Faith Resources



Fall 2023 message from the Liaison Bishop

✠ Yvan Mathieu, SM

The school year that started a few weeks ago is an important milestone for the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education (OAPCE). Founded in 1939, the Association is about to celebrate 85 years of existence. This is a unique occasion to reflect more deeply on the role of parents in Catholic education.

In his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love, (2016) Pope Francis declared that “the family is the first school of human values.” (§ 274) Thus, parents are the first educators of the children God entrusted to them. In 2018, echoing Pope Francis, the Bishops of Ontario wrote the apostolic letter Renewing the promise. They remind parents that “God has gifted you with children and you are their first and most important educators. Yours is the task to immerse them in the unconditional love of God found in Christ Jesus.” (§ 16)

In today’s world, this is not an easy mission. Your most important commitment is to continue to invest in your role as first and most influent educators of the children God gave you in his love. It requires from each and every one of us a renewed personal encouter with Christ, the risen Lord. Like any human beings, your children’s hearts desire God. You are the voice that reminds them on a daily basis that God’s love is calling them.

In his 1975 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, pope Saint Paul VI wrote, “for the Church, the first means of evangelization is the witness of an authentically Christian life, given over to God in a communion that nothing should destroy and at the same time given to one's neighbor with limitless zeal. As we said recently to a group of lay people, ‘Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses’.” (§ 41) As parents, you are certainly called by God to be witnesses “of an authentically Christian life.” By giving yourselves wholeheartedly to your family, you give yourself to God and his project of love for the whole of humanity.

My prayer for all of you who are Catholic parents, for our Catholic schools and for all those who dedicate their life the Catholic education or our children, is that together we might turn our hearts to Christ. In return, Christ will introduce us once again in the communion with the Father. He will renew in us the gifts of the Spirit. In the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we will become more and more witnesses of Christ for our children and for the whole humanity.

✠ Yvan Mathieu, SM


Summer message from the Liaison Bishop

✠ Yvan Mathieu, SM

Summer is about to start. After a very full year of work and commitments, it will be good to have some time for ourselves and for our families. As vacation time is near, I like to remember the invitation Jesus made to his apostles after they came back from their first mission. “He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” (Mk 6:31) It is important therefore to take seriously that time of rest.

What is fascinating is that, while he wants his apostles to rest, he himself continues his mission. Once they arrived in that deserted place, many had followed them. “He saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.” (Mk 6:34) Jesus refused to let them go without food. With the help of his disciples, he fed five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fish. “they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.” (Mk 6:43) Jesus will continue to be at work in our families this summer.

As members of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education, it is important to take our summer rest seriously. We can take that time off while continuing to evangelize the members of our families. In his June 4 message, pope Francis’s words suggested that “we can think of God […] through the image of a family gathered around the table, where life is shared. […] it is not only an image; it is reality! It is reality because the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that the Father poured into our hearts through Jesus (cf. Gal 4:6), makes us taste, makes us savour God’s presence: the presence of God, always close, compassionate and tender. […] The invitation he extends to us, we might say, is to sit at the table with God to share in his love.”

What a beautiful invitation: to sit at the table with God. Allow me to continue to quote pope Francis. By allowing God to sit at our summer table, “we commit ourselves to bear witness to God-as-love, creating communion in his name.” What a summer this will be! We will be strengthened by our rest and by the loving presence of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That way, we will be able to start anew our mission in September: to “bear witness to God-as-love,” to “offer everyone the food of God’s forgiveness and Gospel joy.”

And I conclude with pope Francis’s words: “may Mary help us to live the Church as that home where one loves in a familiar way, to the glory of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

A wonderful summer to you all!

✠ Yvan Mathieu, SM


Lenten message from the Liaison Bishop

✠ Yvan Mathieu, SM

Dear members of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education (OAPCE),

From Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday, the whole Church is living the Season of Lent. The word “Lent” translates the Latin word Quadragesima, which simply means forty. It is a reminder of the forty years the people travelled in the wilderness between its liberation from Egypt and its entry in the promised land. Most importantly, it reminds us that, right after his baptism, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights…” (Matt. 4:1-2). As followers of Jesus, forty days before Easter, we walk in his footsteps, led up by the Spirit and learn from him how to overcome temptations.

Lent is a time of penance and prayer. Most importantly it is also a time of preparation for Baptism. The Sunday Readings of Lent in Year A are oriented towards the main symbols of our Christian Baptism. Like every year, on the first Sunday we read the Temptations Gospel, then the Transfiguration Gospel on the second Sunday. The three other Sundays are oriented towards baptism. With the Samaritan woman, we contemplate Jesus as the source that brings us to eternal life: “The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:14). With the man born blind we are reminded that Jesus is the “light of the world” (John 9:5). Since those two signs, water and light, were given to us at baptism, with Lazarus we confess that Jesus is “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).

