Mission Statement

As companions of Jesus, in Religious Studies we are committed to education that:

  • creates experiences where students and teachers encounter the living God through shared inquiry, discernment and prayer
  • equips us to respond to the call of Jesus, as St. Ignatius did, by becoming leaders of competence, conscience and compassion in a multicultural world with a faith that seeks justice.

Curriculum Overview

Department Outcomes and Overview

Archdiocese of San Francisco Secondary Catholic Schools Essential Outcomes for Religious Education 

The secondary schools of the Archdiocese of San Francisco teach from a Catholic Christian perspective while welcoming people of all faith traditions. We seek to develop a knowledge and experience of faith that equally includes:

  • Recognition of the ongoing invitation to grow in relationship with God and to develop faith and spirituality;
  • Understanding of Scripture and the living Tradition of the Church as guided by the Holy Spirit;
  • Articulation of and a response to the call to live as Catholics in community,
  • Formation of conscience rooted in Gospel values that inform moral decision-making;
  • Active response to the call of Jesus to be advocates for the common good through works of charity and justice;
  • Exploring and experiencing Catholic traditions of personal and communal prayer as expressed in sacrament and liturgy.


Saint Ignatius Religious Studies Department Overview 

Saint Ignatius’s Religious Studies Program embodies the six tasks of catechesis outlined in the National Directory for Catechesis[i] outlined by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. These are:

  • Promoting knowledge of the faith
  • Knowledge of the meaning of the Liturgy and of the sacraments
  • Moral formation in Jesus Christ
  • Teaching how to pray with Christ
  • Preparing the student to live in community and to participate actively in the life and mission of the Church
  • Promoting a missionary spirit that prepares the student to be present as a Christian in society


[1] National Conference of Catholic Bishops. National Directory for Catechesis. Washington, D.C.: NCCB, 2005.

2 Six Dimensions for Catholic Formation, secondary document, Our Hearts Burning Within Us.


The Religious Studies curriculum is developed to integrate a critical and experiential understanding of Catholicism. The SI Faculty Handbook states that studies in theology are essential for the development of the student’s understanding of Christian values and for his/her formation as an educated Christian leader. In order to further implement the growth and development of each student, a continual emphasis will be placed upon the balance between the academic and experiential components of Christianity. To insure this balance, frequent religious services and activities are provided for students on campus as well as the opportunity to become involved in community-service endeavors which connect the learned experience with the practical and transforming lived experiences of the Christian faith. Work with socially disadvantaged people is encouraged as well as opportunities offered for students to become active in social justice issues.

In addition, the following six- core concepts are foundational to the curriculum and integrated into the curriculum at every level.

  • Living Scripture and Gospel Values
  • Catholic Moral Teaching and Catholic Social Teaching
  • Liturgy and Sacramental Traditions
  • Jesus as Divine and Human
  • Faith that seeks Justice
  • Prayer and Discernment


Religious Studies Department Outcomes 

What should our students know when they graduate?

1. What does it means to be Catholic?

  • How am I part of the rich scriptural and sacramental traditions of the Church?

2. What does it means to know God?

  • How do I come to know my Creator?
  • How do I build a lifelong relationship with God?
  • How does Scripture form and inform by love for God?

3. What does it mean to be Igantian- to see “God in all things”?

  • What does it mean to be part of the Ignatian Family?
  • How do I live out the Grad at Grad?
  • What role does prayer and Ignatian discernment play in my life?

4. What does it mean to be a person of Faith?

  • Where am I in my faith life? Where do I need to go and how do I get there?How do I celebrate my faith through the Sacraments?
  • How do I profess my faith in Liturgy?
  • How do I live out my faith as a disciple of Christ?

5. What does it mean to be an advocate for Social Justice?

  • How is my Church an advocate for justice in the world?
  • How does my Catholic identity inform my Ignatian identity?

6. What does it mean to be a Disciple in the modern world?

  • How do I respect those who challenge my beliefs?
  • How do I respect those who wrong me?
  • How do I enter into productive dialogue with people who represent different faith traditions?
  • How do I advocate for and live the Gospel message?
  • How do I continue to grow in my faith and in my sacramental life?
  • How do I live a life that celebrates the belief that God is present in all things?
  • How do I live as a disciple of Jesus?

Course Descriptions


Course Description - The students will be introduced to an overview of Catholicism by understanding humankind’s search for God (coming to an appreciation and respect for world religions) revealed through Judeo-Christian history and the sacramental practice of the Catholic Church.  The students will become familiar with different models of the Church and sacraments as symbols and rituals, especially the sacraments of initiation (baptism and confirmation).  Eucharist is the core of the course and its challenge to live as a growing community of believers.  Special emphasis will be given to the students’ call to discipleship and their role in living out “church” in their lives.


