THE CATECHETICAL CHALLENGE
Catechesis – leading one to maturity in faith – is the primary function of the Theology Department. The principle tasks of catechesis in adolescence include the following:
to further a genuinely Christian understanding of life,
to help the student discover genuine values in a pluralistic society and to put them in their proper order,
to bring the adolescent to that level of personal maturity which will allow him to overcome subjectivism and to discover a new hope in the strength and wisdom of God,
to stimulate the mind of the adolescent while providing the rational foundations for faith, and
to encourage personal experience of faith by providing opportunities for adolescents to assume responsibilities of faith.
Theology at Strake Jesuit confronts this catechetical challenge with a solid basic curriculum (four full credits required of all students entering as freshmen) and a diversity of teaching methods. The curriculum consists of required core courses dealing with Scripture, Church Doctrine and Sacraments, Personality Development, Morality, and Social Justice. We also require students to choose at least two electives from a collection of courses ranging from Philosophy to Spirituality.
The teaching philosophies within the department represent both academic and pastoral approaches to religious education. Theology is treated as an academic discipline requiring the development of critical reading, thinking, and writing skills. But as a department, we are also involved in the whole school's efforts at religious formation, and to this end we offer certain courses and use certain approaches reflecting a pastoral as well as an academic disposition. This diversity allows for a certain amount of academic freedom, which is enhanced by the fact that the teachers of each grade level and within each course assume the responsibility for introducing and developing specific goals to structure the core curriculum in light of the needs and abilities of the changing student body.