CARFLEO Newsletter: Advent 2019

In this issue of the CARFLEO Newsletter

  • Advent and Visio Divina
  • The CARFLEO Executive Reflect on Advent
  • CARFLEO Retreat 2020
  • Education for Justice
  • CARFLEO Award Nominations
  • CARFLEO on the Internet
  • CARFLEO Directory
  • EOCCC celebrates its 25th Anniversary
  • CARFLEO and Ecology in Our Schools
  • CARFLEO Executive Committee Update
  • CARFLEO and New Teachers
  • ICYMI: Religious & Family Life Education Resources

Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Annunciation (detail), 1898.

Gospel   |   Commentary


In this blessed season, we hope you find time for peaceful reflection to nurture your souls. Let divine grace fall on you like the gentle snows. Throughout this newsletter you will see images that can be used for Visio Divina in this Advent and Christmas seasons along with links to help you look at the deeper meanings in the art. Visio Divina is a prayer form that uses images to enter into reflection on the sacred in scripture and our daily lives. 

Throughout this school year, CARFLEO has been providing weekly Lectio Divina and Visio Divina formats for preparing for the upcoming Sunday’s Gospel designed for high school students The Lectio Divina follows the normal process (Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, and Contemplatio) plus a suggested song suggestions (audio). Alternately, you can use or supplement the Lectio Divina with a Visio Divina using this format: 

1.Visio (See) Look at the art. What do you see? What is happening?

2.Meditatio (Meditate) How does it make you feel?

3.Lectio (Read, Context) Read the Gospel passage and the commentary. How does the painting correspond with the Gospel? 

4.Oratio (Pray) Silently sit prayerfully opening yourself up to the flow of the Holy Spirit.

5.Contemplatio (Ponder) How is God speaking to you in this Visio Divina? 

6. Operatio (Act) Because of this Visio Divina, what acts or changes in thinking do you want to happen in your life?

Fritz von Uhde, The Road to Bethlehem, 1890

 Gospel    | Commentary


Some of our Executive have shared their thoughts about Advent. We’ve also asked them to let them write a little about themselves.

Peter Bagnall (Treasurer) 

Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington CDSB Religion and Family Life Consultant.

One of my favourite things about Advent is the Jesse tree with the accompanying stories from salvation history.

Paul Beaudette (Vice Chair, Past Chair)

My name is Paul Beaudette and I am the Program Leader for Religion and Family Life Education in the Hamilton-Wentworth CDSB.

I love Advent because its message of hope is a consoling reminder to me that even in the face of dire threats like climate change, the inbreaking love of God can overcome our human short-sightedness and self-interest and lead us to a fuller realization of the kingdom.

Pat Carter csj (Chair)

My name is Pat Carter and I am a Sister of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie.  I work for Huron-Superior C.D.S.B. as their Religious & Family LIfe Education Consultant and Faith Animator.

Advent is my favourite liturgical season because it is a time of contemplative prayer, the decor for the season is simple and it is a time of waiting patiently (a virtue I need to practise a great deal).  I always have all my Christmas gifts purchased before Advent begins so I can fully enter into the season.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Census at Bethlehem, 1568

 Gospel  | Commentary

Peter Crane 

I am a founding member of CARFLEO and retired educator with Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington CDSB. I spent 35 years with that board, the last 12 years as Religion and Family Life Consultant. I was a member of the Fully Alive Renewal Committee, Reviewer for Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ. Presently I am faculty advisor and practicum instructor with Trent University School of Education and Professional Learning.

What I like about Advent: The invitation to prepare for the in-breaking of God’s kingdom in Jesus and the call to live in hope, love, peace and justice now.

Nancy Davie

York Catholic District School Board

Religion, Family Life, Adult Faith, and Equity Consultant

What I love most about Advent is its stillness, reverence, and quiet beauty.

Les Miller (Communications)

Retired from York Catholic District School Board, and OISE. 

I love the quiet moments of Advent as we reflect on how the holy settles among us.

Domenico Ghirlandaio, Adoration of the Shepherds, 1485

Gospel   | Commentary

Michael Nerino 

Catholicity Coordinator for the Northwest Catholic DSB. 

I’m brand new to the CARFLEO family and am excited to work with such an inspiring group of individuals! My favourite aspect of Advent is sharing in the lighting of each candle with my colleagues and students throughout our district. It is truly a time when we share anticipation , all of us, as ONE body of Christ.

Tish Sheppard

Durham Catholic District School Board

Faith Formation Coordinator, Consultant for: Religious & Family Life Education; Equity & Inclusive Education

Advent is special to me because it is the time of year that I so intentionally attempt to truly SLOW DOWN and focus on the true meaning of these special days leading to Jesus’ birth, in spite of the busy-ness that our culture seems to focus on.

Other Executive 2018-2020: Janet Bentham(Secretary), John Murphy (WCDSB), Mark Siolek(OCDSB), Paula Wheeler(CDSBEO), Patricia Dalben (HCDSB), Fr. Obinna Ifeanyi (TCDSB).

Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio, Adoration of the Shepherds, 1609

Gospel    | Commentary

William Kurelek, Northern Nativity, 1957

                    Gospel  | Commentary


In appreciation for continued support of CARFLEO, we are offering school boards a complimentary membership to the Education for Justice website.