Course Description - This course will expose the student to the rich scriptural tradition of the Catholic Faith.  It will include critical analysis, exegesis, personal reflection on daily living and relationships, strategies for making choices consistent with the Gospel values of compassion, love and commitment.


Course Description - The foundation to this course is the call to uphold and promote the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.  This two-semester course engages students in the broad philosophical and theological discussions of good and evil, right and wrong, freedom and duty, in and beyond the practical moral decisions of everyday life. The first semester establishes an understanding of human dignity, informed conscience, and emphasizes a spectrum of principles and virtues.  The second semester introduces the tradition of social justice, Catholic social teaching, and the common good.  Students will tackle some of the most compelling dilemmas and dreams of the human experience.



Course Description - The Path to Faith is a one-semester course that synthesizes all the student has learned over the past three years. It will incorporate a study and practice of Ignatian spirituality and vision in the context of challenging students to “own their faith journey.” Students will be encouraged to make practical applications and consider the implications of coursework in their daily lives and future choices.


Course Description - An exploration of the mystery of prayer and the Church’s liturgy, specifically the Mass.  Through study and practical experience students will grow in a lived understanding of personal and universal meanings of worship and prayer.  The course includes classroom work on the history, theology, liturgical music, and spirituality of prayer and worship.  Students will develop practical and creative skills through preparation of and ministry within school liturgies.


Course Description - The goal of this course is to introduce students to the major religious traditions of the world and uncover what they have to teach us about ourselves and the challenge of living in the 21st century.  These “Wisdom Traditions” still shape, after thousands of years, our common culture, history, humanity, and theology.  Time will not allow coverage of every religion, but we will attempt to explore these major traditions using a comparative approach:  primal, Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese (Confucians, Taoists), Islamic, and our own Jewish-Christian heritage. In addition to exploring the traditions themselves, students will begin by identifying the Catholic Church's teaching and practice regarding non-Christian religions and explore the contemporary global problems surrounding religious freedom. 


Course Description - This course is an exploration of the study of human sexuality as an all-embracing, all pervasive gift of God to each and every human being.  Viewed from the physical (biological and psychological) and spiritual (moral) points of view, this class will treat sexuality as it is dealt with in modern science, contemporary society, the Word of God, and the teachings of the Church.  Emphasis will be placed on helping students develop a healthy appreciation of their own sexuality and stress the importance of integrating values that promote self respect and integrity in both the way they reason and ultimately in the way they choose to live.


Course Description - In this course, students will encounter the person of St. Ignatius of Loyola, his spirituality, and his methods of prayer. Through readings, film, discussions, daily journaling and a variety of prayer experiences, students will come to a better understanding of themselves as young adults in the 21st century and recognize and respond to Ignatius’s invitation to “find God in all things.” Ideally, students should have a desire to encounter God through the person of Jesus Christ and to develop or deepen a personal relationship with Him under the guidance of St. Ignatius and a selection of men and women who have emulated his spirituality. Students should be willing to share their faith journey and prayer experiences in writing and in small group format. 


Course Description - In this semester course, students will explore and examine the parameters of the “Catholic Imagination,” investigating the presence of God in everyday life. Catholics believe that we inhabit a sacramental world, where God can be seen, heard, observed and felt. Through prayer, reflection, writing and examining the works of writers, artists and filmmakers, we will deepen our awareness of God’s presence in creation.


Course Description - Science & Religion is a one-semester elective that introduces students to the philosophical, theological, and ethical relationship between science and religion. Both Science and religion are quests for understanding that fundamentally shape our world, but these disciplines ask different questions and follow different methods. While they may appear to conflict, closer examination reveals room for a deeper engagement through fruitful dialogue and constructive integration. 

SACRED SYMBOLS (6130): Studio Art C/Sacred Symbols 

Type of Course - This will also fulfill the one semester senior elective Religious Studies requirement for graduation.

See Course Description in the Fine Arts section

Sports & Spirituality

Sports & Spirituality - Fall 2013


Why do you love playing the sport you do?

Carlos Betancourt, Surfer and Baseball Player 
Baseball: I love playing baseball because of the special bond my teammates and I have. We act like brothers and joke around like brothers. I just enjoy succeeding with my team and when I do well or another teammate does well, we all notice it and give them props. 
Surfing: I love surfing because it is calming. Whether I'm in the water by myself, with my dad, or with my friends, I always have a smile on my face and have a great time doing it. But there are also times where you can get really frustrated while surfing and thinking to yourself why you aren't catching any waves. This can happen quite often because we cannot control mother nature, but then you ride that one good wave and you are hooked again. It's a cycle.


