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 Middle School

Theology Curriculum

The spiritual development of all students at St. Mary Catholic Middle School is encouraged and guided through a program of individual and group activities. Our theology curriculum, a dynamic retreat program, expansive community service opportunities, immersion in sacramental life, and weekly prayer groups shape the faith experience. Our goal is to educate the Church leaders of tomorrow.

6th Grade (Required Courses)

Old Testament

  • Divine revelation through scripture
  • Covenants made between God and His people
  • Fulfillment of Covenants in Jesus
  • Family Life program
  • Varieties of prayer experiences

Texts used: Be My Disciples, Family Life. New American Bible, and Catholic Youth Bible

7th Grade (Required Courses)
  • Early Life of Christ- Exploring what life would have been like during Jesus’ time
  • Christ’s Ministry- Gaining an understanding of Jesus’ teachings
  • Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Christ- along with Liturgical Year
  • Writers of the Gospels and Literary Works in the Bible
  • Letters (Romans, Philippians, Colossians, and Hebrews)
  • Introduction to the Theology of the Body as we explore our identity, our story, the language of the body, and the call to live a virtuous life

Texts to be used: Theology of the Body for Teens: Middle School Edition

8th Grade (Required Courses)
  • Be My Disciples text series: Christ in the Liturgy. Exploring the mystery of the Church, understanding what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ, and gaining deeper insight into prayer and the Sacraments.
  • Reading the Acts of the Apostles to gain an understanding of the early Church.
  • Be My Disciples text series: Life in Christ Jesus. Exploring the call to moral living and the way to moral living.
  • Reviewing the liturgical seasons of the year, and practicing seasonal devotions and prayers.
  • The study of the Theology of the Body continues as we study chastity, love v. use, vocations, and the grace of God.

Texts to be used: Theology of the Body for Teens: Middle School Edition


Retreat experiences are an important part of faith development and an excellent tool for team-building among classmates and their teachers. Our retreat program are days of reflection, with a different focus for each age level.

Sixth grade days of reflection are single, daylong events that usually take place in fall and spring. The focus of the fall event is on team-building and adjusting to middle school life. The later retreat has a theme of being peacemakers, and helps to prepare them for taking the next steps in their faith and academic journeys.

Within the first two weeks of school, the seventh and eighth grade classes combine for a team-building day to develop bonds and sense of responsibility as leaders of the school. In the spring, both the seventh and eighth classes embark on a retreat with their own classmates.

Most retreats are led by our campus minister and faculty members, and occasionally by the SMCHS middle school retreat team. Parent chaperones and group leaders are often needed (parent volunteers must be VIRTUS® trained.)


Each day at SMCMS begins in the classroom with prayer. All students, faculty and staff join in community prayer before lunch and at the end of each day. Prayer in various forms is part of each grade’s religion curriculum, and students are often asked or reminded to pray for each other’s special intentions in times of need.

Weekly, the SMCMS community gathers for Mass, which includes our Holy Days.

During the seasons of Advent and Lent, we are involved in a variety of special projects in addition to encouraging students to participate in what their home parishes have to offer. During both major church seasons, SMCMS organizes a school-wide service project that usually involves collecting and sometimes delivering special items to selected organizations. A school-wide visual project representing the meaning of each season also takes place.

The sacrament of Reconciliation is always an important time during each of these seasons when students are prepared for the sacrament in religion classes and participate in an all-school penance service. Afterwards, area priests celebrate the Sacrament of healing and forgiveness in face-to-face sessions for those who wish.

In the Diocese of Green Bay, sacramental preparation is handled through each student’s home parish. The family of any student who has not experienced the sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and/or Eucharist is encouraged to contact their home parish.

Faith Involvement Hours

Our mission at St. Mary Catholic Middle School is to form faithful disciples of Jesus.  We want our students to engage in encounters with Jesus and others.  As part of this mission, students are required to submit a minimum of 12 faith involvement hours a year (at least three per school quarter) as part of the requirements for religion class.  Students submit hours in religion class using the faith involvement hours form.

What is a faith involvement hour?  

Faith involvement hours include community service, along with participating in events that help you grow in your faith.  Students can complete any combination of community service and faith activities hours.

What is not a faith involvement hour?  

Service projects for a curricular class or in the leadership group do not qualify.  Chores or babysitting siblings also do not qualify.  Any required school retreats do not qualify.

Examples of Community Service

  • Help out at Mass by serving, singing in the choir, or reading

  • Help out at parish events

  • Serve the needy in the community at a food pantry or a nursing home

  • Participate in a mission trip

  • Help out at school system events

Examples of Faith Activities

  • Retreats

  • Youth Ministry Events

  • Small Groups or Bible Studies

  • Parish Missions

  • Youth Conferences

We foster opportunities for our students to encounter, follow, and worship Jesus throughout the school year.  Prayer is fostered through visiting the chapel, praying in Adoration, and weekly Mass.  Confession is available on a regular basis, and students attend annual retreats. Students are invited to participate in Builder’s Club, the service club sponsored by the Appleton-Fox Cities Kiwanis Club, and Caritas, the leadership group.  School wide service projects are organized throughout the year.

Faith Involvement Hours Form

Elizabeth Ann Seton Service Award

Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American born saint, started the first American parochial school and orphanage where she cared for the poor. She also began the first American community of women religious, following the example of St. Vincent de Paul. Like Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, we are called to a life of service and love of God.

With the celebration of the church’s New Year, SMCMS asks all students to reflect on their commitment to living a life like that of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Because people often make a new-year’s resolution at the start of a new calendar year, each year, we ask students to make an Advent resolution to grow in faith, love and service of others. This is a resolution that we encourage each student to commit to, regardless of what day or season it is.

By completing the following, any SMCMS student can earn a Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award and be recognized for his or her efforts at the end-of-the-year awards celebration. Participation in this program is completely optional and will not be reflected in the Religion class grade. Please note that these requirements are in addition to the service hours already due each quarter. To earn the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award, a student applicant must do the following.

Requirement #1: Live as a disciple of Christ, setting a positive example for other youth. (Required: Actively participate in all school liturgies & prayer services as confirmed by the self-reflection sheet (must be signed by religion teacher) and two of the following):

  1. Obtain the recommendation of one adult other than a relative
  2. Secure a document confirming active participation in regular church liturgies parish recommendation (may be signed by deacon, priest or parish minister)
  3. Return a signed parent recommendation form

Requirement #2: Witness to one’s faith by exhibiting Christian morals and integrity. (Required: Participate in an interview with religion teacher to discuss the requirements listed above and one of the following):

  1. Submit a one-page, typed statement (double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman) describing his/her faith, beliefs, and daily prayer life and how he/she is an example to others
  2. Submit a four-week faith journal that will describe student’s Christian morals and integrity

Requirement #3: Demonstrate Gospel values through service to others. (Required: both of the following):

  1. Submit a student service log showing service to others completed on a regular basis
  2. Complete at least 12 hours of service between December 1 and April 30 of the current school year

Requirement #4: Exhibit Christian leadership in parish, school, community and family. (Required: During interview, student must list and describe service to others in each of these areas (at least one hour in each). Student service log (from #3 above) will be reviewed to confirm this leadership.)

Students striving for a second year award, must show three additional hours of service (total of 15)

Students striving for a third year award must show three additional hours of service (total of 15), plus show proof of attending an additional prayer experience in church or youth group, beyond your weekend commitment to liturgy. See religion teacher for details and approval of activity.