Academics
A Notre Dame Education

Religious Studies

Philosophy

The Religious Studies program furthers student growth in their faith and encourages students to become better critical thinkers. Classes provide students with opportunities to grow both spiritually and intellectually. Through adherence to the curriculum set forth by the USCCB, the department provides a Christ centered curriculum.

Accepting the challenge and value of living in a pluralistic society, members of the department welcome students of all faiths or no faith. Grounded in the spirit of the Gospel, we seek to foster a loving and supportive environment where each individual is accepted and encouraged to grow.

Courses Offered

List of 11 items.

  • Religious Studies 9: Sacred Scripture - Old Testament

    Hebrew Scriptures is a one semester course that provides the student with a basic understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures. The course brings the student into a mindful dialogue with the Bible as it recorded and affected the history and faith of the ancient Israelite people. The course begins with exploring the individual student's background and religious foundations as his or her personal sacred story, and continues to connect the Judeo-Christian sacred story, the Scriptures, with the individual's story. The expected learning results are that a student begins or continues the process of growth as a faith-filled person, develops towards spiritual maturity, and begins to envision a life in service to the community working toward justice. Students of all faiths and philosophical worldviews are welcome in this course and are encouraged to share openly and respectfully about their experiences, traditions and beliefs. All students, regardless of background, will benefit with an increased appreciation for the Christian tradition, as well as a deeper introspection to God’s fundamental call to relationship with God. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - This is a required first semester course for all freshmen.
  • Religious Studies 9: Sacred Scripture - New Testament

    Christian Scriptures is a one semester course which provides the student with a basic understanding of the Christian Scriptures. Emphasis is placed on the Incarnation, message and ministry of Jesus Christ, and Paschal Mystery, as the fulfillment of God’s perfect love. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the mystery of Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Student formation is emphasized through the invitation of Jesus Christ to actively build God’s Reign through a commitment to loving and justice-minded action. The expected learning results are that a student begins or continues the process of growth as a faith-filled person, develops towards spiritual maturity, and becomes increasingly committed to a life in service to the community working toward justice. Students of all faiths and philosophical worldviews are welcome in this course and are encouraged to share openly and respectfully about their experiences, traditions and beliefs. All students, regardless of background, will benefit with an increased appreciation for the Christian tradition, as well as a deeper introspection to God’s fundamental call to relationship with God. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - This is a required second semester course for freshmen.
  • Religious Studies 10: The Mission of Jesus Christ

    The purpose of this course is to help students understand all that God has done for us through his Son, Jesus Christ. Through this course of study, students will learn that for all eternity, God has planned for us to share eternal happiness with Him, which is accomplished through the redemption Christ won for us. Students will learn that they share in this redemption only in and through Jesus Christ. They will also be introduced to what it means to be a disciple of Christ and what life as a disciple entails. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - This is a required course for sophomores
  • Religious Studies 10: Ethics and Morality

    Students analyze the stages of moral development and reflect upon the development of conscience by examining personal and social moral actions and decision-making. The basis for the course is the Christian belief that the natural law guides human beings toward the good, and that Jesus reveals how we should live and is the model of the Christian moral life. Expected learning results are that students will develop self-examination skills, background knowledge of both moral theory and its application that will enhance their ability to grow in virtue and do the good. Students of all faiths and philosophical worldviews are welcome in this course and are encouraged to share openly and respectfully about their experiences, traditions and beliefs. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - This is a required course for sophomores.
  • Religious Studies 11: Ethics and Morality

    Students analyze the stages of moral development and reflect upon the development of conscience by examining personal and social moral actions and decision-making. The basis for the course is the Christian belief that the natural law guides human beings toward the good, and that Jesus reveals how we should live and is the model of the Christian moral life. Expected learning results are that students will develop self-examination skills, background knowledge of both moral theory and its application that will enhance their ability to grow in virtue and do the good. Students of all faiths and philosophical worldviews are welcome in this course and are encouraged to share openly and respectfully about their experiences, traditions and beliefs. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - This is a required course for juniors for 2018-2019 only. Beginning 2019-2020, juniors are required to take 7320 Social Justice. 
  • Religious Studies 11: Social Justice

    Students apply the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ and His Church to the policies, structures, and institutions of our modern world. Under the direction of biblical teachings and the Church’s Social Teaching, students learn to recognize injustices, examine the causes, and actively participate in addressing issues through service learning. Catholic Social Teaching encourages students to develop a vision of the world that unites all people under the core truth of inherent human dignity and motivates students to create a loving change in our world. The Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church will also be examined so students may see how the Church’s social teachings are the application of the sacraments. 

