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Mar
10

St. Peter shows solidarity with local mosque

A poster with messages from the St. Peter school community.

When members of our community are hurting, our faith calls for us to offer love and support. So, in the wake of the tragic shooting at a Quebec City mosque, the St. Peter High School community reached out to a local mosque to show them that the staff and students cared.

After speaking with Imam Mohammed Badat of Masjid Balil mosque, teachers Scott Searle and Linda Roe decided to show sympathy and compassion by making cards and posters for the members of the mosque. Linda brought the idea to her leadership class, and they leapt at the opportunity. People in their community were grieving, and the students wanted to help. The class got together after school and began making posters and writing kind messages. Word spread quickly, and, pretty soon, the whole school was taking part. The leadership class put their big poster in the chapel for other students to sign, and other classes took time to make their own cards and messages of support. The whole school came together to offer some love and kindness to those who needed it most.

Needless to say, the members of the mosque were touched by the heartwarming gesture. They invited the leadership class to visit the mosque to see their cards and posters on display, and to see the positive impact they were having. Imam Badat even told the students that he could use their kind and inspiring messages as inspiration for his weekly prayers for the rest of the year. The mosque even made cards of their own for the students, and presented the school with a commemorative plaque to show their gratitude.

"Our students were happy that they could do something to reach out to their friends and help them feel a little bit better, knowing that we all stand together as one human family."

Linda Roe

The entire St. Peter community has done a wonderful job of demonstrating the Catholic Graduate Expectations by spreading love, kindness, and compassion in their community. The OCSB family is extremely proud of St. Peter for going above and beyond to make a loving difference in their community. Take a look at some of the cards and posters in our Facebook album.

"All of us are proud to work in a faith-based environment that shows such love and solidarity with people of different religious backgrounds."

Scott Searle
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Oct
12

2016 Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award Winner

This year's winner of the Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award is Bishop Christian Riesbeck. An alumni of St. Pius X High School, he was born in Montreal on February 7, 1970. Over his lifetime, he's earned several degrees: a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Ottawa, a Master of Divinity from St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto, and both a master's degree and a licentiate in Canon Law from Saint Paul University in Ottawa. He also speaks English, French, Spanish, and German.

Bishop Riesbeck has selflessly served the Catholic church for over 20 years. He was ordained to the priesthood as a member of the Companions of the Cross on October 12, 1996, by the then Archbishop of Ottawa, the Most Reverend Marcel Gervais. After doing pastoral work in the Archdioceses of Ottawa and Kingston for brief periods in the late 1990s, he served as pastor of Queen of Peace parish in Houston, Texas from 1999 to 2008. After obtaining his degree in Canon Law shortly afterwards, he was appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Ottawa in January 2011. Then, on January 7, 2014, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed the Reverend Christian Riesbeck, C.C., as Auxiliary Bishop of Ottawa. At the time of his appointment, he was the Chancellor of the Archdiocese and the Assistant General Superior of the Companions of the Cross – a priestly society of apostolic life founded in Ottawa.

Bishop Riesbeck takes his responsibilities as a Catholic leader seriously. Before taking up his duties at Queen of Peace parish in Texas, he spent seven weeks learning Spanish so he could better serve the area's large Hispanic community. Under his committed leadership, the parish was revitalized: the number of parishioners, religious education classes, and the parish school enrolment all increased significantly.

His nominators describe him as a kind and approachable leader, and say he stands out as a young member of the Church who has chosen to dedicate himself to religious life at a time when ordinations are in decline. Despite always being very busy, he always finds a way to make time to assist with school and board activities. His kind presence is always welcomed by teachers and students, and he has been known to join student hockey games while visiting schools.

For all these reasons and more, Bishop Riesbeck is an inspiration to everyone he comes in contact with, and an exceptional role model for all graduates of the OCSB. There is no one more deserving of the 2016 Distinguished Catholic Alumni Award.

Bishop Riesbeck has chosen to split the $5000 award between St. Pius X High School and Dr. F. J. McDonald School

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Jun
08

OCSB Celebrates 22nd Annual Elementary Peace Festival

This year, over 1,200 elementary students in grades 4, 5 and 6 who are involved in peacemaking or peer mediation at their schools attended the Ottawa Catholic School Board's 22nd Annual Elementary Peace Festival held at St. Paul High School. An event that highlights and celebrates the positive roles of our students in junior grades, the Peace Festival also showcases the many practices used to build and maintain safe and inclusive school environments.

​The goal of the conference is to challenge students to recognize the power they have to make their schools into communities where all students feel welcome. The festival has helped many students view conflict as an opportunity for positive change. Students shared ideas and affirmed each other in their commitment to making their world a safer and more just place. In addition to playing co-operative games and having a lot of fun, student participants at the festival were celebrated for their outreach programs and examples in leadership.

The day is developed and run by the Leadership Program students at St. Joseph High School and made possible by the ongoing support of MADD Ottawa.

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Dec
21

A meaningful Advent at St. John Paul II School

The staff and students at St. John Paul II School recognize that many people have a difficult time getting through the Christmas season, including families in their own school community. That's why they've been working hard throughout the season of Advent to make this season a meaningful time for everyone in their community through acts of kindness and mercy.

St. John Paul II School gathered for a Christmas meal to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus on Wednesday, December 16th. "We've been organizing this event for about six years now," said Office Administrator Helen Featherston. "For some of our students, this is their Christmas dinner, so it's a very special time for our community."

The school gym was decorated to the nines featuring a beautiful Nativity scene created by grade 1/2 teacher Rebecca Pereira that included a garland of stars decorated by every student in the school and a life-sized manger with strips of hay made out of construction paper.

The students kicked off the Jubilee year of Mercy, declared by Pope Francis on December 8th, by demonstrating the mercy of God to others in simple and effective ways. "During the season of Advent, students were encouraged to perform acts of kindness and mercy to others and write down what they did on these strips of hay" said Pereira. "The strips of hay were meant to soften baby Jesus' bed with kindness and mercy."

With kindness and mercy in the air, the mood was set for a Christmas feast! Moments after Principal, Sean Crookshank made the announcement for students to come down to the gym, the halls were buzzing with joyful students eager to share a delicious meal with their classmates. It was a truly heart-warming event as the kindergarten students led the whole school in saying grace. Special guests and volunteers including City Councillor Tim Tierney and OCSB Director of Education Denise Andre were on hand to serve the students their Christmas meal. It was a truly wonderful event as the whole community gathered to share in the blessing of a delicious Christmas feast.

View more photos on the Ottawa Catholic School Board Facebook page.

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