The Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have written new pastoral letter entitled Uniting Ourselves in Prayer as Schools Reopen. The topic is timely, as the new school year begins amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

In the letter, dated September 1, 2020, the Bishops offer a thoughtful reflection on Catholic education while expressing their support for families, communities, teachers, administrators and staff during these challenging conditions. 

Encouraged by the GrACE initiative, the Bishops offer a Novena from August 28 to September 5, as together we continue to seek the intercession of the Blessed Mother for our students, and, indeed, for all of us, her children.

Download the full text of the Bishops' Letter (PDF, 2 pages)


Uniting Ourselves in Prayer as Schools Reopen

A Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

We are now at the cusp of the school reopening. The announcement over the past weeks of the Provincial and Territorial plans for the reopening of schools, and the subsequent announcements from the various educational systems in Alberta and the Northwest Territories in preparation for the return of over half a million students, have met with varied reactions. They reveal the anticipation and hopes, as well as the anxiety and concerns, of families, teachers, school administrators and staff as they rise to meet a variety of challenges presented by the global pandemic.

As Christians, we need, more than ever, to express our support to the families and the communities that will nurture and facilitate the education and formation of our youth. We also need to acknowledge with gratitude the teachers, administrators and staff as they enter the frontlines as essential workers in the midst of the reopening, with new protocols and procedures for the health and safety of everyone and for the creation of an atmosphere of “near-normal” conditions in our Catholic schools.

The Alberta Bishops are encouraged by the GrACE initiative of the Novena for A Safe and Blessed Return to School of our over 183,000 students returning to Catholic schools and of all teachers and staff. We offered this Novena from 28 August to 5 September 2020. Please continue to seek the intercession of the Blessed Mother for our students, and, indeed, for all of us, her children.

With you, we offer our humble petition to God for the safe return and well-being of our children, educators and staff, and the well-being of their families. We ask the Lord to provide us all with His grace, comfort, and protection.

Yours in Christ,

Catholic Bishops of Alberta and NWT

Signed:

✠ Most Reverend Richard W. Smith,  Archbishop of Edmonton
✠ Most Reverend William McGrattan,  Bishop of Calgary
✠ Most Reverend Paul Terrio,  Bishop of St. Paul
✠ Most Reverend Gerard Pettipas CSsR,  Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan
✠ Most Reverend David Motiuk,  Bishop of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton
✠ Most Reverend Jon Hansen CSsR, Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith

1 September 2020