CARFLEO Newsletter: January 2016

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Opening Doors of Mercy: At the end of the Christmas Season, and in the early days of the Holy Year of Mercy, it feels like there is a great deal of synchronicity between the liturgical season, the character of this new Jubilee Year, and events happening across the world and here in Canada. As we prepare to welcome people who have been forced to leave their homes, their communities and their livelihoods, it’s almost impossible not to be mindful of the journey of our spiritual ancestors, Mary and Joseph, as they sought refuge in an unfamiliar land. In offering hospitality, in its many forms, to Syrian refugees, may we recognize God’s grace in being given this opportunity to welcome our new Canadians as those shepherds and magi greeted the infant messiah.

Adult Faith Symposium: “Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed” The annual adult faith animators conference was hosted by the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board and took place on September 24th and 25th at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Barrie.  The keynote speaker was Father Gilles Mongeau, SJ of Regis College, University of Toronto, whose presentation was entitled, “The Inner and Outer Word: the Role of Religious Experience and Doctrine in Faith Formation.”  Father Mongeau facilitated three informative and inspiring sessions related to pastoral responses in the context of sexual orientation and gender identity.  The featured speaker was Sharon McMillan, coordination of Communications and Media Relations for the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, whose presentation was entitled “Using New Media in Faith Formation,” Ms. McMillan led a practical and interactive session in which she highlighted specific ways to incorporate new media/online strategies into the delivery of faith formation programs.  The Symposium came to a close with a culminating mass celebrated by Father Gilles Mongeau s.j. and Deacon Dominic Pullano.

CARFLEO Workshops at When Faith Meets Pedagogy: As a partner with the Catholic Curriculum Corporation, CARFLEO is invited to present a workshop at WFMP each year. At “Embraced, Centred and Gathered as God’s Family” in late October, four workshops were presented by members of the CARFLEO executive.

“Making Fully Alive Fully Alive”: Ann Boniferro and Jan Bentham co-presented the CARFLEO workshop which shared how, in focusing on the dignity and value of every human person, created in the image of God, the Fully Alive program provides teachers with the opportunity to address key Ministry of Education initiatives and strategies related to Equity and Inclusive Education, Mental Health and Wellness, healthy relationships and human sexuality.

“Music for Justice and Spiritual Themes”: Jan Bentham also presented a workshop which led participants through spiritual theme songs that have been written for scriptural themes and explored music linked to the new religious education program and Catholic social teaching themes.

“Literacy — An Interfaith Perspective”: Mark Siolek shared how it is very easy it is to point out the differences among people. By looking at the connections between literacy and inclusivity through an interfaith lens, this seminar provided practical strategies on how to be faithful to the Catholic Faith while respecting and including the needs of students of different faiths.

“Theological Reflection: Examining Life Issues in Light of Scripture and Tradition”: Joe Bezzina outlined how the Religious Education and Family Life Curriculum Documents (Elementary and Secondary) invite students and teachers to employ critical and creative thinking skills and/or processes that include theological reflection (e.g. examining issues in light of Scripture and Tradition and determining meaning for life).

Eastern Ontario Catholic Curriculum Cooperative Conference 2016: The 21st K-12 Annual EOCCC Conference “Opening Doors of Mercy”/”Ouvrir des portes de “misericorde” takes place on Thursday, April 7, 2016 at the Nav Centre, Cornwall, ON. For more information see

 “Though Many, We Are One” Religious Education for Combined Junior Grades is also available for download at

Canadian Forum on Theology and Education: On April 1st and 2nd, two world-renowned theologians, Joan Chittister OSB and Diarmuid O’Murchu MSC, will be speaking on “Evolution and the Spiritual Life: Exploring changing images of God and the Implications for daily life and spirituality”, at St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Conference Centre in Oakville. For further details, see

CARFLEO Conference 2016: “Mercy that Transforms: Creating Spaces of Hope” is the theme for the CARFLEO Conference, which will take place on April 14th and 15th at Queen of the Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga. The keynote speaker will be Mary Jo Leddy, founder of Romero House for Refugees. For further information and registration information, go to

Awards of Excellence in Family Life and Religious Education: the Fr. Angus MacDougall Award for Excellence in Family Life Education, and the Archbishop Pocock Award for Excellence in Religious Education are presented annually at the CARFLEO Conference. This is a good time of year to begin thinking about colleagues whom you think might be worthy of recognition for their work in these important fields. Nomination forms are attached, and are also available, along with the list of previous recipients, at The deadline for nominations is Feb 29th.

CARFLEO Elections: This is an election year for the CARFLEO Executive. Elections will take place at the Conference AGM on April 14th. The CARFLEO Constitution with background on these positions can be found at Nomination forms are attached, if you would like to put someone’s name forward. The deadline for nominations for the positions of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer is March 31st.

CARFLEO Directory of Religious Education Coordinators and Consultants: CARFLEO is adopting a service that was once undertaken by one of its predecessor organization, CRECO (Catholic Religious Education Consultants of Ontario), in publishing a Directory of Directors of Education, and Religious Education Coordinators and Consultants, for CARFLEO member boards throughout the province. Copies of the Directory will be sent to member boards upon its completion.

Finding a new home for liturgical furniture and sacred vessels: For the past ten years Mark Siolek from the TDCSB has been working to salvage, restore and relocate items like pews, stained glass, pianos and organs from churches that are being closed. He currently has a few lecterns, altars, chalices, statues and other items that need to find their way to chapels and schools.  In return, he usually hopes for a small donation to Monsignor Percy Johnson CSS to recover costs associated with transportation or restoration/repair. To date he has been able to relocate such items to 64 elementary schools and 22 high schools in 3 school boards. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about this possibility, can contact Mark at For an article in the Catholic Register about Mark’s work in this area, click here.

CARFLEO Website: The CARFLEO website has been retooled to give it a cleaner look and easier accessibility, but is also now linked to social media feeds such as Twitter and Tumblr and newsletters to keep you up to date about events that affect CARFLEO in particular, and Religious and Family Life Education in general.


CARFLEO has a daily blogpost which describes a resource or website that can be used in the teaching of Religious Education or Family Life Education. In addition news items about Catholic education are also shared. You can get a daily update of this blog post by email by entering your email address in the “Follow Blog via Email” post on the right hand column.

2015/2016 CARFLEO Executive Committee

Paul Beaudette, Chair,  Sr. Pat Carter, Treasurer,  Marylin Dawson, Secretary,

Joe Bezzina, Sharron McKeever, MaryAnn Takacs, Les Miller, Sherry Chapman, Peter Crane, Ann Boniferro, Jan Bentham, John Podgorski, Joanna Newton, Mark Siolek, Nancy Davie

Bishop William McGrattan, ACBO Liaison


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