Have a Merry and Blessed Christmas

For many of us, this has not been the year – or the Christmas – we had hoped for. Luckily, our faith in God has remained with us, and we can still reach out to our family, friends, co-workers and neighbours.

Christmas will be different again this year…..we are all weary of the pandemic, continuing lock downs, stay at home orders, and social distancing which has affected the home, work, school and church which is strongly dependent  on physical, communal worship and participation in the sacraments. Since the pandemic only 4 in 10 Catholics attend church in person.

Spending the holidays with only the people we live with, I whole heartedly agree for safety reasons it is a prudent action, however, for those who live alone, it’s a tough one-two punch, brought by the pandemic’s requirement of social distancing or through isolation.

This the second consecutive year people are making plans to celebrate the coming of Jesus by dropping off or receiving food from local family and friends, instead of attending in person, exchanging hugs, gifts and sitting together for a meal.

For us Catholics, the gift of sharing and savoring the love and gratitude we have for each other is stronger than our physical distances.

Together we’re navigating through some dark uncertain times as we head straight into the second full winter of Covid-19 and its variants, Delta and Omicron.

Clearly, the 2021 holiday season will be much like 2020 because our government continues to recommend strongly that Canadians restrict their travel for the Christmas holidays.

Let us be cognizant of the fact that this much separation from one another is hard. After nearly 19 months, pandemic fatigue is real and mental health issues are manifesting themselves all around us for all age groups, especially for those who are marginalized.

I was interested in knowing how HCDSB teachers, students and families are coping, so I asked some of our principals, vice-principals, teachers, support staff, students and parents to tell me how they’re planning to navigate the holiday season, this the second year of an ever evolving world wide crisis. I received many responses which were both heartfelt and affirming that the general consensus was that we’re all struggling albeit differently.

To deal with this stressful reality many HCDSB stakeholders are finding all sorts of ways to connect, celebrate, and reflect so as to offset the ills of social distancing.

The net result is that there will be mass attendance and dinners over social media platforms like Zoom, but also many small gatherings outdoors, around bonfires and on porches beneath heated lamps.

Everyone that I speak to tell me they take the dangers of the pandemic seriously. They are making personal sacrifices to protect themselves, their families and to keep their school communities safe.

As we move into 2022 let us remember that it’s our Catholic faith that gives us hope and a strong community.

I wish everyone a Merry and Blessed Christmas and a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Amanda BartucciHave a Merry and Blessed Christmas
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December 2020 Newsletter

Christmas is a time for us to rejoice and celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is also a time of reflection and renewal as we prepare for the coming year. It can also be a difficult time for many of our families, and more so, during this unprecedented year, because everything will be different for many of us who will only be able to attend mass virtually. There will be no Christmas parties in the company of friends, or colleagues and no large family get-togethers, from which we will be restricted this year.

As this uprecedented year is coming to an end where virtually every person has suffered the effects of this global pandemic, there is nothing more important we can do then to turn our collective focus on the coming of our Saviour and what his life means in our Catholic faith. Through prayer we were able to navigate our way through these incredible and unimaginable changes which no one could have prepared us to confront because we had no manual to guide us through 2020. We have had to adjust quickly, be resilient, and work together through a pandemic while maintaining social distancing.

This has been a tough year for everyone, yet we continue to inspire each other with our faith, ingenuity, commitment and hard work. Parents have entrusted their children to our teachers and look to them as an example of strength, stability, safety and hope as daily challenges arise. Thank you to our school communities for your bravery, commitment to Catholic Education and for maintaining a safe school with unproven safety protocols.

As your Burlington Trustee at large, I pray that you safely celebrate the Christmas holidays and the coming of the New Year, knowing with certainty that your Catholic education and faith has taught you that there is always light in the darkest days and that the birth of Jesus brings the message of hope, love, forgiveness and peace. 

May the Lord bless you as you all do your best to share the Christmas season and throughout the New Year. I wish you and yours a heartfelt Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Vincent Iantomasi
Burlington Trustee at Large

C: 905-536-4100 B: 905-632-6300

Catholic Education Centre
802 Drury Lane, Burlington, Ontario L7R 2Y2

Amanda BartucciDecember 2020 Newsletter
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April 2020 Newsletter

To Our HCDSB family, 

As Catholics, Holy Week is a marked time of renewal and hope, typically pronounced by the physical church as a visible social institution where our clergy are able to tend to us. During these unprecedented times of a pandemic which has led to schools and churches being closed, social distancing, isolation from family, friends and co-workers, our priests are having to find new ways to connect so that we may remain united. 

