Theology is an academic discipline committed to presenting a Catholic perspective on faith. Throughout our Middle School and over the course of a four-year Upper School program, students develop the skills necessary to examine their lives in conversation with our religious heritage. We invite and encourage students of many religious affiliations to learn about Roman Catholic Theology, while sharing their own beliefs.
Introduction to the Sacred Scriptures
This course centers on how God made Himself known through Divine Revelation and through the patriarchs of His chosen people Israel. Students will actively follow the formation of the old covenant and the new covenant established by Jesus by learning how to navigate the various books of both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. The stories of our ancestors in faith will come alive through scripture readings, role play, creative writing, recorded dialogues, and focused web quests. Historical and cultural connections to the ancient and classical worlds will be made with interdisciplinary units in Social Studies and English.
Our rich Catholic heritage and discussion of the sacraments will be explored throughout the liturgical year, covering All Saints, Advent, Christmas, Lent, the Triduum, Easter, the Ascension, and Ordinary Time. Sacred art, art projects, seasonally appropriate songs and visits to the chapel will engage young learners and share with them the values of our Augustinian mission.
Discussion of various types of prayer and occasional guided meditations will aid in the steps to developing an awareness of and growth in spiritual development. Each class will commence with prayer and with the opportunity to offer personal intentions, in the spirit of Truth, Unity, and Love.
Through the Campus Ministry Program, students will volunteer in their local communities and share their experiences with one another. This ongoing connection between the theological lessons that they are considering in class and encountering in their personal life is one of the many steps encouraged in establishing an understanding and appreciation of a sense of responsibility to the greater community beyond Austin.
Living as Disciples of Christ
This class is designed to educate students’ minds and nourish their hearts. Emphasis is placed on the theme of living a life of faith. Supported by a positive learning community, students are encouraged to deepen awareness and clarify their understanding of their individual spiritual journey. This class ensures that students gain knowledge of the process of learning itself. Woven throughout the curriculum, “learning how to learn” is a key facet of this course. Through projects, multimedia presentation, lectures, and hands-on activities, students will expands their proficiency as developing scholars. As they increase understanding of their individual learning styles, study skills and test preparation, in addition to note taking and public speaking, students advance in their capacity for future academic success.
Perhaps most importantly, students cultivate their sense of compassion as they make connections from personal experience with the Gospel message. Understanding of the Good News of Jesus Christ and the application of fundamental teachings of the Catholic faith are developed through student reflection and group sharing. Students gain a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of the Church’s teachings through examining the Scripture and relating its Truths to their lives and the world around them. Students mature in their awareness of the moral life as they study the 10 Commandments and teachings put forth by the Magisterium. This course seeks to provide the environment for students to continue the work of forming their character as they build the foundation for a fulfilling life of meaning and purpose.
Living as Members of the Church
The course presents the Church from her beginning at Pentecost through her history, encompassing her teachings, doctrines and everything included in the Deposit of Faith. It presents the mission of the Church, entrusted to her by Jesus, as the responsibility of all baptized Catholics.
In understanding the increasing intellectual and social development of the adolescent student, the 8th grade course has several distinct goals.
An important goal is to provide a path to faith exploration by allowing students to study, research, analyze, compare/contrast, discuss and debate the tenets of Christianity within the framework of the Catholic doctrine. With the assistance of an ever increasing knowledge and technology database, and the guidance of seasoned faculty, this journey should be enriching and fulfilling.
Another goal is to build within the student a more developed appreciation and understanding of the Catholic perspective through the Augustinian Charisms. For example, the charism of unitas critically links the idea of community from the text to the students’ perception of the role they play in the microcosm (family, school) and macrocosm (town/city, state/country) of a faith-filled existence. The charism of caritas is explored through independent community service and the students’ guided writing of a capstone reflection on their Christian service in Middle School.
In setting a desirable and reasonable target of advancing the intellect of the eighth grade learner, the curriculum uses a USCCB approved text, Bible (NAB), and various annotated manuscripts and handouts, online source material, videos and other material in a focused progression for the year. By incorporating a blending of doctrine, facts, and truths learned with an increasing awareness of conscience, actions, and consequences, students evolve to a higher level of thought with the reward of advanced skills in oral and written expression.