As Catholic parents, we have a responsibility towards our children, whom we presented to Baptism. We committed ourselves to teach them the Gospel. Through are daily lives, we can show them what it means to be “baptized in Christ.” The Season of Lent is a time when we take seriously our commitment to drink from the well that is Christ, to allow his light to shine in our lives by considering ourselves “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11)

May this Lent 2023 reminds us of God’s grace and allow us to take seriously our baptismal commitment. The season of Lent will thus prepare us to celebrate the Paschal Mystery.

A good Lent and a Happy and Holy Easter to you all!

Assuring you of my prayer and blessing,

+ Yvan Mathieu, s.m.


Easter message from the Liaison Bishop

✠ Yvan Mathieu, SM

In a few days, at the end of the forty days of Lent, we will celebrate the mystery that is at the center of our catholic faith: the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminds his readers that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (v. 17) “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” (v. 20)

No wonder the Good News of the Resurrection is at the heart of Christian Faith. That also explains why we celebrate this mystery in the course of three days, the Easter “Triduum.” In fact, if we prepare our celebration of Christ’s Passover by forty days of fasting, we celebrate the mystery of his Resurrection for fifty days, between Easter Sunday and Pentecost.

The Resurrection of Christ is the mystery that gathers us in the Catholic faith. It gives us hope that, at the end of our journey on earth, we shall be united to Christ in eternal life. Once again, let us listen to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians: “since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. […] Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (4:14,18).

This new life already started for us on the day of baptism. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:3-4) This is the life we asked for our children when we asked the Church to baptize them.

This gift of life comes with a mission for parents. Remember the words of the risen Lord to the disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20a).

As members of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education, we are the first witnesses of our Catholic faith for our Children who are baptized in the Death and the Resurrection of Christ. I pray that we take that responsibility seriously. May this Easter celebration make us grow in Love, Faith and Hope, relying on the risen Lord’s promise to the whole church: “remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20b).

Happy Easter to you all!

✠ Yvan Mathieu, SM


New Year message from the Liaison Bishop

✠ Yvan Mathieu, SM

Dear members of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education (OAPCE),

First of all, I offer you my best wishes for the new year that just began.

The Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;

the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Num 6:24-26)

On December 31, 2022, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away. His life, his teaching and his death are a great inspiration to all of us. At the General Audience of January 4, Pope Francis spoke of his predecessor as “a great master of catechesis”. “Jesus, the risen Crucified One, the Living One and the Lord, was the goal to which Pope Benedict led us, taking us by the hand. May he help us to rediscover in Christ the joy of believing and the hope of living.” Taking our children by the hand so that they may discover in Christ the joy of believing and the hope of living, this is precisely the mission of Catholic parents.

The last words Pope Benedict pronounced were “Lord, I love you”. What a nice way to conclude one’s life. May we teach our children how much God loves them. May we also teach them to answer him using the same words: “Lord, I love you”.

May 2023 be a year of blessings for all parents, all children, especially those involved in Catholic education.

Assuring you of my prayer and blessing,

+ Yvan Mathieu, s.m.

Advent Resource Guide

Take some time before Advent starts to form a plan that will prepare your heart to enter into the celebration of the birth of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on Christmas day. The season of Advent invites us to step back from the hustle and bustle of the pre-Christmas world, urging us to slow down and reflect on the Mystery of the Incarnation. It marks the beginning of a new liturgical year in the Church, gradually gaining momentum towards the Christmas celebration with each passing week. Like any new beginning, this season aims to revive our joy, hope, faith, and love check out this wonderful website for resources for Advent:

The OAPCE Book Nook

Today, children face tremendous challenges and pressures from social media, crammed schedules, and a greater awareness of the world’s problems, resulting in loneliness, anxiety, and fear. Aimed at tweens and teens, this book helps them take control of their feelings and develop emotional understanding by focusing on God’s love.

The OAPCE Book Nook

Lego CatechesisBuilding Blocks of Faith Series

If you have a child who loves Legos, these Building Blocks of Faith Series of guides by Kevin and Mary O’ Neill are sure to please! Set in an easy-to-read comic-book format,  various Lego figures help kids understand Catholic catechism in a way that educates and entertains. In this series, kids can learn about the seven sacraments and their biblical roots, the significance and prayers of the Holy Mass, explore a pocket guide to the Stations of the Cross, and more! These books are full of rock-solid catechesis that give kids a sturdy foundation for building their Catholic faith.


