Back to School

Dear Parents,

We are pleased to welcome all our new and returning families to the 2016-2017 school year. Last year was certainly an exciting and challenging one with many fun and involving activities in our school. We hope everyone had a wonderful and fulfilling summer and are ready to get back to learning!

This year the theme for the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdioese (CISVA) is “Care for Our Common Home.” It rises from Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si” in which he appeals for the Church to become more concerned and involved in saving our environment. Below are excerpts taken from the introduction of Pope Francis’ letter in which he explains the urgency of the ecological situation we all face:

The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.

The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of  having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.

I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of  powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity.  As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”. All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.

It is my hope that this Encyclical Letter, which is now added to the body of the Church’s social teaching, can help us to acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face.