Caritas.