To those involved in and those who care for Catholic Education in the Province of Ontario to Pray Together

Let us once again pray together for the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – a heart that overflows with love for each and every one of us.
During Catholic Education Week, we celebrated that we are many and we are one. Our provincial symposium reminded us that we are also all “On the Way”! Together, on the journey, we pray.
We place our trust in you, Lord… ON THE WAY. You call us to love God and love our neighbour… ON THE WAY. You are with us in times of trouble … ON THE WAY. You call us to be generous and helpful to those we meet … ON THE WAY. You give us yourself as living bread – food for the journey… ON THE WAY. You call us to be peacemakers … ON THE WAY. Let our light shine … ON THE WAY. Teach us … ON THE WAY. Jesus, give light to our learning … ON THE WAY. Remind us that we never walk alone … ON THE WAY.

Topical Prayers

Prayer for Peace (St. Francis of Assisi):

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.


Where there is hatred, let me sow love; 

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master, grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


And as we begin this Advent holy season : 

At this Christmas, when Christ Comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of advent by loving and serving the others with God’s own love and concern.

—Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta

I Saw Jesus Prayer: (Great Reflection to review with your children to show Jesus is everywhere!)

I saw Jesus this week. He was wearing blue jeans and an old shirt. He was shovelling the snow on the street, He was alone and working hard. For just a minute he looked a little like my neighbour next door, But it was Jesus, I could tell by his smile. I saw Jesus last Sunday. He was teaching a Children’s Liturgy class. He didn’t talk real loud or use long words. But you could tell he believed what he

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Lord, Give Us Tender Hearts

Let us do loving things that surprise even ourselves. Let us stop daily to talk to people, who need a good word, Mend what is broken and touch up what needs to be loved. Make us more aware of the tiny surprises That is scattered like secrets all around us. Let us notice such things as we have forgotten and Those persons of whom we have grown weary. May we see them in a new way So that we have

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AS WE GO FORWARD (meeting or workshop closing prayer)

Loving God and Father We are privileged to have been given the responsibility as parents to be partners in overseeing the education of our children and all students in our Catholic Schools. Strengthen us in our work as we seek to build a peaceful community. ● Give us the courage to go to you in time of doubt. ● Give us the courage to be servants to the students and to those who serve in our schools. ● Give us

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Concluding Prayer

God of Miracles, We give thanks for this day, for the people gathered here, and for Jesus Christ, our brother and our Lord, Who gives our life meaning? Who directs the work of Catholic education and who reminds us that he is never too busy for children. Stay close to us, lest we lose our way, and our heart. Grant us the gift of wisdom to work together and to proclaim the Gospel to the children entrusted to us. Make

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Prayer for Volunteers in Education (for a prayer service)

(Preparation: Place symbols of education or childhood on prayer table) Leader: Let our prayer arise before you All: And may your love descend upon the world Leader: Receive these prayers that we make to you with a listening heart All: And send your Spirit to renew the face of the earth Leader: Give us, God, eyes for seeing All: And ears to hear your Word Leader: Give us child-like hearts All: That we may sing, dance play in your kingdom

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Prayer before an election

O Holy Spirit, source of truth and grace, for those entrusted with Christian development of children, enlighten our minds, strengthen our wills, and fill our hearts with generosity so that our homes, our parishes and our schools may co-operate effectively with you, and with one another in the exalted mission of Catholic Education. We make our prayer through Christ, Our Lord. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph pray for us. Amen

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Seasonal Prayers

A Prayer for All Souls Day

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant unto the souls of Thy departed servants full remission of all their sins, that through the help of our pious prayers they may obtain that pardon which they have always desired. Thou Who lives and reigns in the world without end. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon

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Prayer for the Feast of All Saints Day

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, God our father, source of all holiness, the work of Your hands is manifest in Your saints, the beauty of Your truth is reflected in their faith. May we who aspire to join in their joy be filled with the spirit that blessed their lives, so that having shared their faith on earth may we also know their peace in your kingdom. Grant this through

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Lenten Prayer

Almighty and Everlasting God, You have given the human race Jesus Christ our Savior as a model of humility. He fulfilled Your Will by becoming Man and giving His life on the Cross. Help us to bear witness to You By following His example of suffering and make us worthy to share in His Resurrection. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.

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As We Begin a New Year

A New Year is unfolding. Like a blossom with petals curled tightly concealing the beauty within. Lord, let this year be filled with the things that are truly good with the comfort of warmth in our relationships, with the strength to help those who need our help and the humility and openness to accept help from others. As we make our resolutions for the year ahead, let us go forward with the great hope that all things can be possible

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A Christmas Prayer

By Robert Louis Stevenson Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

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Advent Prayer

Father in Heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of your love and our minds are searching for the light of Your Word. Increase our longing for Christ our Saviour and give us the strength to grow in Love that the dawn of His coming may find us rejoicing in His presence and welcoming the light of His truth. God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy so

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