“Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.”
That was, indeed, what the annual Intermediate Scripture Reading Event purposed to do as more than 160 Grade 7 & 8 students from 47 elementary schools across the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board came together at Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School on May 9 “to celebrate the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel.”
Sponsored by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) – Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Unit and Trustees of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, the Intermediate Scripture Reading Event was developed in 1990 as a means to enhance students’ celebration of the Gospel in an active, visible manner.
The event was one of several activities hosted by the Board to mark Catholic Education Week (May 7-11).
Indicating that “Renewing the Promise” was the theme for this year’s Catholic Education Week, Loretta Piro-Cinelli, Co-chair of the 2018 System Intermediate Scripture Reading Committee, added: “To us, ‘Renewing the Promise’ means taking the time to explicitly remember the promise we made at baptism and in choosing Catholic education.”
“This promise lives within all of us and through daily prayer and reflection we are able to live and proclaim the promise to place our faith in action to live the gospel values and continue to demonstrate our service and responsibility as soldiers of Christ.”
The Scripture Reading Event provides an opportunity not only for intermediate students to become more familiar with Scripture, but to develop their public speaking skills, she explained. In Scripture reading, delivery, etiquette and overall deportment play a critical role in the presentation. Students are assigned points for reverence, posture, appearance and comfort level, as well as for enunciation, volume, pitch and pace, and eye contact.
“We come to know Christ through the witness of others and through the proclamation of the gospel, and tonight you did that so very well, with reverence and confidence,” Chairperson Patrick Daly addressed the student participants at a recognition ceremony following the presentations.
“Our world today more than ever needs to hear the gospel proclaimed in that way and I would argue more than ever it needs to hear it from young people.”
Noting that he was impressed with the number of students who chose the Gospel as their scripture passage, President of OECTA Elementary Nick de Koning added, “that really is the story of Jesus, central to our faith.”
“And to hear you say it – and many of those passages I’ve heard many, many times before as I’m sure have your parents – but to hear you say it in a way that only you could, brings out something different and new in the story, and what a wonderful job.”
As educators, parents and future leaders, we are all challenged to renew the promise of our faith, stressed Scripture Reading Co-chair Tina Fricano. “Pope Francis states, ‘whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. How good it is to come back to Him whenever we are lost.’”
“Pope Francis reminds us that it is through the reading of Scripture that we find the answers to our questions and renew our personal encounter with Jesus.”
Added Director of Education David Hansen. “The way we know Christ is through the words of the gospel and that’s what we saw tonight.”
“Students, you helped us to understand Christ better because of the way in which you delivered the scripture.”
“I congratulate you for your participation, for your proclamation of the gospel and for having the courage to stand up at school,” he added. “For you to speak of your friendship with Christ out loud – what a visible sign of faith in our schools.”