“Education for Justice is a global digital subscription membership service that provides resources for those who wish to study, teach, and practice Catholic social tradition. We offer members access to a growing library of thousands of text-based and multimedia resources, a monthly e-newsletter, and other benefits to help them approach the world’s headlines from the perspective of Catholic social tradition.”  

Although the individual accounts typically cost $58/yr CARFLEO has covered this cost for the Religious Education Consultant or Coordinator of each Ontario Catholic school board for the year. They were emailed links to subscribe in November. For more information, contact


We are making changes to this year’s CARFLEO gathering. In response to feedback from last year’s conference, we are continuing the ecological focus but this time our format will more closely resemble a retreat. We will be exploring a model of ecological nurture that we can bring back to our schools and boards. Ecological conversion requires a growth in our intellect, our spirituality and actions. Last year we focussed on understanding the need for ecological conversion. This year we will look at deepening our ecological spirituality. 

Our 2020 CARFLEO Retreat and Annual General Meeting will be held at the Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga. Our AGM will be held on the morning of April 2 followed by our pre-retreat sessions. Our retreat begins at 2pm on Thursday April 2 and ends at 2pm on Friday April 3.  

Our facilitators are Sister Mary Rowell and Sister Linda Gregg, members of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada.  They are members of the team at Villa St. Joseph Ecology and Retreat Centre in Cobourg, Ontario. They also teach at the Toronto School of Theology.. They hold workshops and retreats with various Catholic School Boards and at Villa St. Joseph.

We begin the morning of April 2 with our Annual AGM and pre-conference workshops. Look out for registration on the CARFLEO website ( ) soon.

Paul Gauguin Bébé The Nativity 1896 

Gospel    | Commentary


You can nominate an outstanding Ontario Catholic Religious Educator  for the Archbishop Pocock Award or you can nominate an outstanding Catholic Family Life Educator for the  Fr. Angus MacDougall Award. See the CARFLEO website for more information and nomination forms. The deadline is February 28, 2020.


CARFLEO continues to have a robust presence on the internet in order to fulfill one of its goals of putting quality resources in the hands of Ontario Religious and Family Life Educators. The main vehicle is our website: We have about 1200 different resources compiled over nearly 20 years. Although CARFLEO is used primarily by Ontario educators, 15% of our users are from other countries with the United States, Australia, United KIngdom, Philippines, and India leading the way. Whenever we post on we send out notifications via Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. We also have a Pinterest presence with links to many resources. There are also several videos on our YouTube channel. Our plans include updating and supplementing our resources, adding an Instagram presence and responding to requests for resources from Ontario teachers.

John Singleton Copley, “The Nativity,” 1777

Gospel    | Commentary

                 CARFLEO Advent Resources


CARFLEO is revising its Directory of Ontario Catholic Directors of Education, as well as Religious Education and Family Life Coordinators and Consultants for CARFLEO member boards throughout the province.  We hope to send out electronic copies of the Directory in January 2020 to the Directors of Education and each Board’s CARFLEO contacts.


CARFLEO presented a well-received workshop on Visio Divina at this year’s When Faith Meets Pedagogy conference. Les Miller explained key features of this form of prayer as well as looking at possibilities for further spiritual formation. Slides from this presentation are available at If your board is interested in this presentation please email us at

Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio, Rest on the Flight to Egypt, 1598

Gospel  | Commentary


The Eastern Ontario Catholic Curriculum Corporation celebrates 25 years of serving the Ottawa, Renfrew County, Algonquin-Lakeshore and Eastern Ontario Catholic School Boards. They are to be congratulated for their tremendous support and resources. Many of these resources have been featured on the CARFLEO website, most recently, Learning in the Great Outdoors: A Stewardship Approach to Curriculum K-6. Celebrations take place at their annual conference in April 2020.

CARFLEO and Ecology in Our Schools

CARFLEO’s Conference in 2019 and retreat in 2020 have a theme of the Care for Creation. We are looking at the implications of Laudato Si’ for Religious and Family Life Educators in Ontario. has several resources to support the ecological conversion that Pope Francis calls for:

Henry Ossawa Tanner, Flight to Egypt, 1898

Gospel   | Commentary

CARFLEO and New Teachers

Here are seven ways that can support new teachers in our Catholic schools.

  1. You can find curriculum guidelines under the Religious Education and Family Life menu tabs at the top of the page.
  2. Are you or your students investigating topics in Religious Education and Family Life Education such as social justice, sacraments or over 60 other areas? Then go to our annotated Links pages.
  3. We have ideas for setting up a Classroom Prayer Centre
  4. The weekly Catholic Culture Update from Sr. Pat Carter on the front page of alerts you to events for the upcoming week along with other great resources.. 
  5. You can also find links to Prayer Services for students and teachers.
  6. Get notified of new CARFLEO resources on Twitter (@TWEETcarfleo), Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
  7. We have links to teaching strategies for Religious Education and Family Life Education.

Mattia Preti, St. John the Baptist Preaching, 1665

Gospel   |   Commentary

ICYMI: Religious & Family Life Education Resources






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