Letter from the Principal
Dear Parents, Students, St. Francis Xavier School and Parish Community members, and guests of this site,
Welcome to the new official website of St. Francis Xavier School. It is our hope that this newly designed and interactive website will help all members of the SFX School community communicate more efficiently to the betterment of all. We invite your feedback and suggestions.
St. Francis Xavier School is first and foremost a school centered in Christ. Everything that we are as a school is influenced and guided by our faith in Christ and love of God. St. Francis Xavier School is a school centred on evangelization as we strive to set a good example of a Catholic person to our non-Catholic brothers and sisters and invite them to join us as we work our way towards joining God in Heaven. Everything we are as a school revolves around the one simple fact that Jesus died on the cross for all of us and we need to respond to his call wholeheartedly.
We strive to teach to the whole child through a variety of differentiated learning. In doing so, we believe that we are strengthening the intellectual, physical and spiritual elements of every student. We believe in a school where there is equity and access to powerful teaching and learning for all students, where we as a school community continuously build a culture of collaboration, and we will always uphold the Catholic identity of the school.
The 2015-2016 theme for all Catholic schools in our Archdiocese is “Proclaim Jesus with Loving Hearts.” This theme speaks to our personal relationship with Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Traditionally, Catholics have been perceived by other denominations as not having such a personal relationship. Ironically enough, it has been pointed out that for the first time since the CISVA has come up with themes (a period of 34 years!) this is the first time that Jesus is mentioned by name.
In the spirit of the new evangelization, a spirit embraced and lived by Pope Francis, we are challenging ourselves to not just get to know Jesus more but be willing to proclaim that relationship to others. In the Gospel on Sunday, Peter rebukes Jesus for saying what is about to happen in terms of his arrest and ultimate crucifixion. Peter is afraid I believe; afraid that Jesus is right and that he could not follow a Messiah that would allow himself to be arrested and crucified. Jesus then gets angry at Peter for not understanding what Jesus has to do, for as he says to Peter, “you are thinking not as God does, but as humans do.” In other words Peter is not proclaiming Christ as Peter cannot accept Jesus for who he truly is and therefore is not proclaiming Jesus at all.
In order to proclaim Jesus we need to know what he did for us and how we should respond with love. Jesus died for the sins of all, not just the sins of the few. It is only natural and right that we, as his followers, are ready to give our lives back to him in love. We need to reach out to others and help others for the love of Jesus. As Christ again says during the same reading, “For whoever wants to save their lives will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake, and for the sake of the Gospel, will save it.” In other words, if we proclaim the true Jesus and we do it with love, then we will be true to what Jesus wants for us. This is the way to save our eternal lives in heaven with Jesus.
This theme holds special challenge for our school as it touches on how we as Catholics, along with our non-Catholic friends and classmates, are called to know Jesus and to proclaim him. Our school has only recently (I believe for the first time ever) had a population of over 50% Catholic students. Many people, when they hear this fact, wonder how we can teach the faith to our students. I believe it actually makes it easier in some regards to bring the children to an knowledge of and love for Jesus. Young children seem almost wired for a knowledge and love for Jesus. I think there is something about the notion of an all-powerful, all-knowing God that loves us unceasingly that seems natural and right to our younger students whether they be Catholic or not. We need to be as open to Jesus and his message of love that the younger students seem especially to accept and understand. We need to live our lives with joy, confident in the promises contained in the Gospel of eternal life in Heaven with Jesus. Often we can get weighed down by life and lose sight of this essential message.
We need to celebrate joy in our lives and realize that all joy comes from God; more to the point that real joy comes from God alone, not from possessions or power. Our school has a long and established reputation for being very generous to those in need. Beyond that though, we are also called as children of God to serve him humbly by helping our fellow travelers as we all journey to Heaven. Throughout this year, the staff will plan a variety of experiences for the students to exemplify the unique nature of our school.
In my years as principal of St. Francis Xavier School, when interviewing new parents who wish to join our school community, I always make it very plain that this is first and foremost a Catholic school. Students enrolled here will be taught Catholic beliefs and values, Catholic tradition, Catholic prayers, and be taken to Mass every week. I go further to say that the only reason this school exists is to teach the Catholic faith; other aspects of school life, such as academics or athletics, are secondary concerns. So far, every parent has been willing to accept this fact and enroll their children here and support the religious goals of our school.
However, this year, with our theme, I believe it holds a challenge for all parents, both Catholic and non-Catholic. For the Catholic families, it is incumbent upon you to live your faith daily proclaiming Jesus by your actions and words, setting a good example for your children and for other families you encounter at our school. It is through your example in sharing love with others while humbly serving our Lord Jesus Christ that hopefully more non-Catholic families will take that leap of faith and decide to join the Church and become better followers of Jesus in order to truly proclaim Jesus with loving hearts.
My hope is in this way we can reach out to our non-Catholic friends and welcome them into the family of God. Last year, we had 26 students get baptized at Easter time, many along with their entire families, which was a cause of great joy for our school and parish community. How wonderful it would be if we could increase that number this coming year!
Yours in Christ,
Mr. Brian Fader, Principal