Archbishop Nicholas Chia gives a lighted candle to Ms Mabel Lim from St Joseph’s Church Childcare Centre during the Jan 22 commissioning ceremony for new principals of Catholic schools.

The annual commissioning ceremony for new principals of Catholic schools is a great encouragement, say educators who attended a recent ceremony.

“It shows that the Catholic Church and especially the supervisors are behind us and they support us,” said Mrs Judina Cheong, Hai Sing Catholic School principal.

“The commissioning is very meaningful as it reminds us of what we have been chosen and called to do, just as the apostles were called,” said Ms Genevieve Chye, principal of Montfort Junior School.

Mrs Cheong and Ms Chye were among some 80 educators who attended the commissioning ceremony of eight new Catholic school principals on Jan 22. The event, held at the Church of St Teresa, also included a service of commitment for other principals and vice principals.

During the Mass, Archbishop Nicholas Chia assured the Catholic educators that he, together with all members of the Church, support them in their work.

If you believe that God is at the centre of the meaning of existence itself and that our Catholic schools have a singular purpose to enhance human dignity and life, you will find that you can steer a steady path towards the light, said Archbishop Chia.

Principals of Catholic Schools have been commissioned annually since 2005.

“It’s a great event for all principals as it’s a good occasion to unite all Catholic principals and educators,” said Ms Mabel Lim from St Joseph’s Church Childcare Centre, who was commissioned that day.

Since last year all pre-school principals have been invited to join in the commissioning ceremony as a sign that the Church acknowledges the importance of such education.

According to the organiser, Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools (ACCS), being commissioned as a school principal means that one’s mission of being a close collaborator with Christ in sharing the Good News is affirmed.

There are presently 17 kindergartens, three childcare centres, 19 primary schools, 15 secondary schools, one junior college, one international school and one special needs school run by the Catholic Church in Singapore.

Apart from the recent ceremony, other ACCS events for 2011 include workshops on Integral Pedagogy and Catholic Ethos by Jesuit Fr Nobert Menezes, a religious education training programme for pre-school teachers and principals, and an introduction to meditation for teachers.

By Don Gurugay