True education enables us to love life and opens us to the fullness of life.” -- Pope Francis, 2014
Throughout their years at St. Francis, students encounter the traditions of the Catholic faith with the primary goal of developing a lifelong relationship with Jesus Christ. Daily school-wide announcements begin with prayer. Grace before meals and a prayer at dismissal help students keep God close at hand as they move through the hours of their day. Special prayer intentions support an awareness of God’s presence in our lives, as do visible signs of our faith such as crosses, statues, and religious images.
Non-Catholic students participate to the fullest extent possible in all activities, and every attempt is made to be inclusive in all aspects of the religious life of the school.
Knowledge of Christianity
A sequential approach to essential topics of our faith is presented through the Sadlier textbook series and supplemented by the Family Life books from Benziger. Over their years at SFA, students study Bible stories, learn the history of Christianity, and explore the themes of the Gospels. Preparation for the sacraments of First Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Confirmation is emphasized in the appropriate grades and includes retreats as well as classroom activities.
The celebration of the mass is the heart and soul of the Catholic tradition. Once a week students attend a Liturgy class, which is led by the parish’s liturgical director. In addition to learning about the form of the Catholic Mass, all students are included in liturgical celebrations as song leaders, readers, dancers, and altar servers.
Service & Social Justice
A life of Christian faith is practiced not only through prayer but also through outreach and service to the community. In their classrooms, students learn about the works of mercy, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and the principles of social justice. Cross-grade prayer partners match older and younger students together for companionship and mutual support. Many forms of service and outreach take place throughout the year, especially through the leadership of our student council and the support of a Mercy Volunteer Corps social justice intern.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
For students in the preschool through third grade, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd supplements the classroom experience. This approach, developed in harmony with the educational philosophy of Maria Montessori, provides a retreat-like setting where the youngest children engage in hands-on activities to support prayer and a to develop a basic awareness of scripture and liturgy.