Michael Dudum, Coxswain
I love crew and coxing for two different reasons: I enjoy the sport, competition, and winning, and how crew has helped me grow. I'm good at coxing, which is a plus, but it's a role that lets me be vocal and motivating versus outside of crew where I’m more reserved. To some extent, it turns me into a different "Michael.” Overall, just the feeling of moving quickly and increasing your lead is an odd sensation, but it's something I enjoy. In addition, I love coxing because it requires a person to be responsible, encouraging, independent, and mature; they are all traits that pass onto my daily life and academic work, and I can confidently say that the traits that I’ve developed through coxing have significantly shaped who I am. It's a sport I enjoy, but it's also something I'm grateful to be apart of. 


Nina Pappas, Rower
I love rowing. You probably are thinking you misheard me so I'll repeat it: I love rowing! Am I crazy?  Probably, but I'm not alone. Rowing is largely an individual sport but it's also one of the best team sports. If you've ever seen an 8 go by, you will notice something crazy: everyone is moving, pushing, breathing at the same time. If you've ever hard a group project, you'll know how hard it is even to get 3 people on the same page but crew demands that the boat of individuals becomes a single machine. One off move and you'll throw the boat off set. After millions of morning stairs, weight room circuits, sand sprints, and lake runs, we become more than a close team: we become one single force. Why do I row? Because when the boat is set, our oars are clacking together, and the water is glass, I feel invincible. 


 Sam Pitti, Rower
Rowing creates a connectedness within myself through mind, body, and spirit. I love that it takes true aggression and competitiveness to be able to push through every challenge and embrace the meaning of passion. True relationships are formed in the development of your character and it brings all your strengths to the surface.


Noah Schumacher, Surfer
I love surfing because of the culture and community it fosters. Surfing is more then just a sport, it creates a desire to live a certain way. Surfers, if passionate, realize they have to live near the beach and also that a portion of their life is now devoted to surfing. Surfing also creates a sense of community between all other people who surf. There is instantly a connection that surfers share and from that connection they can easily become friends. Besides the thrill of serenity of surfing, the culture and community are some if its best characteristics that makes me love it.

Haley Friesch, Golfer

I love playing golf because it constantly challenges me. I can never get bored because it's different every time I play. It also keeps my ego in check because I can have one good round and one bad round right after, so it constantly pushes me to keep working at it. 

Who is your role model in sports & why?

Darren Ching, American born Chinese person trying to find meaning and purpose in my life.
Jeremy Lin because of his hard work and dedication to both basketball and his faith.


Sarah Jensen, Varsity Softball Player and Buster Posey lover
Buster Posey because he is the perfect example of resiliency. He was such a star in 2010 and then suffered a terrible season ending injury in 2011, but the fact that he could be a major role in leading his team to the 2012 World Series which the Giants went on to win is very admirable. He teaches me that if I ever feel down, or not good enough for a sport or suffer an injury, it's all about how you come back. There's some quote about how "It's not how hard you fall, but how quickly you get up," and this is exactly what Posey embodies. His positive attitude and charisma in a sport where you can get so caught up in yourself and all the fame makes me like him that much more. He is my favorite sports player, and someone I look forward to watching his progress and his great future in MLB.


John Corbolotti,  SI radio, Lacrosse player
It would probably be Jason Dufner.  He is a professional golfer that shows little emotion on the golf course. Yet most people on tour love him and think he is so much fun to be around. 


Quinci Mann, Combo Guard, Baller
Derek Rose because we are similar in playing technique and skill set so I try to learn as much as I can from his style of play. Also he is the perfect blend of confidence and humility. Even coming off of a two-year ACL tear injury he still believes he is the best player in the NBA, but he also does not flaunt it and I find his presence to be both comforting and exuberant.


Who has been your favorite coach and why?


Tim Chong, Swimmer, Basketball Player, Coach 
Coach Matty was my coach since I was in the 2nd grade and passed away when I was in 5th grade. He was my first and favorite coach because he pushed me to do my best and showed me that basketball is more than just trying to be an all-star or doing everything by yourself. He also showed me skills such as hard work, determination, and many others that were used not only on the court but in life.


Katie Hagan, Volleyball Player
My favorite volleyball coach is Ki Choi.  He was my club coach for my eighth grade spring season, and he is now my coach for my final volleyball season at SI.  He taught me everything I know about setting, and I am so appreciative of the fact that he is my coach for my last season of volleyball.  He respects me as a player, and I really like his "lead-by-example" coaching style.  He knows how to coach different personalities and understands that effort should always be valued in the game of volleyball.


