It is the special function of the Catholic school to develop in a school community an atmosphere animated by a spirit of liberty and charity based on the Gospel.  It enables young people to grow at the same time in that new life which has been given them in baptism.


GRADE 9 – Semester 1

“Foundations in Catholic Christianity” is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the course structure reflects the Catechism’s structure and roughly corresponds to the four parts, or pillars, of the Catechism.  Chapter 1 of this course focuses on the young people themselves, who are dealing with questions of their own identity, their purpose in life, the struggles of adolescence, and their longing for happiness in a culture that often steers them to illusions of fulfillment.  Chapter 2 of the course then takes up the subject of faith, as do the early chapters of the Catechism.  Chapters 1 to 8 of the course address the “profession of faith” Chapters 9 and 10 look at the “celebration of the Christian mystery”.  Chapter 11 examines Christian Prayer” and Chapter 12 and the epilogue review “Life in Christ”.


GRADE 9 - Semester 2

“Foundations in Hebrew Scripture” is a course that closely examines the Old Testament, which contains the roots of not only Judaism, but also Christianity, and examines its ties to the history of the biblical Jews.  The eleven chapters of the course cover all the major developments of the Old Testament through the lens of the exile experience.  It was through this lens that the Jews perceived their story and that their history made sense in light of what was happening to them during the exile, and vice versa; what was happening to them in exile made sense to them because of their history.  Awareness of this lens enables young people to see that their own condition of “exile” can heighten their own openness to God’s word and ultimately affect their level of spirituality.


GRADE 10 – Semester 1

“Christology”, as studies through “Jesus of History, Christ of Faith”, is at the heart of our identity as Catholic Christians, as a community and persons of faith.  This course presents a thorough, solidly researched, and clear presentation of the life, ministry, message, and meaning of Jesus.  This course looks at the sources of information regarding Jesus in the Christian Testament and other contemporary historical documents.  The course examines the history, politics, culture, social classes and religion of Jesus’ time.  A thorough examination of the Mission of Jesus, the Kingdom proclaimed by Jesus, His stories and sayings, highlight the middle chapters of this course.  Finally, the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection are examined in full detail.  The course concludes with a brief look at the early church through the major themes of the writings of Saint Paul.


GRADE 10 – Semester 2

“Understanding the Seven Sacraments” concludes the tenth grade program.  Based on the understanding that all religious traditions celebrate their faith through a variety of religious experiences, this course allows students to examine the sacred within the ordinary and come to understand the Catholic Church’s seven sacraments as celebration of life which put people in tough with God.  The course begins with an examination of symbols, rituals, and prayer.  The remainder of the course examines the development of each sacrament from three perspectives: what it celebrates, what its symbols and actions are, and, finally, the historical development of the sacrament.


GRADE 11 – Semester 1

“Great Religions of the World” is a junior year course that is designed to allow students to understand the historical and spiritual impact that the Catholic Church has made through history and allow them to examine and compare Catholicism with the other prominent religions of the world.  The course begins with an overview of the development of religion in primal traditions and moves forward to examine Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zen Buddhism, Shintoism, and the religions of ancient Greece and Rome.  Finally, the course examines the three great monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and  Islam.


GRADE 11 – Semester 2

“Social Justice” is a clear and dominant theme in the Christian Scriptures and in Catholic Social teachings.  This course is intended to show students how they are called to create justice and peace in today’s world.  The course examines those areas of sacred scripture that are the basis for Catholic social teaching.  Excerpts from the Church’s documents are examined with a view to learning how to put faith into action.  The following themes are examined in detail: Choosing Life, Building Community, Working with Dignity, Breaking the cycle of Poverty, Sharing God’s Goodness, Respect for the Earth and Waging Peace.  At the end of the course, the students should learn to foster their ability and desire to respond to the call for peace and justice in their daily lives.


GRADE 12 – Semester 1

Seniors are preparing to make decisions about future college plans, workplace commitments, vocation choices, and life-lasting choices.  “Christian Lifestyles” is a course which addresses issues relevant to all states of life from a Christian perspective.  The content of this course allows students to examine single life, marriage, religious life, and ordained ministry.  Such themes are Growth, Work, Money, Suffering and Healing, Sexuality, Love, Friendship, Communication, Dating are examined as part of the developmental tasks facing them in young adulthood in light of the Gospel and the Christian tradition.


GRADE 12 – Semester 2 - Third Quarter

The “Mystery of Death and Dying” has confounded humanity from its beginnings.  This course will engage students in reflecting on these most basic and difficult human realities.  Divided into four parts, the course will cover the doctrinal content of Catholic teaching about suffering and death, eternal life, and the pain and questioning that accompany the experience of loss.  The second section will examine ways of dealing with suffering, the grieving process, stages of death and dying, the dignity of life, and caring for the sick and dying.  Part three will research ancient beliefs and customs surrounding death, Christian customs and belief, and how contemporary culture responds to death.  Finally, the fourth part will review the Catholic concepts of life everlasting, gospel living and hope and healing.


GRADE 12 – Semester 2 - Fourth Quarter

“Exploring Christian Morality” concludes the high school curriculum.  One of the reasons for the existence of a Catholic high school is to offer courses that can guide the moral life of young people in the direction of Christian values and vision.  This final course will enable students to reflect on their growth as persons and their visions of what kinds of persons they would like to become.  The course will examine the Christian vision of morality as seen in Jesus, the model of full humanness.  Studying the moral decision-making process and conscience development concludes the classroom content of the course. Students will complete the course by researching specific moral topics of importance: justice, courage, wholeness, honesty, respect for persons, compassion, respect for creation, reverence for human life, and peacemaking.  These topics reflect back upon the 11th Grade program, “Living Justice and Peace.”

Academic Departments


Program of Studies


Curriculum Guidelines


Activities and Clubs



4 Reasons to Attend

Saint Mary's:


Academic Excellence

Spiritual Vitality

Leadership Training

Athletic Distinction


Saint Mary High School

Small     Personal     Catholic

Saint Mary High School

64 Chestnut St, Rutherford, NJ 07070

Phone: 201-933-5220 | Fax: 201-933-0834

© Copyright 2017 Saint Mary High School. All Rights Reserved.