PRINCE ALBERT — On April 25, Prince Albert Catholic Education Foundation (PACEF) held their annual fundraising Spring Gala banquet and silent auction at St. Mary High School in Prince Albert.
PACEF is a non-profit organization whose aim is to enhance and support Catholic education within their schools. The mission is to give students an enriched opportunity to experience an education rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ and of the Catholic Church by providing additional resources for students and for schools.
Among those extending greetings were Bishop Albert Thévenot, M. Afr., Prince Albert Catholic School Division board chair George Bolduc and city of Prince Albert councillor Martin Ring.
In his talk, Thévenot shared some of what he had learned at a conference on Catholic schools and the Catholic faith in Canada. He was emotionally touched to learn that statistically, Catholicity is on the rise.
“Although we might be pessimistic about the future, there is a change happening. I think it’s for the best.”
He spoke of helping new immigrants in our communities to feel welcome, many of whom are from a Catholic background.
“We have to be a hospitable and welcoming people in our faith communities and Catholic schools. Faith is radiated by the witness of our teachers who are involved with our students, that’s what really counts and will help us move forward in the future.”
In a presentation on behalf of the foundation, executive director Jean Szypula-Oleksuik and board member Arianna Oleksuik explained that the mission of the foundation is to provide students with an enriched educational opportunity rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ and of the Catholic Church by providing additional resources and experiences for students and schools.
“We are very proud of our Catholic schools and our desire is to help them in their mission to live the values taught by Jesus Christ. We want to protect Catholic education because we see it as being valuable not only for our graduates but for society as well. We want to tell everyone we fully support Catholic education and the gem that it is.”
During the past year, the foundation successfully fundraised to support a student retreat for W. F. A. Turgeon School, to provide assistance for Grade 11 students from Rivier Academy to travel to spiritual places in France and to facilitate the purchase of a large cross for École Holy Cross School. The funds also assisted with books for classroom libraries and with helping bring guest speaker Jessie Manibusan to an annual retreat, where he challenged teachers and staff to live a faith-filled life.
Board chair Deacon Harrold Salahub gave a tribute to longtime board member and treasurer, Dennis Bleier, who passed away in December 2014.
“Dennis was an amazing supporter of the Catholic faith, a humble and gentle man who gave much of his time to worthy causes. Among all his volunteer activities, he served on the PACE foundation from the beginning. Over his 12 years of dedication, he kept the finances in amazing order. His contribution to the faith community and foundation was a real blessing.”
Three years ago, the board began giving $1,000 scholarships to deserving graduates from both Rivier Academy and St. Mary High School to assist with post-secondary costs. In honour of Bleier, the foundation board members have renamed the scholarships as the Dennis Bleier Scholarships.