During this difficult, unsettling time we are privileged that the use of media tools can provide faith-filled content which brings consolation and hope into our homes. We are fortunate that livestreams of masses are now available, with parishes offering various forms for confession.  

Likewise, Catholic schools have always served to evangelize our culture so that our faith in Christ is never quarantined and grows daily.  

HCDSB teachers, through Distance Learning, continue to build positive online faith-filled communities. As we move through these new, uncharted times, we are faced with challenges for creating community remotely on large scales. HCDSB continues its leadership with a commitment to our parents who’ve entrusted their children to our system, as our educators will continue to connect with kids, authentically and sincerely, to achieve excellence. 

The Board, through its dedicated administrative staff, principals, teachers and educational workers have been working diligently so that every online session explores how to continue community-building and relationship-building strategies, to support children, infusing elements of our faith. Patience will be necessary from everyone as all the elements for delivery to the system are rolled out, tested and tweaked. 

As we enter the “Triduum”, the last three days of prayer before we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I cannot help but to make the connection that this is also the third day of Distance Learning! The timing of Easter when we most need to have faith and hope for a renewal in life is direly needed and welcomed. 

Thank you to one and all for your efforts and please be assured that the HCDSB family will continue with our prayers. Let us keep in mind all those suffering from sickness, who have lost loved ones and those who are stepping up daily to keep us moving in a positive direction. Gratitude is the underpinning of our faith and will help us navigate our daily lives, especially over the next few months. 

Finally, upon reflecting on the current situation, I am struck by the spirit that drives the human soul and the way in which we rise collectively to overcome adversity.  

May God Bless you and keep you safe as we navigate together through these unprecedented times. Let our Easter season be a reminder that there is much light and power in our presence if we follow in the footsteps of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Vincent Iantomasi
Chair of the Board

Amanda BartucciApril 2020 Newsletter
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April 2019 Newsletter

It seems like just yesterday that the 2018 Municipal Elections took place, resulting in eight (8) newly elected Trustees and one (1) re-elected Trustee on the Halton Catholic District School Board for the 2018-2022 term of office.

It was a hard-fought campaign, which saw no less than 35 candidates registering their names across the four Halton communities, all with a commitment to a transparent, equitable, safe, faith-based, publicly funded education model.

Since our official inauguration on December 4, 2018, my colleagues and I have been working diligently implementing the Ministry of Education legislation into policies through a Catholic lens.

The Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association (OCSTA) hosted an Orientation and Finance session in January that was well attended by our Board Trustees, and we were privileged to gain knowledge of the role of the Trustee with a focus on Catholic values. Being among over 200 Trustees from all over the province, it was inspiring to witness the dedication to Catholic education.

My participation on the Policy, Salary Advisory, Audit and Discipline Committees, as well as working alongside my fellow Catholic School Trustees, the Director, and staff, have given me great insight so far into the inner workings of the school board and the delivery of Catholic Education to more than 35,000 students across 57 schools.

In keeping with the Catholic Education model of preparing the whole child, we are in the third year of implementation of our Board’s five-year Strategic Plan, focusing on ‘Achieving, Believing, Belonging’. The commitment to this plan is driven by the leadership of our new Director, Mr. Pat Daly, and our senior staff, consisting of 10 Superintendents – three of which are new to their roles.

With all of the new faces and initiatives at the Halton Catholic District School Board, the operative word is renewal. This is evident in, for example, the $18 million renovations at Assumption Catholic Secondary School – the first Catholic high school in Halton. We are beyond grateful for the Halton District School Board for their cooperation, and for allowing our students to be housed in the former Pearson School as they await construction of their new school.

As your Trustee, I am working to visit all of our schools in Burlington. To date, I have had the opportunity to attend several school events and activities, some of which include Notre Dame’s hosting of Burlington’s Mayor Marianne Mead Ward, Assumption’s Mary Poppins production, the Assumption Family of Schools’ speech finals at St. John’s, St Anne’s School Council meeting, the STEAM presentation at St. Gabriel, and participating in the salad cart program at Holy Rosary. My goal is to continue to participate in as many functions as possible and represent our Board of Trustees wherever possible.

The provincial government has just released its first budget with a focus on fiscal responsibility, which requires balanced budgets for all school boards. Trustees and senior staff will be collaborating to deliver equitable education with lower funding and still meet the needs of all our students and teachers.

Sincerest congratulations to all of our staff, students and families on a successful year and congratulations to all graduates, at every stage of education and direction they are travelling.

Wishing you a very blessed Easter season!



Amanda BartucciApril 2019 Newsletter
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