Saturday, September 11, 2010

Electing Catholic Trustees: A Call to Service

(In an effort to help spread the message in Archbishop Thomas Collins' letter sent to parishes in the Archdiocese of Toronto regarding the upcoming municipal elections, Everyday for Life Canada saw it timely and most appropriate to publish this blog entry.)

Do we to truly want to safeguard the mission and value of Catholic Education? Do you believe that our Catholic schools should be run by people with a deep faith who seriously take their responsibility for the common good of the children and of the community? Do we want our children to better know and to live their faith more deeply? In order to say yes to these questions, we must be informed voters and take the task of selecting the Trustees, the people who govern the Catholic Schools, very seriously in the upcoming municipal elections.

To help voters make a conscientious decision in voting for the best Catholic School Trustees, on October 25th, Archbishop Thomas Collins has sent a Pastoral Letter to be read at all parishes in the Archdiocese of Toronto. As well, he has taken the unusual step in allowing candidates to campaign and distribute literature outside churches from September 12th to October the 17th. He has done this because he considers the election extraordinarily important to the Catholic Community. Our good shepherd is summoning his people for a good reason.

As part of the voting strategy, the Archbishop reminds us to make sure we are registered Catholic School Supporters. Next, we need to get to know the candidates in our ward. In the Archbishop’s words, here’s why the information about the candidates is so important: “The well-being of Catholic Education depends to a great degree on the trustees whom we elect. We literally entrust Catholic education to the trustees, and it is crucial that they be faithful to that trust …. Trustees are Catholics who have a vision of Catholic Education that is Christ centered, are committed to educating students in the Roman Catholic tradition, are willing to work with partners within and beyond the Catholic education community, and are willing to devote time to prayer and reflection, to meetings, to public functions and to addressing concerns of Catholic voters.”

These words provide the voter with an excellent guide as to what to look for and what to ask candidates at meetings. After defining the role, the Archbishop’s letter addresses how a trustee should be living his/her life. About this, here’s what he says, “A Catholic School Trustee should be a faithful, practicing Catholic. A Catholic School Trustee should be exemplary in personal integrity and conduct, always trying to foster the good of the children, and not personal interest.

We need to elect trustees who will represent us with honor and dignity, as worthy stewards of Catholic Education, so that we may be all proud of their stewardship.”
A good trustee then ought to be a person trying to live faith in action. To do this, the person must, “have a well developed understanding of Catholic Education, and the role of the board of trustees in setting policy that advances the common good of the whole Catholic School District, and all of the children entrusted to it. Competence, wisdom, maturity, fiscal responsibility, respect for the law, and the capacity to work effectively with fellow trustees for the common good of Catholic Education- these are the essential qualities in a Catholic School Trustee.”

Finally, since the quality of Catholic Education depends on the trustees selected, the Archbishop strongly urges all Catholic School Supporters to get involved, become aware of the issues and vote by holding the candidate selected to the highest standards. So do make sure to cast your vote for a Catholic trustee in your ward on October 25th. Their abysmal performance during the last four years should be reason enough for every voter to participate. Only by humbly putting our faith into the voting decisions we make, can we hope to make our society better for our children and the entire Archdiocese of Toronto.

A Plan of Action From Campaign Life Coalition: