Featured Image

KITCHENER, Ontario, December 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An Ontario Catholic school board is holding a “spiritual development” day Friday for teachers that, with the blessing of the bishop, has a facilitator lineup of LGBTQ activists as well as a group that promotes “gender” ideology. 

Moreover, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board has admitted to dismissing parents’ concerns about the event by sending them one pro-forma response, then ignoring them.

Facilitators at the December 6 WCDSB event (see schedule here) include LGBTQ activist Kevin Welbes-Godin, formerly with the homosexual activist group Egale; and retired Catholic principal and lesbian Joan Grundy.

It also features workshops by “unlearn,” the Kitchener-Waterloo-based brainchild of Abhi Ahluwalia that runs school and employer workshops on helping people discover their “unconscious bias” — for a fee of $3,500.

Bishop Douglas Crosby has endorsed the spiritual development day through his vicar of education, Fr. Cornelius “Con” O’Mahony, whom WCDSB director of education Loretta Notten copied on emails between her and LifeSiteNews.

Notten admitted in a reply to O’Mahony inadvertently sent to LifeSiteNews that her policy is to send parents one canned reply, then ignore subsequent questions.

“Confidentially, the diocese has a policy that it does not respond to Life Site News,” O’Mahony wrote Notten. “They will never be happy with any answer you give them to these questions. I am sorry that your Faith day plans have to deal with this.”

Notten responded, “Thank you – I have consistently responded to each inquiry with the prepared answer. After that I have not responded further. I will treat this the same.”

In a request for comment to Notten, LifeSiteNews wrote that there was “good reason to believe these presenters, particularly the 'Unlearn' personnel, will be promoting gender ideology and homosexuality, in contradiction to Catholic teaching.”

“It seems you may be misinformed,” Notten responded.

“The focus of the workshops you reference is building communities of love and inclusion for all of our students. We are very confident in their purpose and appropriateness for our staff. Further, some trustees do plan on attending to hear the workshops for themselves to ensure it is in compliance with our policies,” she wrote.

“There is nothing that will be covered that is contrary to Catholic teaching,” Notten asserted.

“The workshops being delivered on our Spiritual Development Day are centered around our WCDSB Pastoral Theme, Called to Belong – All one in Christ Jesus. Our theme has its roots in the ACBO’s letter on Catholic education Renewing the Promise.”

However, Teresa Pierre, executive director of Parents As First Educators (PAFE), pointed out that the WCDSB pro-forma reply did not “state that the presenters would respect Catholic teaching on gender and sexuality.”

Parents need to ask the board whether any presenter would: 1) “say that there are more than two genders,” and 2) “endorse gender as a non-binary, fluid concept,” advised Pierre on the PAFE website.

Cause for concern

The December 6 WCDSB spiritual development day includes a workshop on “Equity: Building Capacity for LGBTQI2S+ Students” facilitated by Grundy, who wrote a book in 2015 describing her rejection of Catholic teaching on homosexuality, and who admitted to being a lesbian relationship for about a decade during her 28 years as a Catholic prinicpal.

“Jesus was a man who welcomed, accepted and celebrated all people. This workshop will offer practical strategies for how to support some of our most vulnerable students, those who identify as LGBTQI2S+” reads the description of Grundy’s session.

Former Catholic teacher Welbes-Godin is well-known for his LGBGQ advocacy as coordinator for diversity and inclusion with Egale and liaison between the homosexual activist group and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), itself notorious for a leadership that dissents from the Church’s teachings on sexuality.

Welbes-Godin blogs at New Ways Ministry, which has been condemned by the Vatican and the United States bishops’ conference for its dissent on Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

In a January article for NWM, he lauded parents for successfully lobbying the Ottawa Catholic School Board to reverse its ban of Raina Telgemeier’s popular graphic novel Drama, which includes “an onstage kiss between two adolescent boys,” from elementary schools.

“What is important that the majority of parents are now empowered to speak truth to the knee-jerk reactions of nervous administrators. Their voice is growing … The voice of opposition to institutional homo/bi/transphobia,” he wrote.

As for “Unlearn,” the company “teaches the scientifically invalid ideas of multiple genders as well as the notion that white children are bigoted against other races due to ‘unconscious bias,’” noted Pierre.

“Pope Francis has declared gender ideology ‘demonic,’” she wrote.

That’s echoed by Jack Fonseca, director of political operations for Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family lobbying group.

“I can’t believe the school board actually has the audacity call this anti-Catholic propaganda event a ‘Spiritual Development Day,’” he told LifeSiteNews.

“Well, I suppose it will be spiritual programming in a sense. Just that it will not be inspired by the Spirit of God,” added Fonseca. “This programming comes from the Adversary of God and man, and it seeks to drive teachers farther away from the truth of God.”

Genesis reveals that “God made man in His image. In the image of God He Made him. Male and female He made them,” Fonseca said.

“By destroying the belief that God created males and females, and getting Catholics to believe instead that male and female don’t exist, but are social constructs, and that we can each choose whether to be a man or woman or 70 other ‘genders,’ the devil is spitting on God’s very image in creation.”

The event also earned reproof from St. Jerome’s University professor emeritus of philosophy Donald DeMarco.

“Catholic education should be Catholic,” he wrote in Crisis Magazine. “The secular world can be enticing, but Catholicism has something better to offer.” 

To respectfully express your views, contact:

Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., D.D.
(905) 528-7988 x2222
Email: [email protected]

Loretta Notten, WCDSB Director of Education 
Phone: 519-578-3660
Email: [email protected]

Fr. Cornelius O’Mahony
Vicar of Education
St. Andrew Parish
47 Reynolds Street 
Oakville L6J 3J9
Phone: (905) 844-3303
Email: [email protected]


Bill Conway – Chair
Phone: 519-241-9574
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @BkconwayConway

Melanie Van Alphen – Vice Chair
Phone: 226-972-1482
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @MelVanAlphen

Manuel da Silva
Phone: 519-622-3039
Email: [email protected]

Kevin Dupuis
Phone: 519-669-0480
Email: [email protected]

Jeanne Gravelle
Phone: 519-505-7074
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @JeanneGravelle

Wendy Price
Phone: 519-623-0052
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @WendyPrice59

Greg Reitzel
Phone: 519-662-3714
Email: [email protected]

Brian Schmalz
Phone: 519-743-5457
Email: [email protected]

Tracey Weiler
Phone: 519-504-1274
Email: [email protected]


Commenting Guidelines
LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.