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Community Update: October 18

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

~ Pope Francis

Thank you to the Catholic School Council fundraising initiative – please look for the separate email that was sent on the “Fundraising Donation Campaign” 

Thank you to the Catholic School Council lunch program subcommittee – we are researching the various lunch programs we will offer this year. More information coming soon.

 St. Matthew School Fundraiser

We are excited to announce our 2021-2022 Major Fundraiser. Our major fundraiser will be a “Donation Campaign” and information was sent in a separate email. This fundraising money has supported many purchases at the school level such as: cohort recess equipment, technology for the classrooms, school clubs, graduation and student recognitions. As always we are grateful for the support and partnership of our community. Please see the letter which is linked below:

St. Matt Major Fundraising Letter 2021-22.pdf 

St. Matthew Catholic Parish News

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:

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 Extravaganza 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.

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.

Halloween Extravaganza Day

​Each classroom will be escorted to a Halloween inspired experience in the gym. Student ambassadors will lead each cohort in a few dances with the big screen projecting “Just Dance” moves for the students to follow along with. All safety protocols will be followed.

Harvest Food Drive

We will also be collecting canned goods and non-perishable items for those in need. This year we will be delivering non perishables to the Oakville Fare Share Food Bank and the Kerr Street Mission. They are in most need of:

CANNED ITEMS

  • Meat (Ham, Chicken, Corned Beef, Luncheon)
  • Stews/Chili
  • Fruit
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Salmon, Sardines, Tuna
  • Mushroom Soup

DRY GOODS

  • Rice (750 gm to 2 Kg)
  • Instant Coffee (Regular and Decaf)
  • Pasta/Rice Side Dish
  • Crackers
  • Jam
  • Oatmeal
  • Tea (Regular, Green, Herbal)
  • Toiletries

KIDS SNACKS

  • Nut free cereal bars
  • Pudding/Fruit cups

Soup cans

Low sodium soup cans

Vegetable stock  Beef/chicken stock 

Our Catholic School Council Outreach committee and student ambassadors will be coordinating the collection. This will begin collecting items from Monday October 18th2021 and run until Friday October 29, 2021. Some students may choose to bring these items in the day of our Halloween extravaganza or any of the dates listed above.

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.

Lunch Program

We will be finalizing details regarding our lunch program very soon and preparing step-by-step ordering information for our families. Our goal will be to start with to include 2 options a week for our families. More information is forthcoming for placing food orders.  A special thank you to our Catholic School Council Subcommittee for reviewing and comparing a variety of options cautiously.

Volunteer in our Catholic Schools

Parent volunteers are valued members of our HCDSB community that help to foster positive relationships and contribute to the success of our children and school communities as a whole. For more information, read Policy II-37 Volunteers in Catholic Schools. We will need some support from volunteers as we begin to open more of our programs and lunch program. As a reminder our volunteers require a valid Criminal Reference Check and Vulnerable Sector Screening. This can be obtained from the Halton Police department. Criminal Reference Checks/Vulnerable Sector Screening and annual declarations filed in the school since September 2019 continue to be valid for returning volunteers. Volunteers will be required to show the Principal proof of vaccination in order to volunteer to support in school programs. Volunteers must be double vaccinated OR must show a negative COVID test within 48 hours (at parent cost), before entering the building. Please reach out to Mrs. Genier(genierl@hcdsb.org) by Thursday, October 28th, so that we can begin to develop a running list of Volunteers if you are interested.

Gojmerac, AnnieCommunity Update: October 18