WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Fr. Mike Mireau addresses the opening Mass of Edmonton Catholic Schools on Aug. 29.
"Our number one job is to teach that God loves us." That was the main message Father Mike Mireau gave staff of Edmonton Catholic Schools gathered at the Winspear Centre for their annual school opening Mass.
Mireau, chaplain of the school division, gave the homily at the Aug. 29 Mass. Archbishop Richard Smith presided at the Mass, assisted by bishops Greg Bittman and David Motiuk of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton.
"We have to teach (about) Jesus," Mireau said, urging school staff to be patient and kind like Jesus was. He also advised staff to take it easy because nobody can achieve complete control of anything.
"Control is an illusion," the chaplain said, noting he himself has lost control of his health.
Mireau has been battling cancer for several months.
"The more we try to have control, the more stressed we are," he said, inviting staff to leave everything in God's hands. "He will make everything better in the end."
Despite his ailments, Mireau was humorous throughout his homily and received continuous applause and a standing ovation.
Prior to the Mass, Superintendent Joan Carr called 2013-14 "a very special year" for the division, which is marking 125 years of Catholic education in Edmonton. "It's a year to celebrate our mission, our vibrancy and our faith since our humble beginnings in 1888," she said.
"We are so blessed in our work each day to be with students, colleagues, parents and faith communities where we are able to express our relationship with Jesus, becoming models of his Gospel teachings and sharing joy with others."
At the event, staff watched a short film called Edmonton Catholic Schools: 125 years and beyond, which features the history of the division.
Smith led the renewal of commitment of teachers and support staff to live according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the community of the Catholic Church.
"Will you respect and honour the trust given to you by parents to serve and care for the students in your schools?" he asked.
"We will," the employees replied in unison.
At the end of the Mass, the archbishop presented the division with a blessing from Pope Francis honouring the 125th anniversary. The pope took the time to send the written blessing "because Edmonton Catholic Schools is part of the mission of the Church," Smith said.