The purpose of the Religion Graded Course of Study is to present the Catholic faith in a systematic, comprehensive and age-appropriate way from kindergarten to middle school. As the very source of our faith, the Person of Jesus Christ is the “energizing center of evangelization and the heart of all catechesis.” (National Directory for Catechesis, p. 4) Our religious formation program is based on the necessity to bring students into a loving relationship with Jesus Christ by means of thorough instruction in the truths of the Catholic faith, prayerful hearing and reading of Scripture, and knowledge and practice of the Christian virtues.
As the General Directory for Catechesis states, “The definitive aim of catechesis is to put persons not only in touch but also in communion and intimacy with Jesus Christ.” (GDC, no. 80) While instruction in the faith is important by the means mentioned above, so too is formation in the faith, so that students may not only hold to the faith with their intellects, but actually live it out in every place and circumstance. This wider formation takes place through various experiences of prayer, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, retreats, and opportunities for service to the larger community.
The Religion Graded Course of Study offers four standards in the areas of Sacred Scripture; Sacred Tradition; Prayer, Liturgy, and Sacraments; and the Baptismal Call to Dignity, Relationship, Moral Decision-Making and Service. Under each standard are major objectives for that specific area which are to be introduced, developed, mastered, and maintained at the appropriate grade levels.