St. Matthew Catholic Parish News – From the Pastor’s Desk…
This weekend we begin celebrating First Reconciliation with Grade 2 students in our parish, and thanks to an amazing (and growing) team of volunteers, our preparation meetings last week went off without a hitch. Children and their parents glued cotton onto sheep-shaped nametags they decorated, and they also got a chance to learn about God’s love by way of the story of Cecil, the Lost Sheep. It was one of the most “normal” things to happen in our church since the beginning of the pandemic. A little bit loud, a little bit messy, a little bit chaotic, but beautiful throughout. Though we were all masked and (mostly) distant, the excitement was palpable. We know the Christian faith is struggling to keep people engaged in an increasingly distracted and distracting world. Many worry about the future of Christian communities. It’s important to focus on and be thankful for signs of life where we see them. For our parish, that often means considering the experiences of faith being had by our young people, of which we have many. God’s Spirit is hard at work in all of them!
~ Father Allen Varlaki
Follow St. Matthew Catholic Church on Social Media and keep up to date with all that is happening in our parish! There are four ways to connect to the parish:
- Website – https://www.saintmatthew.ca/
- FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/saintmtoakville
- Twitter – @saintmtoakville
- YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2Af1hB7O-VS5PB1gYvTJhA
“We know that parents have an important role to play in supporting student learning. Studies show that students perform better in school if their parents or guardians are involved in their education. This is the basis for the principle that students and parents should be kept fully informed about the student’s progress.” ~ Growing Success, page 8.
Progress Reports will be sent home electronically by the HCDS Board Office on Wednesday, November 24th. Please look for future communication via Board Email with instructions on how to access them.
Just a reminder that virtual Parent-Teacher Interviews are on Thursday, November 25th from 3:30 – 8:00 pm and Friday, November 26th from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm. The online scheduling tool is now closed. If you have not scheduled an interview with your child’s teacher(s) please contact them directly to do so.
Scholastic Book Fair-Time to Shop!
It’s here! Our school’s Scholastic Book Fair has begun! Students will be scheduled time to browse and shop at our school from November 22-25.
And don’t forget! Even if you can’t join us in the school, you can experience the joy of our Book Fair online by visiting our Virtual Book Fair Extension on the same dates and ending on November 26 until midnight.
Share this link with Grandparents, too! Extended family can participate in the
Virtual Book Fair Extension from the comfort of home.
Remember, all purchases benefit our school and earn Rewards that can be redeemed for books and Education Resources for our school’s Library Learning Commons.
Students can pay in cash, debit, or cheques made out to St. John Paul II.
The virtual fair accepts Debit/Visa, Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
Thank you for participating in our Scholastic Book Fair!
Mrs. L. Sousa
The Christmas Angel Tree
The Christmas season is upon us once again! Our School Community is sponsoring a Christmas gift drive called “The Christmas Angel Tree”. It is a fun and easy way for families in our school to participate in the spirit of giving during this special season in our Catholic Faith.
How does it work?
Christmas trees have been placed in the front foyer paper ornaments with specific gift cards printed on them. We will be asking families to donate Gift Cards. The Gift Card donations will go towards purchasing Winter Boots & Coats for the families that we will be sponsoring through the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
If you are interested in participating, a family member may select one or more Ornaments. We ask that you then purchase the gift card and return it to the school with the original paper ornament that your child selected from the tree. All gift cards will be collected in the office.
The ornaments are now available until to November 30th.
Gift cards must be returned to the classroom by December 3rd.
Donations can also be made directly to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul via St. Matthew’s parish: https://www.ssvpsaintmatthew.org/Donate.asp.
Should you not wish for your child to participate please let your child/ren’s classroom teacher know via the agenda or email.
Thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity during this holiday season!
The St. John Paul II Catholic School Council
Keeping Christ in Christmas
The Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) will once again be running our annual Keeping Christ in Christmas student contest! This year, the contest will be open for entries from Friday, November 5 through Friday, December 3, 2021. Students are encouraged to submit entries that highlight the theme of the contest, and express in their own creativity how we can all do our part to Keep Christ in Christmas. We welcome entries from HCDSB students of all ages and abilities! Students may submit entries electronically in the following four (4) categories:
· Visual artwork (drawing, painting, photography, collage, sculpture, 3D model, etc.)
