Faith Development Day 2015
On February 3, 2015 ECSD hosted a Faith Development Day for all their staff and trustees. I was very impressed with the talks given by Fr. Carey and wished that all my constituents could have been there to hear him. The theme of our district this year is “Life of Grace, Journey of Shalom”. So Fr. Carey spoke on Catholic schools as places of “shalom”. You may know the word to be the Hebrew word for “peace” but it also means wholeness and perfection. These concepts are all related though: when we help one another be whole, we offer one another peace/shalom. I highly recommend that you take a look at his presentations because they are very inspiring and really get at an important purpose for Catholic schools—to bring wholeness to all our students so that they can experience peace in their lives.
To access his talks, click on the link below and it will bring you directly to the site where you key in the password provided. The video is of the whole Faith Development Day which is at least 3 hours in length. If you just want to hear Fr. Carey’s talks they are at 0:32:13, 2:31, and 3:26. Here is the link: https://vimeo.com/119139607 and password: fdd2015. I hope you find his presentations as insightful and meaningful as I did!
If you are short on time, here is my brief summary of his talks:
The 4 key ways to experience Shalom:
1. We experience shalom in the core of our being when we accept ourselves as unique persons created in God’s image. Our teachers can bring shalom or a sense of wholeness to our students when they help our students to accept themselves as they are, point out their self worth, add to their self esteem, and help them develop a sense of “self-efficacy”. Self-efficacy is the sense of being able to accomplish tasks. Teachers can bring shalom to their students when they remember their students’ names, when they reverence and respect their students, when they encourage students by pointing out their abilities. All these suggestions for teachers can be applied to everyone as we experience others — we can bring shalom to others by helping them see their wholeness.
2. We experience shalom with our neighbour, with others. Fr. Carey suggests that if anyone is suffering, it is everyone’s business. We are called to offer shalom to our neighbour when we respect them, when we lead them to see their value.
3. We experience shalom in the physical, spiritual and emotional environment we create around us. We create an atmosphere of welcome/shalom in our schools for example, when we deal with bullies, victims and bystanders, racism, and when we provide support for students struggling with a variety of personal issues.
4. We experience shalom in our relationship with God. When we accept God’s offer of mercy, respect and dignity, we live connected to God. Being connected to God we experience integrity and therefore shalom.
Joy and gratitude are signs that we have shalom in our lives. We are called to live our lives with generosity–generosity is a skill we need to develop throughout our lives.
There are 4 things that Jesus expected from his disciples and were the characteristics of his followers :
1. Radical belief that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus is sent by God.
2. A personal relationship with Jesus. No rabbi previous to Jesus expected this of their disciples.
3. Jesus required that his disciples be inclusive. Jesus wanted his disciples to teach that everyone can be saved, everyone is welcome into the “bosom of Abraham”. This was a very unique teaching of a rabbi.
4. Jesus required that his disciples love without limit, have mercy without measure, love their enemies. No other rabbi taught this.