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Religious and family life education

The Religious Education and Family Life initiatives include Faith mentorship, character education formation and adult faith development. As Faith leaders, the Board’s Chaplaincy leaders are called to:


  • enrich faith by discerning and celebrating together the transforming presence of God
  • foster faith communities based on compassion, hospitality and inclusivity
  • build collaborative relationships between the school and wider community that give priority to those who are poor and marginalized
  • be a caring and supportive presence as we honour the dignity of all persons
  • encourage the values of wisdom, compassion, love & service to others as essential gifts to our world
  • move with our communities to live Jesus’ vision of justice & peace through awareness, reflection & action
  • support the sacredness of persons and environment that promotes the sustainability of our individual and communal resources

Catholic Character Formation

We’ve adopted a model for Catholic Character Formation, where the Gospel values of faith, hope, love, community, dignity of persons, excellence, justice and stewardship for creation form the template that is our guide to Virtues Education. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, as expressed in scripture and Church tradition, is at the centre providing direction, motivation and spiritual depth to each of these values. These themes permeate the culture of our Catholic schools. The virtues frame the values that we seek to integrate throughout all areas of curriculum and school life. This template is posted in each classroom and serves as a reminder of the many ways we live out our Christian calling in community.

Chaplaincy program

The Catholic school is an expression of the Church’s commitment to support parents in their task of raising their children in the Christian faith. The chaplaincy leader assists the school staff and the parents in helping students to practice their faith. The chaplaincy leader provides a presence in the school that helps create a Christian community of faith, care, concern, and compassion among staff and students. They animate community worship, prayer and social action projects. The chaplaincy leader also fosters liaisons with local parish communities and the Archdiocese of Ottawa. Large group liturgical services for the seasons and feasts in the Church are celebrated. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered during the school year. Personal faith development is enhanced through pastoral counselling, youth ministry, class visits, social action projects and retreats. The chaplaincy leader is available for students, staff and parents so that all may participate in developing a community that expresses the Gospel values of Jesus Christ.

Parish to school dialogue

The Board is constantly working on strengthening the parish/school relationship. Pastors, principals, a chaplaincy leader and the Board’s Religious Education Coordinator and Consultant meet regularly to share best practices and discuss any issues of concern. The focus of the group is to be creative and pastoral in meeting the needs of school communities, students, families and staff, and to encourage commitment to Catholic education.

Religious education in high school

Catholic schools provide a distinctive faith-based educational experience that includes courses in Religious Education. These courses have both an educational and religious dimension. As an educational activity, students will have opportunities for the development of knowledge related to religious literacy, concepts and ideas, not only of Catholicism, but also of the religions of the world and philosophy. The Family Life component of Religious Education courses includes learning about healthy relationships, anti-bullying, and moral decision-making connected to life issues. The academic demands of these courses are equal to those of any other course.

All Religious Education courses are approved for accreditation by the Ministry of Education and count towards fulfilling the secondary school diploma requirements. Students will derive knowledge and skills from the study of Scripture, Profession of Faith, Christian Moral Development, Prayer and Sacramental Life, and Family Life.

A faith-based education

We provide an education that respects the universal values of all faiths, grounded in Catholic principles. Find out why a faith-based education is grounded in positive values.

Adult faith

Adult Faith growth is a priority for all employees of the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Opportunities are provided for individuals to seek out learning opportunities and the study of the Catholic faith. Staffs take part in retreats and conferences and the Liturgy committee at the Board is active and ecumenical.

Faith mentors

Each elementary school has a Faith Mentor who helps to animate learning and faith formation in partnership with the principal. Each fall, the Faith Mentors come together to share ideas and resources to enhance the Catholic culture of their schools.

Youth ministry

Young people within our high schools who display an openness and giftedness in their spirituality are invited to become youth ministers. Working with the chaplaincy leader and teachers, youth ministers place a particular emphasis on enhancing the spiritual life of the school through their involvement in a variety of initiatives relevant to our youth. The dynamics of youth speaking to youth helps to draw out the unique spirituality that emerges out of their teen concerns and experience. Youth ministers bring energy, enthusiasm and generosity to the task of building Christian community within their schools.

Health & physical education

The HPE curriculum covers much more than discussions about sexuality and anatomy. It offers health lessons on nutrition and the importance of physical activity. There are five main areas of focus for students in Grades 1 through 12.

  1. School, Family, and Community Support
  2. Physical Activity as the Vehicle for Learning
  3. Physical and Emotional Safety
  4. Student-Centred, Skill-Based Learning
  5. Balanced, Integrated Learning with Relevance to Student’s Lives