The philosophy of the Religion Department is rooted deeply in the Judeo-Christian tradition, which sees all persons as valued and sacred, as made in the image of God. The Department's mission is, indeed, the School's mission--to help young men grow in wisdom and grace, and in their capacities to know, love, and serve God and neighbor.
True to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and appreciative of the teachings of diverse religious traditions, all students are invited to God in an inclusive way through a variety of courses and programs. In providing a basic knowledge of Catholic theology, the academic goal is to help students acquire broad based religious literacy, including knowledge and appreciation of other religions. Similar to other academic course offerings, religion courses foster the continued development of reading and writing skills, and they demand critical and incisive thinking. In its required courses, the department seeks to evoke in all students the search for Truth, as well as to engage all students in the quest for meaning.
In addition to intellectual development, the department shares the responsibility of moral and ethical development with the larger School community. Love of neighbor, the centerpiece of Christian life, is the fundamental choice which students are called to make. In their daily interactions, all students are encouraged to both live and promote the gospel values. Community service plays a vital role within the curriculum, and students are encouraged to pursue service opportunities through School-sponsored programs and in their local communities.
Spiritually, the department aspires to deepen the religious awareness and active faith lives of all students. The Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation are offered on a regular basis, and the department works to help Catholic students prepare to be confirmed in their local parish. To further help students nurture and deepen their relationship with God, the department sponsors frequent retreats and days of reflection. As students grow in understanding and respect for their own religious culture, they are encouraged to continue the significant spiritual journeys they have already begun.
- Introduction to Catholicism
- Church History and Heroes
- Sacramental Life
- Christian Ethics
- Western Philosophy
This seventh grade course provides an overview of the major topics undertaken during the students' six years of religious study at the School. Students are provided with introductory information on Catholic doctrine, and they explore in a general way some scripture, morality, and sacramental theology. In concert with their other courses, students develop research and paper-writing skills, do independent projects, and make frequent oral presentations.
This eighth grade course begins with the study of Catholic Church history providing a thematic overview of the growth of Christianity, and concludes with an examination of contemporary Catholicism in North America. Linked to this study, students undertake an examination of people who throughout the course of the Church's history have struggled to understand Christ's teachings and live them without compromise. The lives of such great Christian heroes as Father Damien DeVeuster, St. Francis of Assisi, Maximiliam Kolbe, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta receive in-depth consideration. The grade eight curriculum also includes a program on sex education and Christian values. Students grow in awareness of their own sexuality and they learn the Christian perspective on sex. The physical and psychological changes of adolescence are examined, and a sensitive treatment of personal and social issues is provided.
This ninth grade course begins with a fundamental review of the beliefs of the Catholic faith. Students grow in their understanding of Catholic beliefs, practices, traditions, and prayers. The focal point of the course is a detailed study of the history and theology of the seven sacraments, culminating with a concentrated study of the Sacrament of Confirmation. This theological study fully prepares the Catholic students in the course for the celebration of the sacrament in their local parish church.
This tenth grade course examines in detail the Old and New Testaments. Initially, the major ideas and developments of the Old Testament are treated. The Bible is placed in an historical and cultural context, illustrating the historical reality of God's relationship to humanity. All the books of the Old Testament are subsequently studied. In the second part of the course, students examine the New Testament with particular attention to its origin, authorship, and historical setting.
This eleventh grade course begins with an inquiry into Christian moral principles and the process of ethical decision-making. From this Christian theoretical foundation, contemporary moral issues, such as political persecution and economic injustice, are considered. Personal ethical issues, such as the use of drugs and alcohol, social relationships and sexuality, and peer and cultural pressure, are also analyzed in light of Christian values.
The twelfth grade course introduces students to some of the major questions of western philosophy. Students are challenged to think more deeply about concepts fundamental to their theoretical and practical reasoning: the soul, virtue, friendship, freedom, happiness, and purpose among others. Reading actual texts of philosophers, students begin the year studying the Greek founders of philosophy (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle). They then study the two most important Christian philosophers (Augustine and Aquinas) and two from the modern era (Pascal and Locke). Students are encouraged to read critically, discuss with an open mind, and write with precision and force. The goal of the course is that students see more clearly the relationship between faith and reason and be able to articulate this relationship to others.