Regina Archbishop Don Bolen delivered a message of hope to the approximately 350 teachers and support staff gathered at St. Mary High School for our opening faith formation session. Hope, the archbishop said, was not a wish, but rather an expectation grounded in the promise God makes to us. He continued by explaining that hope is a gift from God, as God knows what it means to be human and meets us in our reality. Our ultimate hope comes from the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Archbishop Don also shared that prayer is a great way to put hope into action. Prayer is the principle language of hope and it is where hope is nurtured. As a challenge, Archbishop Don indicated that there is a great yearning for hope in our young people, so it is important we provide models of hope and prayer.
In order to be a person of hope, the archbishop gave us five points to strive for. The first is to be a persons of joy. Hope begins when we internalize the deep joyfulness which comes from our faith in Jesus Christ. Our words and actions should reflect this joy.
The second point is to be at home with brokenness. This is our human condition, and we are asked to embrace life’s challenges with hope. We are all part of God’s plan and we are to take life as it comes, day by day.
The third point is to help with each other’s burdens. If we all embrace our human condition, we soon see the need that is around us. It is our vocation to serve others, so let us serve them in the spirit of love and hope.
The fourth point is to look at each other as a person for whom God has a plan. Sometimes when it seems others get in our way or bother us, we need to realize that every person has as purpose and mission. Sometimes it is us that needs to change to see Jesus in others.
And finally, the fifth is to be witnesses of hope in our lives. Our young people are not necessarily interested in words or speeches. Rather, they want to see witnesses of the faith. Our young people need Catholic models of the faith in a world that needs us to step forward and proclaim our hope in Jesus.
Archbishop Don ended his message by quoting 1st Peter 3:15 (NRSV): but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you. He explained that teaching is a vocation of hope. Hope is deeply attractive. Being a people of hope, and allowing that hope to shape everything we do, is a vital form of evangelizing in our day.
The archbishop’s message fit well to the Prince Albert Catholic School Division’s spiritual theme of hope. The division has embarked on a three-year theme starting with hope in the 2017 - 18 year, followed by grace in 2018 - 2019 and love in 2019 - 2020.
Salahub is the Religious Co-ordinator for Prince Albert Catholic Schools.