Theology

The purpose of the program is to promote an awareness and understanding of the Christian message in a contemporary society. There is a special emphasis on the elements of Catholic heritage and life in the Church. This coursework follows the USCCB Curriculum Framework.

Course Descriptions 

Theology 1: Introduction to Catholicism and to the Old Testament 

The Theology One Course at Notre Dame has one primary objective and one secondary objective.  The primary objective is to introduce students to Roman Catholicism in a mature and structured way.  The secondary objective is to familiarize students with the basic story of the Old Testament, paying particular attention to how the Scripture both connects to the Roman Catholic Church and is relevant to the lives of high school students.

The primary objective, introducing students to Catholicism, is accomplished through both formal and informal means.  The formal means include traditional classroom instruction and the use of Catholicism 101, an online resource students can access from their phones and personal computers to study the basics of the Catholic faith.  The informal means include using cultural touchstones that illustrate the truths of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular in a different way.  An example of this informal way is the use of J.R.R. Tolkien's work to reinforce teachings on sacramentality, morality, and Christology.

The secondary objective, familiarizing students with the Old Testament, is accomplished through study of the Bible generally and exploration of selections of the Old Testament.  This study of the Old Testament includes an introduction to the basic tenets of Biblical Judaism.  Through learning about Jesus' family, and His family's faith, students can come to a deeper and fuller understanding of Roman Catholicism.  Students also can see how their daily struggles and triumphs are not so different from those experienced by the people of the Bible, and therefore come to recognize the universality of human nature, the human condition, and the fundamental human need for right relationship with God.

Theology 2: Jesus Christ: Source of Our Salvation and Jesus and the Church: One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic

In Jesus Christ: Source of Our Salvation, students delve deeply into the saving actions of the Lord. This text unpacks the meaning of God's sacred and mysterious plan from creation, onward to the consequences of the fall and the promise of a Savior, while ultimately focusing on the Life, Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

While Jesus and the Church places the foundations of the Church in their historical and scriptural context, the textbook goes further by guiding students to recognize the sacred nature of the Church and engaging them to more actively participate in the living Body of Christ and serve as witnesses to the sacred Gospel in the world today.

Theology 3: Meeting Jesus in the Sacraments and Your Life in Christ

Meeting Jesus in the Sacraments reveals the sacraments as the definitive way that Jesus remains present to the Church and the world today. The text explores concrete ways for students to understand the sacraments, participate in their rites, and benefit from their graces. The text is organized around the traditional definition of sacrament from the Catechism of the Catholic Church—an efficacious sign of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us by the work of the Holy Spirit. This definition is clarified by organizing the chapters around four dimensions of the sacrament: memorial, celebration, communion, and transformation.

Your Life in Christ: Foundations of Catholic Morality focuses on the essential message of Christ's moral teaching, the importance of love of God and neighbor. The text covers the major points from the "Life in Christ" section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, pulling together these elements by developing nine essential steps for living a Christian moral life.


Theology 4: Church History; World Religions


Students are required, by the Diocese of Bridgeport, to pass a national religion assessment before graduating from Notre Dame.

Church History: This Is Our Church: A History of Catholicism is a comprehensive, readable, and faith-filled portrait of two thousand years of Catholic history that highlights important events, people, trends, and teachings. Complete with photos, charts, and chronologies. This Is Our Church uncovers glimpses of this mystery from the Church's earliest roots in the original covenants made between God and Israel, through its institution by Christ, and onward in human history from the apostolic age to the present.

World Religions: Exploring the Religions of Our World allows students to build on their understanding and experience of the Catholic Christian faith by studying different religious traditions. The text begins with a study of Judeo-Christian history, practice, and tradition before expanding to the study of other less familiar religions including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Shintoism. The text moves on to uncover a variety of religious traditions that sprang from America's Protestant roots including Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Church of Christ, Scientist.

Service Program
(Graduation Requirement)

Notre Dame’s philosophy encourages “personal responsibility, service to others, idealism, and love of thy neighbor”. One of the best things we can do in life is to do something for someone else. A service commitment in an educational setting gives students the opportunity to learn what it means to care about their fellow human beings. While service is a time-honored tradition with Christianity, it is likewise a tradition within all of the great religions on the world. Every Notre Dame student is required to complete community service (10 hours freshmen – 15 hours sophomores – 20 hours juniors – 25 hours seniors) each year. This service may be done through various service clubs at ND or through other service avenues such as local churches and community and neighborhood organizations. All service hours must be submitted and verified using the x2Vol site prior to the deadline annually in March. Failure to do so will impact a student's third marking period Theology grade and honor roll status.

The Chaplaincy

The school chaplain coordinates various aspects of spiritual growth and development of the students, faculty, and staff at Notre Dame. With a goal to deepen the relationship with and our love of God, opportunities for prayer, the Eucharist, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation are offered as frequently as possible. Mass is celebrated daily and school masses are held regularly. The Chaplain is available for spiritual direction, personal counseling and will respond to the spiritual needs and crisis situations as they become apparent for students, parents, and faculty.

Theology Requirement

All students are required to successfully complete four years of theology.