Solemn Blessing and Official Opening of Pope Francis Catholic Elementary School in Kleinburg

Pope Francis Catholic Elementary School held its official blessing and school opening on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. To start the evening, the school's primary students sang, which was followed by a procession of dignitaries and students waving flags from over 60 countries that represent the background of the student body.

The blessing ceremony was led by Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick of the Archdiocese or Toronto, and Monsignor Gregory Ace of St. Padre Pio Church, who blessed the new school and the classrooms' crucifixes. Students and Catholic School Council members assisted with the readings and the school's performance club sang hymns.

Following the blessing, there were speeches by board officials including:  School Trustee, Teresa Ciaravella who was the MC; YCDSB Chair, Carol Cotton; YCDSB Director of Education, Patricia Preston; and the school's Superintendent of Education, Mary Battista.

There were also greetings by: Nick Groves who represented Saccoccio Weppler Architects who designed the school; Vaughan Mayor, Maurizio Bevilacqua and Deputy Mayor, Michael Di Biase; Ministry of Education Representative, Andrew Locker; and Member of Parliament, Deborah Schulte.

Throughout the night there were great performances by the school's students, and students read Tweets sent by the school's namesake, Pope Francis.  A scroll sent by Pope Francis to the school was on display.  Following the ceremony, an open house was held and families toured the school and viewed the impressive art work that was on display throughout the new facility.

Pope Francis school first opened its doors to approximately 250 students in JK – Grade 8 in September, when it became the first York Catholic school in York Region's Kleinburg community. The 65,015 square foot school was also the first English-language school to open in the Greater Toronto area named after Pope Francis. The school's student teams and clubs are called the Pope Francis Cardinals – a play on its papal connection.

The school features six kindergarten classrooms specially designed for play-based learning, a music room, reflection room, and a special education classroom. Pope Francis CES was designed with several environmentally-friendly features including lighting controlled by occupancy and daylight sensors, and water bottle filling stations to conserve water use. The school was designed to provide barrier free access to both floors, and signage and tactile warning devices assist the visually impaired.

View Full Photo Gallery