    Prerequisites/Comments -This course is required for juniors beginning again in 2019-2020 and will be available to 2019-2020 to seniors as a senior religious studies elective option. (UC “g” Elective pending) 
  • Religious Studies 11: Church History

    Students will have a general knowledge of the Church’s history from Apostolic times to the present. Students will learn about the Church’s 2000 years of history and about how the Church is led and governed by the successors of the Apostles. They will be introduced to the fact that the Church was founded by Christ through the Apostles and is sustained by him throughout history through the Holy Spirit. The students will come to know that the Church is the living Body of Christ today and, as such, has both Divine and human elements. 

    Prerequisites/Comments -This is a required course for juniors beginning 2018-2019.  (UC “g” Elective pending)

  • World Religions

    This course is designed to familiarize students with the fundamental components of various major world religions. It will specifically explore Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Students will be challenged to learn the foundations of each religion as well as explore what each religion looks like today, as lived in different parts of the world including Southern California. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - This is one of three semester classes offered to senior unless in Christian Leadership. (UC “g” Elective)
  • Christian Lifestyles

    This course teaches students to apply Christian values to the challenges of the modern world. The students study and examine the role of personal growth, human relationships and love relationships as a means to a mature lifestyle. This course focuses on developing the whole person as well as teaching students to live their lives fully alive in the ways that God has called all to live. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - This is one of three semester classes offered to seniors, unless enrolled in Christian Leadership. 
  • Philosophy (Honors)

    This seminar-style course introduces students to the development of Western Philosophy with a novel (Sophie’s World) as a guide. “One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen finds in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: “Who are you?” and “Where does the world come from?” She enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. To unravel this riddle, she must use the philosophy she is learning.” Along with Sophie, students will learn about thinkers who changed the world in which we live today, and this knowledge will deepen the students’ understanding of previously or concurrently explored topics, such as Hellenism, the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, Romanticism, the Enlightenment, the law and social responsibility, ethics, happiness, the human soul, the existence of God, and the nature of reality. The students will refine their ability to read a text critically and learn effective methods of inquiry, analysis of arguments, formal logic, syllogisms, and fallacies. 
     
    Prerequisites/Comments - This is one of three semester classes offered to seniors, unless enrolled in Christian Leadership. Students must earn a B in Religion and English for the first and second semesters. (UC “g” Elective approval pending)
  • Christian Leadership

    This course is a combination of two of the three courses that comprise the existing senior religion curriculum: Christian Lifestyles and World Religions. In addition, the course will explore and practice leadership in our school community and in the larger community. These leadership areas will include peer ministry, liturgy planning and implementation, retreat and being an overall example and guide for spirituality within the Notre Dame community work. 
     
    Prerequisites/Comments - Entrance into this course is contingent upon an application and interview process. Students wishing to sign up for this course will have to attend a summer retreat to address the following areas: 1) Eucharistic Ministry training, 2) Retreat leadership, 3) Planning the opening school liturgy, and 4) Brainstorming ideas and goal- planning for the year. Students also must participate in the earliest KAIROS that their schedule will allow. 
     (UC “g” Elective for World Religions Semester)

Faculty

List of 14 items.

  • Bridget Alameda '01

    Religious Studies Department Chair
    (818) 933-3670
    alameda@ndhs.org
  • Claudia Alvarez

    Director of Campus Ministry
    (818) 933-3659
    alvarez@ndhs.org
  • Bailey Morley

    Director of Immersion
    (818) 933-3663
    morley@ndhs.org
  • Joseph Alexander '77

    Religious Studies Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 454
    alexander@ndhs.org
  • Jurenne Belanio

    Religious Studies Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 443
    belanio@ndhs.org
  • Sharon Caron

    Religious Studies Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 438
    caron@ndhs.org
  • Adrienne Colvin

    Religious Studies Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 466
    colvin@ndhs.org
  • Nicholas LaFace '09

    Christian Service Coordinator & Religious Studies Teacher
    (818) 933-3667
    laface@ndhs.org
  • Robert Larsen

    Religious Studies Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 427
    larsen@ndhs.org
  • Terry McGaha

    Director of Holy Cross Mission
    (818) 933-3612
    mcgaha@ndhs.org
  • Mary Kay Munroe

    Religious Studies Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 449
    munroe@ndhs.org
  • Caitlin Nicholas

    Religious Studies Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 473
    nicholas@ndhs.org
  • Brigetta Shelton

    Religious Studies Teacher
    (818) 933-3600 Ext. 434
    shelton@ndhs.org
  • Jaclyn Sutley

    Liturgist & Choir Director
    (818) 933-3662
    sutley@ndhs.org
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