Courses Offered


The Theology department, at Garces Memorial High School has made great strides in moving toward a curriculum which is aligned with both the National Standards and Benchmarks for Catholic secondary schools and the framework developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Our curriculum begins with students in grade 9 studying Faith and Revelation and Theology of the Body, and continuing in grade 10 with the study of the Old and New Testament. In grade 11, students study the History of the Church and will next year, begin their second semester with a study of the Sacraments. We made the decision, this year, to drop the study of World Religions from our Theology Department and move it to the Social Studies department and extend it to a yearlong course. Students may opt to enroll in the year- long class as an elective for University and Cal State University credit but the class will not count toward the four-year Theology requirement for graduation. In their senior year, our students will study, in the college preparatory classes, Ethics/Catholic Morality and Catholic Social Teachings and the honors curriculum will include Ethics/Catholic Morality and Philosophy of Man. We have transitioned to using the Didache series with additional support materials for each class level. I have listed the course materials below to reference. The course content, for each grade level is as follows:


Faith & Revelation This course will give students a general knowledge and appreciation of the Sacred Scriptures. Through their study of the Bible, they will come to encounter the living Word of God, Jesus Christ. In the course, they will learn about the Bible, authored by God through Inspiration, and its value. They will learn how to read the Bible, will become familiar with the major sections of the Bible, and the books included in each section. This course provides a basis and understanding essential to further theological studies. It will show how Scripture is the inspired Word of God and how natural revelation and reason compliment Divine Revelation. This course will explore what Catholics believe about God, why they believe it, and why such belief is reasonable.
Theology of the Body This course will examine the foundations and major conclusions of theology of the body, as manifested in John Paul II’s encyclicals and other writings. The focus will be on the universal vocation to holiness which is realized in love.
Text: Freshman: Faith and Revelation (Didache); Bible Basics for Catholics (Bergsma); Theology Body for Teens (Ascension Press)


The World of the Old Testament (P) This course, which carries college preparatory credit, introduces the student to the Bible. It provides a contemporary framework in which to understand the faith history of the Jewish nation in which our Christian faith takes root. Course content includes the major books of the Old Testament, which strongly influences our Christian belief and lifestyle.
The World of the New Testament (P) This course, which carries college preparatory credit, helps the student develop a mature understanding of Jesus as he is presented to us in the Gospels. It offers analytical approach to the New Testament encompassing the origins, backgrounds, and history of the books of the New Testament. The course follows Old Testament Theology.
Text Understanding Scripture (Didache), Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (resource)


History of the Church (P): This course, which carries college preparatory credit, enables the student to examine the Church as a growing, vital community of people with a past, a present, and a future. Course content includes religion and Church, the historical development of Christianity with emphasis on Catholicism, and an evaluation of the direction of Vatican II and the direction the Church should take in today’s world to assure a future of peace and justice for all people.
Sacraments: This course is semester-long survey of the history and developments of theseven sacraments. The primary distinction in the course is between the Greek and Latin senses of sacrament. Learning the historical developments in sacrament is the most important dimension of this course.
History of the Church (H): This course will involve analysis of cause and effect relationships in the growth and development of the Catholic Church and the Core of theological development over two thousand years. Students are expected, after instruction, to demonstrate cognitive and critical thinking skills in the expression, both written and oral, of their understanding of the role of the Catholic Church in the formation of modern Western society.
Text Church History: Apostolic Times (St. Mary's Press); Senior honors class -"History of the Church" (Didache);


Our seniors have the option of enrolling in a prep or honors curriculum. The senior courses include the study of one semester of either prep or honors level Morality and Ethics and then they may choose for their second semester to enroll in Catholic Social Teachings or Philosophy of Man (H). Students who have made the decision to enroll in the honors level Morality and Ethics class, typically enroll in Philosophy of Man (H). The course content is as follows:
Catholic Social Teachings "Catholic Social Teaching is a semester-long course on the Church's principle truths about the dignity of the human person, the structure of society, the rights and responsibilities of individuals, family life, protection of the poor and vulnerable, and the solidarity of the human family. Rooted in God's Covenant and inspired by the teachings of Christ, this course teaches fundamental principles for acting justly in the world."
Ethics/Catholic Morality This course enables students to examine their value system and the Christian model of morality, and to examine their willingness to accept and live by Christian moral principles. Course content includes law and conscience, sin and fundamental options, Jesus as a moral person, and moral implications of important current events.
Ethics/Catholic Morality (H): This one semester course explores the fundamental concepts of ethics and the reality of the natural law in the context of Catholic moral teaching. This is achieved by first looking at fundamental concepts of the science of ethics. This material is found in the teachings of Aristotle and Aquinas. Then the flaws of the modern concepts of procedural ethics with its several different approaches will be studied.
Philosophy of Man (H): A one semester course for seniors. This will satisfy the theology requirement for the semester. The course will involve reading selections from Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Dostoevsky, Boethius, Pope Leo XIII, and Pope Benedict XVI. The students will be required to write and discuss what they have read and written. The selected readings of each philosopher are designed to focus the student to the topic of the course, that is, the Catholic Church's concept of man.
Text: Your Life with Christ (Ave Maria press); Catholic Social Teachings (Ave Maria press)

Courses by Department