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					 SCHOOLS                                                                                  H-WCDSB
                                                                                            POLICY
                                                                                          MANUAL

 BLESSING AND OFFICIAL OPENING OF SCHOOLS                                                         S.14

 POLICY

 1.     An appropriate ceremony shall be arranged for the solemn blessing, dedication and official
        opening of a new school or an addition to a school.

2.      The Bishop of the Diocese shall be invited to officiate at the Blessing and Official
        Opening of a new school.

3.      The Episcopal Vicar for Education of the Diocese or the local pastor shall be invited
        to officiate at the Blessing and Dedication of a new addition(s) to a school or other
        Board related facility.

 PROCEDURES

 The following procedures shall be adopted for the blessing and official opening of a new school
 or an addition to a school:

 1.     Program Committee:

        Six months prior to the official opening the Supervisory Officer will organize an official
        opening program committee comprised of the principal, other designated school staff,
        child care co-ordinator, local pastor or school chaplain, local school trustee(s), chair of the
        Catholic School Council, president of the Student Council, Communications Officer and
        representative from the Director's office. The blessing and official opening procedures are
        to be reviewed by the program committee.

 2.     Date and Time of Opening:

        Subject to a date and time suitable for either the Bishop of the Diocese, the Episcopal
        Vicar for Education or the local pastor, the Supervisory Officer, at least 6 months prior
        to the opening, arranges an appropriate date and time through communication with:

               Chairperson of the Board;
               Director of Education;
               Chancery Office; and/or
               Local Pastor
               School Principal

        The date and time are announced officially at a Board Meeting.
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SCHOOLS                                      -2-                                   H-WCDSB
                                                                                     POLICY
                                                                                   MANUAL

BLESSING AND OFFICIAL OPENING OF SCHOOLS                                                  S.14


3.   Announcements:

     A memorandum announcing the official opening is to be sent to the Board of Trustees
     and Senior Administration by the Director of Education, at least three months before the
     official opening.


4.   Invitations:

     In consultation with the school’s Supervisory Officer, invitations are to be prepared
     by the office of the Director of Education.

     Once invitations are approved and printed, they are to be sent by at least one month prior
     to the RSVP date - generally two weeks before the opening date.

     The guest list shall have three parts. They are:

            platform guests
            special guests
            general

     The list of platform guests shall/may include:

            Bishop of Hamilton
            Local Pastor
            Member of Federal Government
            Minister of Education
            Provincial MPP
            Mayor of Municipality
            Chairperson of the Board
            Local School Trustee(s)
            Director of Education
            Superintendent of Education
            Chairperson, Catholic School Council
            President, Students' Council
            Principal
            Architect
            President, Construction Company
            Other (discretion of Chairperson of the Board/Principal of school)




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SCHOOLS                                          -3-                                  H-WCDSB
                                                                                        POLICY
                                                                                      MANUAL

BLESSING AND OFFICIAL OPENING OF SCHOOLS                                                     S.14


     Platform guests generally play a prominent role in the blessing and official opening or
     dedication proceedings. They are to be invited by special letter, by the Chairperson of the
     Board, through the Director's office, who will notify them of the date, time, where and to
     whom to report, and duty they are to perform, i.e. bring greetings, cut ribbon, present keys.
     RSVP's are to be received by the Director's office.

     The list of special guests shall include:

            Trustees
            Area Clergy
            City Councillor(s) within school's jurisdiction
            Superintendents
            Principals from feeder schools
            Representatives from religious orders affiliated with the school
            Consulting Engineers
            Former Trustees of the Ward (where applicable)
            Former Administrators (where applicable)
            Contributors to school, e.g. sculptor, others
            Representatives of Staff Associations/Organizations
            Other appropriate administrative officials
            Co-ordinator, Child Care Program
            Supervisor, Child Care Centre

     Special Guests are to be invited by printed invitation card and “Special Guest” ticket,
     through the Director's office. An RSVP would not be required.

     The general invitation list shall include:

            Staff of New School
            Parents of Student Body
            Principals of Neighbouring Public Elementary and Secondary Schools
            Representatives from Business Community
            Others at discretion of Principal
            All Principals - Elementary/Secondary (invitations sent through Director’s
            Office
            Managers/Supervisors of Various Board Departments (invitations sent
            through Director’s Office)

     Those groups on the general invitation list are to receive the printed invitation card from
     the Principal of the school. An RSVP would not be required.