· Original song
· Short video (maximum length is 3 minutes)
· Short story or poem (up to 250 words)
Submissions Accepted Online ONLY To minimize the distribution of paper and for the health and safety of our students, staff and school communities, we will be accepting submissions ONLINE ONLY this year. Student work can be entered into the contest through an online form available on the official contest page.
Student submissions will be reviewed separately by division group, as follows:
· Primary (K-3)
· Junior (4-6)
· Intermediate (7-8)
· Secondary (9-12)
Sixteen (16) student entries will move on to the finals! A prize will be awarded to the top student entry in each of the four division groups. For more information about the contest and submission requirements, please visit the Board’s website. Deadline for Entries: December 3, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.
Have a Question? If you have any questions about the contest, please feel free to email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on Twitter, direct message us on Instagram, or contact us through Facebook. We look forward to showcasing the creative talents of our HCDSB students.
Coming Soon ~ Student Census 2022
In February 2022, HCDSB will be collecting identity-based student data through a board-wide Student Census. This census will help our school board better understand and support our students and their experiences in school and will help promote equitable and inclusive learning environments.
NOTE: Parents of students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 will be invited to complete the online survey on behalf of their child. For more information about the Student Census, please visit the HCDSB website: https://hcdsb.info/StudentCensus2022
Dressing for Winter Weather
With the arrival of winter like weather, we kindly request that parents ensure your child is dressed each day to play outside at recess. Students are able to be outside for all regular outside activities when it is warmer than -15 C. When temperatures range between -15C to -20C, students may remain outside for no longer than 20-minute intervals, once temperatures are colder than -20C students must remain inside ~thank you for your support with this!
Daily Self Screening for all students is required
All staff and students must continue to self-screen every day before attending school. Any individuals who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as identified in the screening tool, must not attend school and should follow the guidance provided in the screening tool, which may include seeking appropriate medical attention as required, and/or getting tested for COVID-19. Please note that although proof of daily screening is no longer required by parents, we ask for you continued diligence in completing the screening daily.
Promoting Well Being
Anxiety 101: What You and Your Child Need to Know About Anxiety
- Anxiety is normal. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. It alerts us to threats, protects us from danger and helps us reach important goals. For example, it is normal to feel anxious when encountering a bear on a hike, or before taking an important exam.
- Anxiety is not dangerous. Although anxiety feels uncomfortable, it is temporary and will eventually decrease. The sensations we experience in an anxious situation are designed to alert and activate us. They are normal and part of our body’s natural response mechanism. Our body is smart enough to know when to “amp up” and when to “calm down.”
- Anxiety is adaptive. Anxiety helps us prepare for real danger, such as crossing a busy street. It can also help us perform at our best and motivate us to study for an exam or practice for a big game. When we experience anxiety, it triggers our “fight-flight-freeze” response, and prepares our body to react. For instance, our heart beats faster to pump blood to our muscles, so we have the energy to run away or fight off danger. Without it, we would not survive. We need some anxiety.
- Anxiety is part of life. Trying to eliminate anxiety from your child’s life is almost impossible, and even if it were possible, we are not sure you will have created a life worth living for your child. As a result, this website has been designed to provide you and your child with information, tools, resources, and more, to help your child become an expert on coping with anxiety. Since anxiety is everywhere, one of the greatest gifts you can give your anxious child or teen is the confidence and skill to tolerate anxiety whenever it occurs, and to continue living his/her life anyway!
- Anxiety can become a problem. Small doses of anxiety in certain situations are useful. However, when your child is worrying much of the time, avoiding fun activities, or refusing to go to school because s/he is scared or worried, anxiety has become a problem. Think of anxiety like fog: if it covers everything, makes it hard to see, stops you from doing what you usually do, and generally gets in the way, then it has likely become a problem.
For more information on how to explain anxiety to your child, see “How to talk to your Child about Anxiety”