Faith & Service at St. Mary Catholic Schools
The foundation of St. Mary Catholic Schools is our Catholic identity, based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the inspiration and guide to our schools in every dimension: in our philosophy, curriculum and community life, and in the selection and formation of our teachers, as well as in the physical environment of each school.
SMCS faculty and staff are expected to know, support and model the teachings of the Catholic Church, and Catholic identity is intentionally integrated into the academic curriculum. It is also the foundation of the philosophy and expectations that are part of co-curricular activities and competitions.
The SMCS family is a faith-based community that nurtures the spiritual lives of students, families, faculty and staff. A variety of faith opportunities are present to encourage the community to worship and pray together. Each school actively promotes service and social justice experiences as an integral part of the school, and all SMCS schools are welcoming, inclusive and safe for all who enter their doors.
Uniting Prayer (Recited at every SMCS meeting, activity and school day)
Mary, our patron and mother of us all … pray for us! Live Jesus in our hearts… forever!
Faith & Service at St. Mary Catholic High School
The spiritual growth of all students is encouraged and guided through our theology curriculum, a dynamic retreat program, expansive community service opportunities, immersion in sacramental life and weekly prayer groups shape the faith experience. We strive to nurture a deep faith in our students and to educate the Church leaders of tomorrow. Our theological studies program is aligned with the guidelines set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
All classes meet daily and are one semester in length. Religion courses are an integral part of our overall curriculum. Grades earned in religion classes are figured into both the student’s GPA and class ranking. Students are required to complete eight semesters of Theological courses in order to graduate. They may choose from the following:
- Apologetics-.5 credit
- Basic Christianity-1.0 credit
- Jesus and the Church-.5 credit
- Liturgy and Music-.5 credit
- Morality-.5 credit
- Sacraments-.5 credit
- Scriptures-.5 credit
- Suffering and Death .5 credit
- The Kerygma and Life in the Spirit-.5 credit
- The Letters of St. Paul-.5 credit
- Theology of the Body-.5 credit
- Christian Discipleship- .5 elective credit (does not fulfill theology graduation requirement but counts towards the seven elective credits required to graduate).
Elective Courses: Christian (includes a required one-week summer service trip), St. Mary Catholic Schools offers all students the opportunity to take their faith beyond the classroom in a week-long service mission or work camp trip. The work camp trip takes place in the summer and is designed to deepen students’ faith through service. Work camp satisfies the school’s service hour requirement for one academic year.
We embrace the role of Catholic education in giving each student a chance to hear and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Catholic retreats give every student a chance to grow in Christian self-understanding, the spirit of prayer and worship, and the Christian call to service. Retreats are offered each year to every student as an integral part of our curriculum and experience.
Our retreats take place off-site in natural settings that evoke feelings of peace and reflection. A highlight of each retreat is the opportunity to celebrate the Mass in an intimate setting after a day of meaningful reflection with classmates and friends.
Faith and worship opportunities are vital to the mission of St. Mary Catholic High School. To foster this foundation, we offer the opportunity for weekly Mass and celebrate monthly all-school liturgies, chapel visits, prayer services, Eucharistic Adoration, Reconciliation services and daily prayer. We have the opportunity to worship as a faith community in many different ways:
Prayer: Daily morning prayer during announcements; community prayer services
Liturgy: Mass or prayer service, followed by a mentor period; all-school Mass; opportunities for students to be liturgical ministers as lectors, gift bearers, servers, music ministers, Eucharistic ministers (confirmed students) and sacristan assistants; availability of leadership roles in planning and hosting the annual liturgy; volunteering for ministry roles
Sacraments: Sacramental Reconciliation services during Advent and Lent
Other Opportunities: Eucharistic Adoration and Mass; all-class retreat; healing services; “living” Stations of the Cross during Lent; a day-long pilgrimage to Our Lady of Good Help Shrine; religion classes that incorporate various forms of prayer in the classroom including Lectio Divina, the rosary, the divine mercy chaplet, guided meditation with the scriptures, Advent and Lenten prayer experiences, praying in nature and St. Ignatius’ “examen of conscience”
We’re committed to making service an integral part of students’ experiences. Whether as individuals or in groups, regularly or on special service days, SMCS students are impacting our community and touching lives. Each year, all students participate in a service morning. Students go out in groups to a variety of locations in the community to provide assistance where needed. Ongoing relationships with the community throughout the year enhance both the lives of students and the people whose lives they touch.
SMCHS provides an opportunity for a mission trip(s) each summer. Participation enables our students to experience diverse cultures and to witness Christ’s presence in those who are most vulnerable in our society. Opening themselves to being the hands and the heart of our Lord is an experience with a lasting impact in the lives of students who answer the call to participate.
Service Hour Requirements: It is a graduation requirement that all students perform a total of sixty (60) hours of service with a minimum of fifteen (15) hours per year. Ninety percent of our student body far exceeds this expectation.