Bishop saw pope honour dignity

The day after he was elected pontiff, Pope Francis went back to the guest house where he had been staying to pay his bill. The story quickly went viral.

The day after he was elected pontiff, Pope Francis went back to the guest house where he had been staying to pay his bill. The story quickly went viral.

But what Archbishop Richard Smith of the Edmonton Archdiocese saw while staying there at the time was more than just the pope personally ponying up.

He saw the new pope thanking the cleaners, cooks and maintenance staff working there, “all the folks in trades that sometimes aren’t even noticed, let alone thanked.”

“He went to them and thanked them and in so doing he really honoured their dignity as persons. Right then and there I received and the church received a very clear signal of what he expects of the church. He expects us to be a people who notice the unnoticed and to reach out to them with love and compassion and honour their dignity,” said Smith.

Addressing the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division board Tuesday evening, Smith said schools have a very serious responsibility to “notice the unnoticed” students who may have difficult home situations. He told trustees how he hears middle school students talk of depression and of students cutting themselves.

“Our society, and therefore our families, are increasingly dysfunctional, and that must cause horrible horrible pain for our children,” said Smith.

Trustee Adriana LaGrange said the division has been calling on the province to provide more funding for mental health services so more trained counsellors can cater to student needs. Last year, a rash of student suicides led to school divisions and health authorities coming together to devise better strategies and students banded together to organize awareness events.

Also at the board meeting:

l Archbishop Smith discouraged trustees from sharing educational facilities with non-Catholic school jurisdictions or organizations.

Smith said Catholic schools should not be separate from secular schools because non-Catholics are in any way lesser people, but he said it is a matter of “institutional integrity.” He said the “distinctive vision” of Catholic education can be hampered if encroached upon by non-Catholic ideals.

The division shares some facility space with public schools in Red Deer, Innisfail, Sylvan Lake, and Rocky Mountain House, and trustees said sharing school space creates opportunities for students. LaGrange said the division would not have a school in Sylvan Lake if it did not agree to work in concert with the public division there.

l On the issue of human papilloma virus (HPV) immunizations being offered in schools, Smith said it is best that the board’s new policy no longer reads that he can provide a “written moral perspective” to be distributed to parents.

The board created an immunization policy last fall and allowed for the provision of the HPV vaccine in division schools, after years of not permitting so. A 2008 letter from eight bishops, including Smith, had questioned whether the vaccine against a sexual transmitted infection might cause promiscuity.

In crafting its policy, the board had initially given Smith the right to write a letter that would go to parents along with information from Alberta Health Services, but Smith later suggested that the line in the policy be removed.

He encouraged trustees to seek him out regularly to discuss moral issues, but said board policies should reflect the autonomy of the board and if he was referenced, the policy could be misinterpreted.

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read