September 27, 2023, Brantford, Ont. – The Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board (BHNCDSB) has officially named its newest Catholic secondary school and elementary school. The decision was made after a community consultation that provided various recommendations to the Board of Trustees for consideration.
At last night’s Board meeting, the Trustees of the BHNCDSB unanimously approved St. Padre Pio Catholic Secondary School as the new name of the Catholic secondary school being constructed on the north side of Powerline Road, between Greenfield and Old Farm roads in Brantford. The trustees also approved the name of Pope Francis Catholic Elementary School as the name for the new Catholic elementary school being built near the intersection of MacLachlan Ave and Whitehorn Crescent in Caledonia.
St Padre Pio was born on May 25, 1887, in the Archdiocese of Benevento Italy. He was a follower of St. Francis of Assisi and became a Capuchin Franciscan friar and priest in 1910. He demonstrated fully his love for everyone by welcoming countless people to his ministry and he gave himself to everyone, rekindling their faith, dispensing grace, and bringing light to their lives. St. Padre Pio was especially known for his ministry to the poor, the suffering, and the sick, as he saw the image of Christ in them.
During his lifetime, he enjoyed a vast reputation for his sanctity because of his virtues, his spirit of prayer, sacrifice, and total dedication to the good of souls. In the years following his death, his reputation for sanctity and miracles grew steadily and became established in the Roman Catholic Church and all over the world.
Pope John Paul II recognized Padre Pio as a saint on June 16, 2002, and he is the patron saint of civil defense, volunteers, adolescents, and the village of Pietrelcina Italy. Pope Francis also supported popular devotion to St. Padre Pio during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in St. Peter’s Basilica in February 2016. He specifically honoured Padre Pio as a “saint-confessor” to inspire people to resort to the sacrament of Penance during the Jubilee.
Pope Francis Catholic Elementary School is set to welcome students in September 2025 to address the ever-growing Caledonia and area population.
Upon being elected the first Jesuit pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio selected the name Francis to emphasize the spirit of poverty and peace embodied by Saint Francis of Assisi. As the spiritual leader of our Catholic community, the Pope has been a transformational leader for the Catholic church. His focus on inclusivity and his work towards reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, along with his care for the climate, and care for the earth made his namesake a natural choice.
“The communities of Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, and the City of Brantford are growing exponentially,” said Chair of the Board, Rick Petrella. “Due to the continued unprecedented increased enrolment in our system, the BHNCDSB has formulated a vision to support and continue offering Catholic education in facilities that offer progressive learning opportunities for the students of tomorrow.”
“Our two new schools,” continued Petrella “are being built with a focus on what the world will look like, not what it is today. This new Catholic secondary school will have an emphasis on skilled trades and advanced technologies, and we are working with industry and community partners to ensure we are building it, and preparing our students, for the jobs of tomorrow. We want to ensure that our graduates are well-prepared to begin their post-secondary journeys including seeking occupations that don’t yet exist in 2023. The secondary school, which is open access and available to both Catholic and non-Catholic families, is being fast-tracked to address the severe over-population of local area high schools. It is scheduled to open its doors and welcome students in September 2026.”
The Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board offers faith-based education serving nearly 13,000 students from Six Nations of the Grand River, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Brant, Haldimand, and Norfolk Counties, and the City of Brantford. The district has over 1,700 full and part-time staff committed to Belonging, Teaching and Learning, and Wellness for all.
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For more information about this release contact:
Rick Petrella, BHNCDSB Chair of the Board