From the London District Catholic School Board
On February 21st, 2013 the London District Catholic School Board (LDCSB), the Diocese of London Outreach Youth Ministries, and The Institute for Catholic Formation hosted a Justice Symposium. Working in partnership with the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Brescia University College and Kings University College, 150 Grade 10 students and 40 adults participated in this opportunity.
The students came from the eight Secondary Schools of the LDCSB. The students were accompanied by the Chaplaincy leader and a teacher from their schools. The day included opportunities for prayer and worship, a series of ‘Ted-talks’ highlighting the principles of justice, individual reflection, small group activities and an series of outdoor education activities designed to reinforce the principles of our Catholic Social Teaching (CST).
We asked our Chaplaincy leaders and teachers to choose a variety of students – those who have an interest in justice, those who do not; those who model excellent learning skills, those who do not; those who are not known to the administrators and those who are regular visitors to the office!
The ‘way we prayed’ throughout the day helped us to understand that worship, learning, and faith witness go hand-in-hand.
To ensure the success of the day, we called upon the prayerful support of the Sisters of the Precious Blood and Fr. Michael Ryan. With winter winds threatened bus delays and slowed down traffic on the day before and after the symposium, we had the perfect day for the symposium and the outdoor activities of the day. Now if we can only get our students to dress for the weather!
Fr. Ryan played an instrumental role in the plans leading up to the day. Many of the speakers of the day were either students in Fr. Mike’s Social Justice Class at St. Peter’s Seminary or his text Social Attitudes of a Catholic was required reading. His tireless effort to promote justice is known to many throughout London Diocese and the Canadian Catholic community.
Three weeks after the symposium, on March 19th the Feast of Saint Joseph, each of the students who attended the symposium will receive a couple of letters. The first letter will reinforce the learning goals of the symposium. They will also receive a second letter especially written for the students by Fr. Mike. In the letter Fr. invites the students to see that as followers of Christ we are called to help create a more just and more human world and to understand how the Eucharist is central to our lives as Christ’s followers and as people who work for justice.