Catholic Education & the Provincial Election

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A message from the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD): Calgary, Chestermere, Airdrie, and Cochrane.

The Calgary Catholic Board of Trustees are advocates for Catholic education. We believe that all of our students deserve the best learning opportunities so that they can reach their full potential and be healthy, successful learners in faith-filled spaces. Together, our board works hard to provide leadership and direction to our school district and to shine light on the value and importance of publicly funded Catholic education.

Calgary Catholic is one of the most successful school districts in the province and we work to provide the highest-quality programs that educate and empower students from kindergarten to Grade 12. We are also seeing rapid growth. Families want quality, faith-based Catholic education, which is why our board has developed an advocacy booklet that summarizes the district's priorities and shines light on the areas in which our schools require additional support.

Through ongoing advocacy efforts, our Board is hopeful that our school district will receive sustainable and equitable funding that will in turn allow us to support all of our students' diverse needs in quality, faith-based learning spaces. The next provincial election is scheduled for May 29, 2023. Feel free to use the questions and information in the advocacy booklet when speaking to MLA candidates in your area. For more information, please visit our website.”


St Mary's University - thank you and request for assistance

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I just wanted to write and say how very grateful I am for the invitation to speak on Friday [at the Calgary CWL Diocesan Convention]. What a delight to share with such a group of faith-filled Catholic women! Please pass along my thanks to the wonderful ladies you work with for their engagement and encouragement, as we all learn to emulate Mary’s confidence. Thank you also for the honorarium for the CWL. We are so very grateful for how you have shaped the very heart of our university by providing substantial funding over the years. And, thank you so much for doing a collection at the Convention!! Our hearts overflow.

In follow up, I wanted to encourage two ways to provide input into our strategic planning process to the CWL members. First, I would love it if many of you filled out our survey. Find information and the link here: As indicated, we will be looking very closely and building our plan off of the input we receive on this survey so please encourage members to make the time [about 30 minutes] to provide this input. Second, please invite anyone interested to come to the Town Hall regarding the strategic plan on May 17th at 7:00 pm in McGivney Hall. Here is more information on that: A show of support in both of these ways from CWL would be incredibly meaningful to me and the StMU community.

Let me know if you have any questions or want to discuss other opportunities.


Sinda Vanderpool
President and Vice Chancellor

St. Mary's University
14500 Bannister Road SE
Calgary, AB T2X 1Z4



Walking Together in Catholic Education

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A message from Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association (ACSTA): We are very pleased to announce the provincial theme for Catholic education this year will be Walking Together in Catholic Education. Accompanying this theme is the passage "As for us, we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever" from Micah 4:5.


St. Mary's University - CWL Chair for Catholic Studies

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The St. Mary’s CWL Chair Foundation was established on February 22, 1993 as a non-profit society under the Alberta Society’s Act for the purpose of encouraging and fostering the advancement of Catholic Education at (what was then) St. Mary’s College or a similar Roman Catholic educational institution preferably in the City of Calgary or Province of Alberta. The society has since been dissolved.

The original CWL Endowment Agreement, dated June 14, 1995, was signed by Dr. Terry Downey (St Mary's College President) and Mrs. Mary Heinzlmeir (CWL). The original pledge of $1 Million was recorded by St. Mary’s on May 26, 1995.

In 2010 the goal of 1.2 million was reached and 100% of the monies were handed to the now St Mary's University. At that time the Foundation was disbanded as there was no further need. Calgary Diocesan CWL no longer has any control on the monies, just to monitor the initial investment amount.  This is done each year by StMU supplying us a Financial Report that is published in our Diocesan Convention Booklet.

A second agreement to establish the CWL Chair for Catholic Studies, dated June 3, 2010, was signed by Bernice Thomas (Chair, St. Mary’s CWL Chair Foundation), Verna Bourassa (Treasurer, St. Mary’s CWL Chair Foundation), Dr. Terrence Downey (StMU President), Joseph Ladouceur (Chairman, Board of Governors) and Debbie Osiowy (Vice-President Business and Finance). This agreement states that the fundraising goal had been reached. The CWL Chair was established at StMU for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Each year StMU can draw up to 5% of the market value of the fund at the beginning of the StMU fiscal year. Investment income in excess of 5% of the market value of the CWL Chair Fund shall be reinvested to ensure a strong and stable level of support for the CWL Chair each year.

The criteria under which the monies were given was that investment income from the 1.2 million was to fund the salary of a professor to teach in the area of Catholic Studies at StMU. The principal investment is not to be used; it is an investment. If this Foundation with the same intent had been established in 2010, the minimum to establish the Chair would have been 2 million. Therefore, councils are asked to continue donations to sustain the fund and provide a full salary to someone teaching Catholic Studies at StMU.

When making a donation, it is important to specify that the funds are for the "St. Mary's Chair." Otherwise, donations will go into StMU General Revenue.

The 2020 CWL Diocesan Convention Booklet (p 46) reported that the balance for the CWL Chair For Catholic Studies was $1,867,996.92 as of March 31, 2021.  

Dr. Peter Baltutis is the current chair. Our Bishop is the Chancellor of St. Mary's University. Our CWL Diocesan Education and Health Chair sits on the committee for St. Mary's Chair.


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Three provinces in Canada have publicly-funded Catholic education: Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan, as well as the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

The Declaration on Christian Education, published in 1965 following the Second Vatican Council, describes the purpose of a Catholic school as trying "to relate all of human culture to the good news of salvation, so that the light of faith will illumine everything that the students will gradually come to know about the world, about life, and about the human person." Parents, teachers, administrators, trustees, and the entire Catholic community are entrusted in this vital mission.

Parents are recognized as the primary educators of their children, and they choose how their children will be formally educated.

Teachers play a crucial role in leading students to an understanding of the world which is illuminated by "the light of faith", and administrators create the environment in which this understanding takes place.

The Catholic community is involved

  • through local parishes, which work closely with schools in areas such as sacramental preparation;
  • individually, through the allocation of property taxes;
  • and through the Church, represented by the local Bishop, who is responsible for approving the religious education program taught in the school.

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