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St. Thomas the Apostle is dedicated to helping the students develop a relationship with Jesus Christ. This relationship, like all relationships, requires knowledge and love. The students learn much about Jesus and his Church through the material covered in the religion classes (although it is not limited to the religion class). The ultimate goal of the faith curriculum is for the students to fall in love with the person Jesus Christ which can best happen in the many diverse opportunities offered at St. Thomas. These opportunities include regular school masses, regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament chapel, prayer experiences before each class and as a whole student body, reconciliation, reading and praying with the Scriptures, and service projects. The students are taught the importance of silence in the presence of Jesus so that they may hear him in their hearts. St. Thomas takes serious the reality that faith is not solely knowing about God but also choosing to respond to the great love he has shown us.
Grades Kindergarten through Sixth grade:
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School uses the Faith and Life series by Ignatius Press for first grade through sixth grade. The Faith and Life religious education series presents Catholic teaching using the time-tested ecclesial methodology and spiral development of catechesis, in a beautiful, student-friendly, comprehensive format.
Faith and Life Student Texts provide:
- clear, comprehensive, and exciting presentations of Catholicism tailored to different grade levels
- catechesis corresponding to the four pillars of the Catechism, covering Catholic doctrine, morality, sacraments, and prayer
- emphasis on forming young people to live the Catholic faith by balancing affective and experiential aspects of catechesis with a systematic presentation of Catholic doctrine
- biblically based presentations of salvation history
- questions and answers that synthesize and distill key doctrinal elements to be mastered by students
- beautiful, inspirational, and instructive art
- have been declared to be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church by the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Catechism
- also conform with the Vatican’s General Directory for Catechesis
- incorporate specific references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
- incorporate even more Scripture into the student texts and activities
We believe that this series does an excellent job of catechizing the children and is in full harmony with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Grades Seventh and Eighth
For the Seventh and Eighth grade St. Thomas the Apostle uses the Didache Series by Midwest Theological Forum (MTF). Exert from the MTF Website:
Written in the first century, the Didache [DID-uh-kay] is the first known Christian catechesis and the earliest known Christian writing outside of Scripture. The name of the work, Didache, is appropriate for such a catechesis because it comes from the Greek word for "teaching" and indicates that this writing contains the teaching of the Apostles and, as such, it is the teaching of the Church. Today, the most comprehensive catechesis is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Didache Series presents the life and doctrine of the Catholic Church in the context of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the teachings of Vatican II as witnessed by the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. The series also draws from Sacred Scripture, the lives of the Saints, and the Doctors and Fathers of the Church. The Didache books are each designed to be covered in the course of one academic year.
The Seventh Grade uses:
INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM (2ND EDITION)
An introduction to the teachings of the Catholic Church and an in-depth explanation of what it means to be Catholic. The Universal Call to Holiness is the main theme throughout the book. Topics include the Blessed Trinity, the Church, the Creed, Sacred Scripture, the Seven Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, and the lives of the Saints.
In one volume the Seventh graders review all major teachings of the Catholic Faith in one academic year. While much of what they will cover will be review, they will learn and comprehend the material at a much deeper level. These students will start to develop life long tools to defend their faith “in the world.” The students will be challenged to accept the faith as their own. Ultimately the students will be presented with an invitation to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This relationship with Jesus will happen through truth, love, prayer (personal and communal), the Sacraments (especially the Eucharist and Confession), a retreat each semester, service to those in need, and by the example of their own lives. The fruits of conversion will especially take root through the example of our priests, teachers, parents, families, and the whole St. Thomas Community.
The Eighth Grade uses:
OUR MORAL LIFE IN CHRIST
A detailed study of the moral life in Christ-based on his teachings in the Gospels, the Ten Commandments, and the Beatitudes-which enable Christians, with God's grace, to imitate the life of Christ in their lives, to make correct moral decisions, and to spread the Kingdom of God on earth in their journey toward eternal salvation. This book presents the life of Christ and his teachings as the basis of moral theology.
The Eighth graders will be challenged with learning and integrating the moral teaching of Christ and His Church. This learning will take place at a high intellectual level but is a mode and through examples that every student will be able to comprehend and live out in their own lives. The students will see the real effects that sinful actions and decisions will have on a persons’ life. More importantly, the students will be challenged to live virtuous lives by accepting God’s grace and repeatedly choosing and doing virtuous acts. The students will also see that this is not an extreme lifestyle but a lifestyle which will bring them the most happiness because it was why God created them.
The Eighth graders will usually have one religion class each week with either Fr. John Ehrich or Fr. Oliver Vietor. The Eighth graders will also have retreats to help them come to the love and truth of God. St. Thomas the Apostle desires to form all our Jr. High students to live as Catholics in the world. To not be afraid to stand up t o the truth they have learned here in a culture that continually attacks our faith. Ultimately St. Thomas the Apostle hopes to lead all its students to a loving relationship with Christ and his Church which will be lived out faithfully all their days.