The Religious Studies Department strives to foster an appreciation and practice of Catholic Benedictine traditions of service to God, respect for self and others, mutual support, and the value of work. The coursework and instruction is designed to enrich the faith of students who come from a Christian background and, at the same time, present the teachings to non-Christian students in a way that highlights the beauty of a life lived in imitation of Christ.
Middle School Religious Studies
is a two-year course which uses
The Catholic Connections Handbook for Middle Schoolers
from St. Mary’s Press. This middle school curriculum introduces Catholic young adolescents to Jesus Christ in a new way and inspires them to follow him. Fostering the faith of young adolescents involves helping them to make connections between the Catholic faith and everyday life. It also means helping young people to strengthen their connection to the faith community.
aims to strengthen the participants' Catholic identity and inspire them to participate more fully in the Church's mission. In Grade 7, the students will explore Church teaching as it pertains to Divine Revelation, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit and the Church. In Grade 8, the students will explore Liturgy and Sacraments, Christian Morality and Prayer.
During both years, the students’ study of Catholic teaching will be supplemented by the study of Sacred Scripture using the
The students will become familiar with important figures from both the Old and New Testaments, salvation history, the books of the bible, and how biblical stories can connect with our Catholic faith. Through this initial study of scripture, the students will be prepared for more advanced study of scripture and salvation history in high school.
Introduction to Sacred Scripture
is a study of the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit. The best way for students to come to some understanding of the Bible is to spend time in prayerful reading and study. The class begins each day with
which is a Benedictine style of prayer using the Scriptures. This year long course is divided into the following units:
1-Introduction to the Bible:
A general overview of content, history and scholarship
The Bible as God’s Self-Revelation
Why read the Bible?
We will trace the history of God’s people from the call of Abraham to the Apostles
3-The Book of Genesis:
Creation and the covenant relationship of God with his people
4-The Infancy Narratives:
A study of the Christmas accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke
A study of the spiritual content and themes found in the Gospels
6-The Passion and Resurrection Narratives:
A study of the four Gospel accounts of the death and Resurrection of Jesus
Often this book of visions and symbolic language is a source of confusion and misunderstanding among the faithful. Students will take a look at its authorship, original audience and focus on the consistent themes of conversion and repentance as they apply to the faith journey of Christians.
The Gospels is a semester-long, sophomore level course. The Gospels hold a special place of honor in the history of the Church and they are treated with great reverence in the Church’s liturgy. Students will come to a greater understanding of the authorship and literary/theological importance of these writings which focus on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Psalms and Prophets is a semester-long sophomore level course. The Psalms reflect the whole of human experience. In them the students will immerse themselves in the joy, sorrow, pain, triumph, praise, petition and thanksgiving they contain. The students will come to understand the major role the Psalms play in monastic prayer.
Church History is a semester course for juniors. The course surveys the history of the Roman Catholic Church from the first century (A. D. or C. E.) through the Reformation. This course is designed to provide analysis of major events and important people in Church history, as well as explore critically the unalterable essence of the Church as the People of God. The goal is to provide students with an appreciation of the Church’s influence in both world history and in the everyday lives of Church members.
Morality is a semester course for juniors. The moral teaching of Jesus in His word and example is presented as a foundation for moral behavior. Conscience formation, growth in virtue, and a method for analyzing moral choices are covered as the tools for moral living. These tools are then applied to selected moral topics, including sexual morality, the beginning and end of life issues, capital punishment, war, civil disobedience, and environmental ethics.
Benedictine Spirituality is a semester course for seniors. The course surveys the history and spirituality of Christian monasticism. Students will begin with Anthony of Egypt and the 4
th century Desert Fathers. From there students will study the life and Rule of Benedict of Nursia and well as the other monastic practices that started to move west into Europe during the centuries leading up to the Middle Ages. Students will look closely at the day to day life of medieval abbeys such as Cluny and Clairvaux to explore their role as centers of culture and learning in the life of Europe in the middle ages leading up to the Renaissance. Students will also look at the spread of Benedictine monasticism to other parts of the world, focusing on the abbeys of the Americas and, of course, the community here at Subiaco. As part of the course, students will recite Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours and practice
World Religions is a senior level semester course which introduces students to the religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese Religion, and Japanese Religion. Also a supplemental unit entitled
Religions with Christian and American Roots includes a survey of the Mormon, Seventh Day Adventist, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Unitarian religions. The overall objective of this course requires students
“to study several world religions and other Christian denominations with (to quote Vatican Council II)
‘high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrine’.” While recognizing the differences among these religions, students will also be required to recognize similarities among these religions as well. The overall objective of this course is accomplished by a survey of each religion’s origins and history, beliefs and actions, sacred places, and sacred times.