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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.

In Alberta:

  • Catholic ratepayers represent approximately one quarter of Alberta’s tax revenue base and fund Catholic schools through their property, income and other taxes.
  • Catholic schools have been operating in Alberta since the 1840's. This role existed prior to the creation of the province and was solidified constitutionally with the Alberta Act, 1905. Catholic schools are part of the dual system of public education. They are publicly funded, and operate under the same provincial legislation (the School Act) as non-denominational schools.
  • Catholic education is a unique partnership between the school, home, and parish. Together, this partnership seeks to develop a student’s whole person by integrating academic excellence, social development and faith formation.
  • Catholic Schools are distinctive faith communities that nurture the spiritual, academic and physical needs of students through the integration of the Alberta Education curriculum with gospel values and sacramental life.
  • Catholic schools provide an environment for students which encourages not only high academic achievement, but also personal and communal growth.
  • Catholic schools provide a choice to parents who want a spiritual, faith based learning environment, where the teachings of Christ are central to the mission and vision of the educational experience.
  • Students come from all faiths and backgrounds. Students of all races, cultures and backgrounds attend and learn together in Catholic schools. They are taught to respect and affirm the diversity and interdependence of the world’s people, religions and cultures.
  • Our Catholic schools are all-inclusive and we instill in students the values of tolerance, respect, love of neighbour and community service. Catholic schools share a foundational belief that all children are loved by God and are individually unique. The school has a mission to help all students to fulfill their God-given potential in all aspects of their person: physically, academically, socially, morally and spiritually.
  • Source: The Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association (ACSTA)

What is GrACE?

GrACE stands for Grateful Advocates for Catholic Education. GrACE advocates for publicly-funded Catholic education across Alberta. It is supported by the Alberta Bishops, the Alberta Catholic School Trustees and the Catholic School Superintendents of Alberta.

GrACE invites all those committed to Catholic education, through the unity of the Holy Spirit, to be advocates and witnesses for our schools' successes and their future.

Each Catholic school district has been asked to form GrACE teams and to get ready for advocacy.

Why is GrACE important?

The gift of publicly-funded Catholic education in Alberta is a true blessing. As a community we are called in gratitude, faith and action to ensure that our children and future generations continue to learn and grow in our Catholic schools.

Catholic schools in our province are unique and distinct and share a Catholic worldview that is foundational to who we are.

Resources:

For more information, email GrACE