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Update October 15, 2021

Let us never forget to pray for each other. Prayer is our greatest strength.

~ Pope Francis

Thank you to Edge Imaging for the quick turn around on school photos – proofs went home with your child this week – please follow the directions provided for ordering school pictures.

Thank you to the Catholic School Council fundraising sub committee – please look for the separate email on the “Donation Campaign”  

Thank you to the Catholic School Council lunch program sub committee – we will be meeting on Monday to discuss various lunch programs we will offer this year.

St. Matthew Catholic Parish News

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From the Pastor’s Desk…

For the first time in many weeks, this weekend included only ordinary things. Weekend Masses, confessions, a wedding, but no celebrations of Confirmation or Baptism peppered throughout, wherever we can find room in the calendar. It was a welcomed opportunity for Fr. Patrick and I—and the volunteers who back us up—to catch our breath. September was an exhilarating month, and it’s a significant accomplishment to be up-to-date with Confirmations (the last of the certificates was mailed out yesterday). October will round things out by bringing countless now-Grade 3 students to the day of their First Communion on weekends as full as the last four. It’s also the month we’ve chosen to welcome, in a special way, the young people of our parish preparing to celebrate sacraments in the new year. We’ve invited all our candidates (more than 600 in total) to attend a weekend Mass of their choosing from Oct. 16 to Nov. 7. At each of these celebrations, we’ll offer a special blessing and give the worshipping community the chance to show them and their families a sign of their welcome in our midst. Will it add a minute or two to Mass? Sure. Will it get repetitive? Absolutely. These are the realities of a young and vibrant community, and they’re great ‘problems’ to have. It’s our obligation to hand on the Gospel, and to do so with joy and enthusiasm. Here’s an easy opportunity to do just that. Clap loudly and congratulate any candidates seated nearby!

~ Father Allen Varlaki

SAVE THE DATE – Halloween Spirit Day – Friday October 29th                                                     

Halloween is a great time to dress up and have fun with costumes. In our Catholic education community, we want to promote respect, inclusion and empathy for all individuals. As students and staff select Halloween costumes, we encourage everyone to reflect critically, be mindful of cultural appropriation and create welcoming school environments for all.

The following are suggested questions to reflect on when choosing a costume to avoid being disrespectful or offensive:

  • Is my costume making fun or offensive towards a group of people, their culture or religion?
  • Does my costume reinforce jokes and stereotypes about certain groups, cultures or religions?
  • Am I altering my skin colour, facial/body features to make it darker or like a particular race, ethnicity, or cultural group?
  • Am I dressing up as a culture or borrowing from a religion that is not my own or is not part of my background?
  • Do I understand and respect the history or tradition of the culture that I am borrowing my costume from?

All students are welcome to wear costumes. Students may decide not to wear a costume. Anyone choosing not to wear a costume may decide to wear orange and black as an alternative. This event is a fulfilled morning for students to enjoy Halloween – NOT a fundraiser.

Our major fundraiser will be a “Donation Campaign” – info to follow in a separate email.

Costume considerations to be safe at school:

Costumes must not:

  • Impair vision or breathing, there are no costume masks to be brought to school as students will be wearing masks for COVID-19 protocol;
  • Present a trip hazard to the wearer or the bystander;
  • Represent disfiguring injury or, to put it bluntly, “blood and guts”;
  • Promote themes or activities inappropriate for a Catholic elementary school;
  • Be revealing or suggestive;
  • Include weapons or replica weapons;
  • Require staff to apply or remove costume pieces and/or make-up

Costumes must:

  • Allow the student easy, independent access to the washroom. This is especially important for students from FDK to grade 2.
  • Allow the student to wear sufficiently warm clothing over or under the costume as weather/temperature dictates for outdoor recess.

Reminder about Lunch and Snacks

  • We have several children in our school who live with a severe life-threatening food allergy to peanuts and tree nuts (anaphylaxis). Please choose items carefully when sending lunches and snacks to school. Please be extra vigilant to avoid sending those treats that contain nuts or traces of nuts. (REMINDER: Alternate “peanut butter” spreads are difficult to differentiate from the real product and make monitoring student safety a challenge. Please do not send “peanut butter” look-alike products to school.) Thank you for your continued cooperation in ensuring the safety of our anaphylactic students.

SafeArrival Student Absence Reporting

The safety and wellbeing of our students is our highest priority. Please use the automated student attendance management system SafeArrival to report your child’s absence.

The SafeArrival system is available 24/7, allowing you to report your child’s absence in one of three ways:

  1. using the SchoolMessenger® mobile app
  2. by logging into the SchoolMessenger® web site
  3. by calling into an interactive toll-free phone line

SafeArrival enhances our existing student attendance procedure, making it more convenient for parents to report a child’s absence, and more efficient for our school office staff to follow up sooner on unexplained absences.

Promoting WellBeing – Resources to support youth and parents during COVID-19

By Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – 13.Aug.2021

Created for youth, by youth in collaboration with clinical experts to support mental health

As we enter the back-to-school season, we understand that some parents and families may be experiencing stress or anxiety. CAMH is Canada’s largest mental health hospital and research centre and has compiled resources informed by clinical and research expertise about youth mental health, many of which have been co-developed by youth, for youth. We hope these will be helpful in starting discussions at home about mental health and the pandemic and can provide support for your families and children.  If you or a loved one are concerned about your child’s mental health, please see a family doctor. 

For more information about COVID-19, or resources related to managing mental health during the pandemic, visit the CAMH COVID-19 Hub.

Resources for Parents:

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Wishing you a great weekend – the Staff of St. Bernadette CES

Looking Ahead:

Grade 8 Parent Night – International Baccalaureate Information Night – St. Thomas Aquinas CSS
Oct 20 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Grade 8 Parent Night – Advanced Placement Information Night – Holy Trinity CSS
Oct 21 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
St. Ignatius of Loyola Guidance Department Visit with Grade 8s
Oct 28 all day
Grade 8 Parent Night – St. Ignatius of Loyola CSS
Oct 28 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Halloween Spirit Day
Oct 29 all day
All Saints Day
Nov 1 all day
All Souls Day
Nov 2 all day
Veterans Week – November 5-11
Nov 5 – Nov 11 all day
DeLuca Malette, RitaUpdate October 15, 2021