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SCHOOLS                                     -4-                                     H-WCDSB
                                                                                      POLICY
                                                                                    MANUAL

BLESSING AND OFFICIAL OPENING OF SCHOOLS                                                  S.14


5.   Programme:

     The programme shall consist of:

            Blessing of School (and Chapel)
            Entrance of Official Party to Platform
            Opening Comments
            National Anthem
            Opening Prayer
            Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
            Presentation of Speakers: (where appropriate) in the following order;

            -Bishop of Hamilton
            -Chairperson of the Board
            -Member of Federal Government
            -Minister of Education
            -Member of Provincial Parliament
            -Mayor of Municipality
            -Director of Education
            -Superintendent of Education
            -Chairperson, Catholic School Council
            -President, Student Council

            Blessing of Crucifix(es) (to be placed in classrooms and other appropriate
            locations

            Presentation of Ceremonial Key to the Principal of the School – Architect

            Closing Remarks

            Refreshments and Tour


6.   Master of Ceremonies:

     The Master of Ceremonies shall be a trustee from the ward or designate.

     Where there is more than one trustee in the ward, the Master of Ceremonies duties may be
     shared among the trustees, e.g. opening remarks, introduction of speakers, but the Master
     of Ceremonies opening the proceedings shall also close the proceedings.
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SCHOOLS                                        -5-                                H-WCDSB
                                                                                    POLICY
                                                                                  MANUAL

BLESSING AND OFFICIAL OPENING OF SCHOOLS                                                 S.14


7.     Blessing:

       The ceremony for the blessing of the school shall be planned in consultation with the
       pastor, principal and Supervisory Officer.

Members of the Blessing Party shall include:

       *      Bishop                                 *    Supervisory Officer
       *      Parish Priest                          *    Director of Education
       *      Chairperson of the Board               *    Principal
       *      Trustee(s) from the ward               *    Altar Servers

8.     Preparation of School:

       To mark the importance of the blessing and official opening or dedication, the school
       shall be appropriately prepared and decorated with the use of statues, flags, art work,
       displays, welcome signs, direction signs, guest books.

9.     Lobby Plaque

       To mark the Blessing and Official Opening of a new school and in order to recognize
       the elected Trustees and others for their efforts and public service in providing new
       and/or improved facilities for the Catholic community, the Board shall have
       installed a commemorative plaque in the new school.

       The plaque will be a maximum size of 46 x 66 centimetres (18” x 26”) or the
       equivalent area, and will contain the following information:

              Board logo
              Name of school
              Blessing and Official Opening date
              Dedication by Bishop
              Names of Board members (as of Official Opening date)
              Chairperson of the Board
              Director of Education
              Architect
              Contractor



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SCHOOLS                                       -6-                                    H-WCDSB
                                                                                       POLICY
                                                                                     MANUAL

BLESSING AND OFFICIAL OPENING OF SCHOOLS                                                    S.14


10.   News Media:

      Communications Officer will notify the area print and broadcast media of the event at
      least two to three weeks prior to the opening and coordinate news media requirements the
      day of the event.

10.   Photographs:

      Arrangements for photography and video will be the responsibility of the
      Communications Office and the school.

11.   Budget:

      The Supervisory Officer and Principal will establish a budget for the costs of the Blessing
      and Official Opening or Dedication Ceremonies. The costs will be covered centrally.
      The budget shall be authorized by the Supervisory Officer. An itemized statement of
      disbursements, along with corresponding receipts, is to be submitted to the school's
      Superintendent within thirty (30) days of the event.

12.   Post Follow Up:

      Thank you cards/letters will be sent, by the Chairperson of the board, to the platform
      guests for their participation. The Supervisory Officer and Principal shall decide what
      other participants are to be thanked and shall convey their gratitude to them.

BM    10 Dec 96, 7 Nov 00, 7 JUN 05                                                      NEPN:
                                                                                            F1
RELATED BY-LAW(S):                          N.A.

RELATED BOARD COMMITTEE: Religion, Family Life and Instructional Services

PROCEDURES REVIEW DATE: Five (5) years

				
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