While religion and faith development permeate all aspects of St. Joseph’s Academy, theology is taught at each grade level in a classroom setting. All students take a full credit of theology each year and meet each day.
Freshmen begin the year with a unit on self-identity, personal development and adolescent relationships. An overview and in-depth study of the Hebrew Scriptures as well as the New Testament are presented, during which Sacraments and Saints are covered as they pertain to Scripture. Students are afforded an opportunity to nurture an ongoing relationship with God through their study of the CSJ charism, the Liturgical Year and dedicated time given to prayer and spirituality days through which they explore their individual prayer styles and spiritual growth. Opportunities for community service are woven throughout the year.
Sophomores begin the year with a unit on faith development through the importance of relationships in their lives: relationship with God, others and self. Students focus on the study of Salvation History, specifically attentive to God's Spirit working in the Church throughout its roots, history and present day. This course provides students with opportunities for spiritual growth, particularly by embracing truths offered through movements, people and happenings manifested in Church history. Students will be encouraged to examine their own personal faith in light of the presence of God's Spirit in their lives.
Juniors begin the year exploring the components of their own personality leading to the study of morality and conscience formation in a Catholic context. The second semester focuses on the role of Catholics in responding to social concerns in today’s society. This includes study of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching in historical context and modern-day application.
Seniors choose theology electives that are offered as semester courses. Choices and their pairings include World Religions and Theology Through Film; Theology of the Body and Spirituality and Faith; and Philosophy & Faith and Theology Through Art.
World Religions (fall semester): This course presents a summary of the history, major themes, underlying philosophy and components of the religions of the world and may include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confusianism and Taoism, Primal Religions and Religions of the Western Culture. The course also considers other religions, both old and new, founded during the 19th and 20th centuries. Treatment of these religions and their founders will show a respect for each belief system and reveal the beauty and mystery found in various religious experiences throughout the world and the human quest for God.
Theology Through Film (spring semester): This course explores theological themes, symbols, motifs and images through the screening of films. Students will analyze and apply religious themes found in Catholic School and Moral Teaching and focus on how these themes are found in specific films of mainstream culture. Students are required to analyze the films viewed in class, give oral presentations, write papers, participate in group work, facilitate class discussions and apply self-reflection to selected films.
Theology of the Body (fall semester): This course will examine the foundations and major conclusions of Pope Saint John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Theological questions such as, Why do humans exist? What is my vocation? How do I live out my vocation? and What is the purpose of the human person? are explored through an examination of Saint John Paul II's Christological human anthropology, which is presented as an exegesis of the first and second books of Genesis and the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel. Topics such as what it means to be human created in the image of God, the dignity and originality of woman and authentic femininity will also be explored.
Spirituality and Faith (spring semester): This course focuses on the development of an adult spirituality. Topics addressed and questions explored will include the meaning and practical application of spirituality, the rationale behind the teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacraments and forming a relationship with God through varied forms of prayer. Emphasis will be placed on how to develop elements of Catholic spirituality, especially those elements steeped in Ignatian meditation and examen. This course includes a field trip in March to New Orleans (schedule permitting) to further examine and experience the life/lives of individual(s) who lived in New Orleans and are in the process of being declared Saints in the Catholic Church.
Philosophy and Faith (fall semester): This course will survey philosophical thought from the ancient thinkers to modern-day philosophical schools. The focus will be on understanding the interconnectivity of philosophical thought with Catholic tradition throughout the history of philosophy. Topics covered and traced through the philosophical history include being and existence (metaphysics), ethics, happiness (eudaemonia), anthropology, justice and subjective experience. Students will also refine their critical-thinking skills through the study and application of logic as well as philosophical debate. This course will also provide an avenue for deeper exploration of the articles of faith and matters of Catholic doctrine, including those laid out in Part II of the Bishop's Curriculum Framework: Who is Jesus Christ?
Theology Through Art (spring semester): This course will explore theological artistic expression throughout history. Focus will be placed on religious artwork in relation to Church history, scripture studies/interpretation and holy figures. This course is not meant to be extensive study of these topics but rather a sampling of a variety of works. This course will evaluate and interpret artwork including paintings, icons, stained glass and mosaics. Students will exercise research skills, critical-thinking skills and artistic expression. Each unit of study will focus on a particular type of artwork and/or lens through which artwork is created. This course recognizes that the human person can be led to God through all things, especially creation and beauty. People have experienced God in a multitude of ways and used art as an outlet to illustrate these experiences. This course will examine these encounters through art and will allow students to express the ways in which they have found God in all things.
For questions regarding the Theology curriculum, please contact our department chair:
Theology Department Chair
As part of the faith formation of each student, our Campus Ministry office and Student Ministers plan grade-level retreats to provide opportunities for personal reflection, the growth of sisterhood and a deepening relationship with our God.
As new high school students, freshmen explore their God-given identity through the theme Loved by God.
Sophomore year, students seek to bring unity into their relationships with God and others through the theme Reconciled by Christ.
Juniors examine the call to holiness that flows from their relationship with God with the theme Strengthened by the Spirit.
Senior year invites students into lifelong discipleship of Jesus with the theme Commissioned to Love.