Sarah Armstrong, Wildcat, Activist, Theatre Kid, Christian
My favorite coach was my hurdles coach Freshman year. Coach Alexis treated the freshmen with as much respect as he did the varsity athletes. None of us had hurdled before, and he really took the time to work with us and helped us to improve at our own pace. He would always give us inspirational quotes to keep us motivated. For an individual sport, our team definitely bonded because of him. I am so glad I had a coach like him in my lifetime.


Anne Stricherz, Sports & Spirituality Teacher & Blogger, Runner, Aspiring Golfer, Fan of all things ND
My favorite coach was my tennis coach, Michael Wayman. He loved and respected the game. He emphasized the importance of fundamentals, had a remarkable work ethic and his English accent/expressions were of added value/entertainment. He assigned homework(!) for his players. In doing that, we learned the history of the game. I have always thought a big reason I love tennis is because I respected its past—how it developed, who contributed to it and what it looks like today. Thank you Michael.


What is one professional sports team you could like to play on and why?

Maddie Barry, Swimmer and Giants Fan
The San Francisco Giants even though I don’t play baseball. I have been following the Giants ever since I was little, and was really excited when they went to the World Series. I think that the Giants have a great sports atmosphere, and would love to experience that in the eyes of a player. I also would love to play alongside Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval, and Brandon Belt among others. It would be an incredible experience to have that many people screaming your name or your team and have people wear your jersey.


Trevor Lee, Golfer, Fantasy Basketball Legend, Warriors Fan
The “Seven seconds or less” Phoenix Suns in the 2005-2010 era. The team was so fun to watch and probably would have been even more fun to be a part of. Led by the prime Steve Nash, a dominant/young Amare Stoudemire, and numerous shooters, I can only imagine the fun they had playing at an unbelievably fast pace through the game. Their idea with this strategy was that they could outscore their opponents if they shot the ball before the opponent's defense could be set up. Being on this team would be awesome; they had such great chemistry both on and off the court. 


Sydney Slosar, Blackhawks Fan, Avid Skier
Kerri Walsh and Misty May Treanor. Beach volleyball is such a hard and demanding sport but they make it look so easy. They have such a strong connection and chemistry with each other but also know how to connect with other teammates. I would want to play on their team because they work so well to get their job done. They are a professional beach volleyball team that has also made it to the Olympics several times. I got the chance to meet Kerri Walsh and she was exactly as I had hoped, very welcoming and encouraging. They love what they do and I think being able to play with them would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.


If you could have dinner with one athlete/living or dead, who would it be and why?

Parker Lovett, Religion student, Blackhawks Fan
Charles Barkley because he had a fantastic NBA career as well as a great term as a broadcaster. Also, he is very knowledgeable and opinionated on race issues, politics, and other social issues in the world today.


Lindsay Bettinger, Soccer player, Peyton Manning Fan
Peyton Manning, because he is one of the greatest athletes in the world. He doesn’t play for the fame or the glory, he plays for the love of the game. He is such an inspiration because he is not only an athlete, but a very well- rounded person as well. He is also supposed to be hilarious and have an awesome personality. Peyton Manning also gives back to the community and is a role model to many, including me. Go Broncos!


Max Realyvasquez, Actor 
Former SF Giant Willie Mays. I find it amazing that he is so influential in the San Francisco community, yet I know very little about why he was so influential. Its obvious that he was an amazing athlete when it came to baseball, but I feel like there is something more to his success. I think Willie Mays falls into a group of players, such as Mickey Mantle and Willie McCovey, that had a true love for the game and developed a great reputation for the game, yet many people just see them as names backed up by statistics. I would like to know what kind of person lies behind these cover-ups. 


Kevin Sheehan, Rower, 49er Fan

Barry Zito because his dream besides baseball is to be a chef and he seems like a really cool guy to be around.


Joe Lang, Lacrosse player 
I would have to pick Joe Montana. I would love to hear stories about “the comeback kid” and hear all about his career. I want to ask him what it feels like to play in and win a Super Bowl- something he has done many times.  I think that this dinner would be very interesting because Montana had such an exciting career on my favorite football team, the 49ers. I have so many questions for him, like which athletes he most enjoyed playing with, what he thinks of the NFL concussion problem, and how he views modern day football as oppose to when he played.


If you could witness one event in sports history, what would it be and why?

Brenna Louie, Passionate Dancer
The World Series 9/11 Yankees game because it would be such a powerful, amazing moment to witness the whole city come together in a time of struggle and hardship.


Scott Wu, Volleyball Player
I would definitely go with the 100 point game by Wilt Chamberlain because he accomplished this feat at a time where there was no 3 point line so 50 field goals or a combination of that with free throws. It is an astounding feat and something that would be crazy to witness: 100 points in 48 minutes.


Jack Hayes, Actor, Laker Faithful
I would watch the miracle on ice because it's the epitome of an amazing underdog story.