The Most Rev. Joseph Dabrowski, Auxiliary Bishop of London led a service of prayer and blessing on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at St. Angela Merici Catholic School in Chatham.
Bishop Dabrowski was assisted by Father Jim Higgins, Pastor of the Chatham Catholic Family of Parishes.
Because of the current restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the service was held virtually and was live-streamed to the community, from the school gymnasium.
Only 10 people – those directly participating in the service of blessing – were present in the gym.
“This school is rooted in the rich history of three schools,” said St. Angela Merici Catholic School Principal Juli Faubert, in a media release.
“St. Vincent, St. Agnes and Our Lady of Fatima.”
“Our new school is a beacon of hope to our community – a visible sign of Catholic education in Chatham and a place where both now and in the future, our students will grow in faith, hope and love,” added Superintendent of Education Laura Callaghan.
Tribute was also paid to the Ursuline Sisters, who were the founders of Catholic education in Chatham.
“The Ursuline Sisters of the Chatham Union are the foundresses of the three schools, which are officially united today as one,” stated Deb Crawford, Director of Education, in a media release.
“The school name was chosen to honour the Ursuline sisters; St. Angela is their patron Saint.”
“May St. Angela, a woman of deep prayer and bold action for the sake of the Gospel, inspire our whole school family to become a hopeful, loving community,” said Sister Theresa Campeau, Community Leader, Ursuline Sisters, Chatham, in a media release.
In his homily, Bishop Dabrowski reminded the students that their school is a place where they can discover their gifts and talents and learn who Jesus wants them to become.
“In our Catholic schools, we form a community to pray, play, learn and grow together,” said
“Your school has great programs, dedicated teachers and support staff … but most importantly, it’s a place where you learn how much Jesus loves you and how you can follow him more closely and love him in return.”
Music for the event was provided by Dorothy deBakker, Coordinator of Youth Ministry for the Kent Deanery.
At the conclusion of the live prayer service, a six minute video took viewers on a virtual tour of the state-of-the-art school and included highlights from the construction phase.
Also included were video greetings from Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls, Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff, Parent Advisory Council Chair Anita Hudson and students from the school.
The service ended with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, with Deb Crawford, Sister Theresa Campeau, John Van Heck, Bishop Dabrowski and Father Jim Higgins.